Press Contacts:
Emily Johnston:
Afrin Sopariwala:


Press Releases, Most Recent First, For Immediate Release:

Sunday, May 15th: 52 Arrested at Anacortes Oil Train Blockade

52 Arrested at Anacortes Oil Train Blockade

Contact: Emily Johnston or Afrin Sopariwala

Anacortes, WA: Early this morning, police raided the Break Free blockade of the train tracks outside of Anacortes, WA, where activists had created an encampment of 150+ people.
52 people were arrested and brought to the Skagit County jail; most are being released on their own recognizance and brought to the Mt. Vernon train station.
No word yet on charges for those responsible for the climate crisis. Shell and Tesoro officials are still at large.
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Saturday, May 14th: Anacortes Rail Blockade Holds, Hundreds Present

Anacortes Rail Blockade Holds, Hundreds Present

Contact: Ahmed Gaya 773-960-2587 or Emily Johnston 206-407-5003

When: Now

Where: Intersection of Farm to Market Road and SR-20, Anacortes, WA

Over 150 activists spent the night in a colorful village on the railroad tracks leading to the March Point (Anacortes) refineries–blocking all oil train traffic, and vowing to stay as long as possible. Hundreds more were expected by 9am.

The blockade involved tents, a scaffolding structure with streaming banners and a hammock, and supplies to last for days.

“Last summer we stopped Shell’s Arctic drilling plans, now we’re taking our biggest actions yet. The movement for climate justice is growing and getting bolder by the day. A fossil-free Northwest isn’t a fantasy, it’s inevitable; if we start now, the change can be fair and rational, and we can demonstrate our leadership,” says organizer Ahmed Gaya.

Thousands of people from across the Northwest have converged on March Point for Break Free PNW the final action of the global Break Free mobilization. Over five hundred people have pledged to take part in civil disobedience during the three day mobilization. In the United States, a number of actions have focused on big oil, including a blockade of an oil-train terminal in Albany, NY, and a mass civil disobedience at BP’s Whiting, Indiana Refinery. Organizers say the March Point refineries are the largest unaddressed source of carbon pollution in the Northwest, and point to expansion proposals including an oil-train facility at Shell and a Xylene facility at Tesoro that could allow for crude oil exports.


Gaya adds, “Break Free is about pressuring the system so we get the change we need, but it’s also about imagining an alternative. By setting up a village here, we’re embodying what we need to do as a community: to turn the systems that have devastated people and nature into places that can support us.”


In recent years, Northwest residents have been battling dozens of proposed fossil fuel export projects, positioning themselves as a “thin green line” between extreme fossil fuels in the Mountain West and fossil fuel development overseas. Last week activists won a landmark victory when the Army Corps of Engineers denied key permits for SSA Marine’s Gateway Pacific Terminal. Organizers say that Break Free PNW is about shifting the conversation from stopping new export projects, to building a fossil-free Northwest.

“We need to make a stand. From the Philippines to Syria to Alberta, climate instability caused by business as usual is killing people. Doing something like this, and possibly being arrested, is a lot less crazy than continuing on like nothing is wrong,” says Gaya.

DIRECTIONS: The action is located by the intersection of Farm to Market Road and SR-20 to get there from I5, take exit 230 and drive west on SR-20.




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Wednesday, May 11th: Kayaktivists & Jill Stein Urge Region to Break Free

Kayaktivists & Jill Stein Urge Region to Break Free from Fossil Fuel, Friday-Sunday, May 13-15

Contacts: for Friday Jill Stein press conference and on-water events, Jade Summers 914-565-3605. For on-water events: Bill Moyer 206-365-9980. For other Break Free events, Emily Johnston 206-407-5003. A list of spokespeople from around the region is available.

Thousands of people are converging upon March Point in Anacortes, WA, from all over Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, as part of the global climate mobilization Break Free. Many will risk arrest by engaging in peaceful civil disobedience to highlight the moral urgency of immediate action to combat climate change.

“A just transition provides real economic alternatives to communities dependent on dirty infrastructure, protects workers’ job security as fossil fuel use declines, and balances the injustice of the climate crisis by supporting the communities most impacted by fossil fuels here and around the world,” says activist Zarna Joshi.

We are honored to welcome presidential candidate Jill Stein. “Climate change is the single greatest threat to the survival of humanity on the planet,” says Dr. Stein. “It requires immediate action for a revolutionary transformation of our society” After the press conference, she will join Mosquito Fleet on the water for the Luminary Flotilla.

Below are the on-water events. Additional events are here.

Where: All kayaktivist events originate at Seafarers Memorial Park, 601 Seafarers Way, Anacortes, Washington.

