Last Friday, the Chico chapter of 350.org went after both Kinder-Morgan and Wells Fargo in a two part protest aimed at ending the disastrous planetary consequences of our reliance on fossil fuels. The small but determined band of protesters showed up first at the Kinder-Morgan “Tank Farm” in south Chico, a major storage facility and distributor of gasoline and other petroleum products and chemicals. But what the protest was aimed at most were the 85,000 miles of oil and gas pipelines that Kinder-Morgan owns and operates and specifically aimed at the proposed expansion of the Trans-Canadian Mountain Pipeline (TCMP). This pipeline has been under protest for years now, and while it’s nothing new, it’s nothing old either, since a pipeline carrying oil from the Edmonton, Alberta tar-sands oil fields, across the British Columbia mountains and through the Jasper National Park to the Burnaby terminal on Canada’s west coast is as big a threat now to the environment as it was at is inception. While others may have wearied of the controversy, the Chico members of 350.org stood Friday afternoon at the south Chico tank farm in solidarity with the indigenous water protectors of Canada, whose beautiful lands and rivers would be transected by the Kinder-Morgan pipeline. Disappointed at how few showed up for the protest, Chris Nelson, one of those who did show up, said, “A friend told me, ‘a little something is better than a whole lot of nothing’.” Nelson added, “But that won’t save us. We must be like a mighty tidal wave. This action is only worthwhile if others climb on its shoulders with thousands more!”
But it’s no use protesting oil and pipeline companies if the banking industry continues to finance their enterprises, and it was this obvious connection that moved Chico 350’s Friday protest from Kinder-Morgan to the Wells Fargo ATM on Main St. in Chico. Ann Ponzio, a member of Chico 350, showed up at both protests on her bicycle thereby demonstrating that she not only wants to work on the “big level” of activism to promote renewable energy resources but also on the individual level. As a recent convert to riding her bike instead of driving her car for transportation, Ponzio said her ride to the protests was “pretty nice and easy to do.” It’s obvious to Ann that “fossil fuels are polluting the air and wrecking the environment and it has to stop.” Ponzio said that Chico 350’s goal is to “make Chico go fossil fuel free, fast.” Thus the main thrust of their Wells Fargo protest was to encourage people to divest from banks that promote fossil fuels instead of renewable energy resources such as solar and wind. Chico 350’s message is that if big banks don’t divest from fossil fuels, then we must divest from big banks.
To learn more about the worldwide 350 movement go to 350.org.
Kinder-Morgan Chico https://www.kindermorgan.com/business/products_pipelines/chico.aspx
Indigenous peoples: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frm64INKOMw
Maps of proposed pipeline expansion: