Chico Protests Big Oil, Big Bank

Last Friday, the Chico chapter of 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 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!”

Chico Chapter of at Chico Kinder-Morgan tank farm.

Chris Nelson protests big oil company Kinder-Morgan.


Kinder-Morgan stores and distributes petroleum products and other chemicals in its south Chico facility.

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.

Chico wants big bank Wells Fargo to divest from fossil fuels.

To learn more about the worldwide 350 movement go to

Related links:

Kinder-Morgan Chico

Indigenous peoples:

Maps of proposed pipeline expansion:

Burnaby Terminal:


Park Volunteers Plant Acorns “For the Future”

On a bright fall morning eleven volunteers gathered at One Mile in Bidwell Park to plant acorns, including an expectant mother who was glad to know her newborn would be able to see the growing trees. The day of the planting was on “Giving Tuesday” and these folks certainly gave back to the Park their love and appreciation for everything the Park has given them. “I wish I could walk in this Park everyday,” said volunteer Batool Aladawood, a busy pre-medical student.

Many of the oldest Valley Oak trees in Bidwell Park were toppled by last winter’s storms and lie now like fallen giants among the grass and shrubbery of the park grounds. According to Richie Bamlet (he likes to be called “Richie”), Chico’s Urban Forester, we need all ages of trees to rebuild and sustain our precious natural resource – our urban forest.

When I asked Richie why plant these tiny acorn seeds now, he simply replied, “For the future.”

Volunteer acorn planters.


Local, native Valley Oak acorns to be planted.


Richie Bamlet, Urban Forester, demonstrates how to plant the acorns.


Three acorns are planted in hopes that at least one will germinate and take root.


Next, a protective cone is placed around the newly planted acorns.


Rich Ober, former Parks Commissioner, and Batool Aldawood, pre-med student and CAVE volunteer, are the first acorn-planting team to break ground.


L-R, team leader, Robin McCollum of Chico Tree Advocates, Shelly Corley, mother of Marisa Stoller, pregnant acorn-planter.


On left, Aaron Holt, Senior Maintenance Worker and on right,Dave Bettencourt, Field Supervisor, place protective and decorative cages around the planted acorns.  Due to city department cut-backs, Bettencourt and Holt make up the entire city Tree Crew.