When: May 13-15, 2016

10am-noonKayaktivist training
Noon-2pm: Banner-Hoist training
6:30pm: Press Conference with Jill Stein:
7pm-11pm: Luminary Flotilla

10am:  Launch and paddle to March Point
Noon:  Meet Native American marchers for Native Water Ceremony and program
2:30: Launch from March Point, paddle back to Seafarers Memorial Park

9am: Launch
10am4pm: Paddle to March Point, various peaceful protest actions

Wildlife and habitat advisory:  Launch and return times are being coordinated carefully with tide levels to protect delicate eelgrass and heron habitat. Kayaktivists and media must stay away from the heronry east of March Point, as this is a sensitive breeding time.  If you have questions, please ask one of our representatives at Seafarers Memorial Park.

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Saturday, April 30th: Almost 500 Committed to Risking Arrest

Almost 500 Committed to Risking Arrest at March Point in Anacortes, May 13-15

Part of a global movement to break free from fossil fuel; Pacific Northwest to be regional focal point in historic global protests in May.

Organizers announced today that almost 500 people have committed to risking arrest, putting their bodies on the line to stop the flow of oil into and out of March Point, in an action that’s part of a global mobilization in early May. Over 1900 people from around the region plan to support the action, which is being organized by a coalition of more than 40 regional groups.

In addition to the civil disobedience actions, there will be an Indigenous-led ceremony on Saturday the 14th, and workshops, speakers, and music over the course of the weekend.

World leaders have acknowledged the need to stay below 1.5°C of warming in order to avoid catastrophic destabilization of climate systems, while utterly failing to produce–let alone ratify–plans that would achieve this. In fact, warming has spiked from .9°C in 2015 to nearly 1.3°C in recent months.

“These refineries impact health both locally and globally. People in India and in countries of the global south are facing devastating impacts, and desperately need rich countries to rapidly shift to a fossil-free economy,” says Afrin Sopariwala, an organizer with Women of Color Speak Out.

Organizers say the event is as much about justice–for communities near and far, and for workers in the fossil fuel industry–as about energy sources. “Given the role of the refineries in the local economy and the inevitable transition to reduced fossil fuel dependency, it’s particularly important for Anacortes to tangle with the need for a just transition,” says Anacortes resident Bud Ullman.

“People in the Northwest understand that there’s no time to work tentatively within the system anymore,” adds organizer Emily Johnston. “We need to move to 100% clean renewables as quickly as we can. It’s why so many of us are willing to move out of our comfort zones, and try to force the system to wake up.”

Faith groups will also take part in the action. Rev. Meighan Pritchard, Pastor, Prospect UCC Seattle points out that “people of faith are called to take care of creation. The transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy must be just and fair; it also must be swift if we are to have a hope of a livable planet in the coming decades.”

Because of safety concerns, activists will not be blocking workers from entering or leaving the facility.

Friday April 22nd: Earth Day Luminary Flotilla

Contact: Margo Polley Phone: (425) 344-1025

Break Free PNW Earth Day Luminary Flotilla, Friday, April 22, 8pm

Part of a global movement to break free from fossil fuel; Pacific Northwest to be regional focal point in historic global protests in May.

Seattle, April 21, 2016:  Break Free PNW invites media representatives to an Earth Day Luminary Flotilla on Elliott Bay Friday night, April 22, 8pm, at Alki Beach, 1660 Harbor Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98126 .  The Paris World Climate Agreement is set to be signed by more than 150 nations this day.

World leaders have acknowledged that we need to stay under 1.5°C temperature rise to avoid catastrophic climate change, but have failed to enact policies to do so.  On May 13, 14 and 15 people will take direct action in Anacortes, at the March Point fossil fuel refineries to confront the fossil fuel industry & the politicians in its thrall, as a part of global actions to demand a just and sustainable future for ourselves and our children. The Earth Day Luminary Flotilla is one of many events building for these historic protests, and it will be one of the most beautiful.  

The Break Free PNW Luminary Flotilla will feature kayaktivists with stunning luminary art and an on-water light panel with the beautiful Seattle skyline as a backdrop.   

“We will stop the fossil fuel industry’s plans to turn the Northwest into a dirty energy corridor. We must transform our energy industry to one that is safe, renewable and just, or see the weather get worse until the climate cannot support economic stability. In many places this is already happening.  We are in a climate emergency.  The planet is at stake,” said Paul Adler, kayaktivist trainer with Break Free PNW.

“Seemingly remote, untouchable crisis such as climate change become deeply personal when we connect to the power, beauty and fragility of our beloved Salish Sea.  Kayaktivists and land-based allies have been preparing for the massive May 13-15 Break Free protests in Anacortes to demand new infrastructure and policy for a just transition off of fossil fuels.  We are augmenting our training schedule to mark this Earth Day with a Luminary Procession to reaffirm our commitment to live up to our sacred obligation to protect our children and all that we love by addressing climate change now,” said Bill Moyer, Executive Director of the Backbone Camaign.

Join us Friday Night at Alki for the Earth Day Luminary Flotilla

For more information, visit:  

#keepitintheground #breakfree