Tar Sands Megaloads Road Show of Tipping Point: The Age of the Oil Sands

Friday, June 1, 7 pm: Kennewick, Washington

Kennewick Mid-Columbia Library, 1620 South Union Street

Tipping Point Kennewick Poster

Sunday, June 3, 7 pm: Spokane, Washington

The Magic Lantern Theatre, 25 West Main Avenue

Tipping Point Spokane Poster

Monday, June 4, 7 pm: Kellogg, Idaho

Cameron Mall, 120 West Cameron Avenue

Tipping Point Kellogg Poster

Sunday, June 10, 3 pm: Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Pilgrim’s Market, 1316 N. Fourth Street

Tipping Point Coeur d’Alene Poster

Co-Sponsors: Wild Idaho Rising Tide (Moscow, Idaho), Occupy Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland, Washington), Occupy Spokane and Surviving the Future Film Group (Spokane, Washington), Silver Valley Community Resource Center (Coeur d’Alene and Kellogg, Idaho)

On Friday, June 1, through Sunday, June 10, community organizations in Idaho and Washington are co-hosting benefit screenings of the tar sands expose Tipping Point: The Age of the Oil Sands in Kennewick and Spokane, Washington, and Coeur d’Alene and Kellogg, Idaho.  These regional premieres of the 90-minute documentary, produced for Canadian television audiences of The Nature of Things program, take viewers inside the David and Goliath struggle emerging within one of the most compelling environmental issues of our time: tar sands development near Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Directed by Edmonton filmmakers Tom Radford and Niobe Thompson of Clearwater Media and hosted by Dr. David Suzuki, Tipping Point discloses how global outreach by a tiny Native village and groundbreaking research by a renowned freshwater scientist have tipped the scales of public opinion against industry and government support of this largest ever industrial project.

In recent years, rare forms of cancer have plagued First Nations residents of Fort Chipewyan, downstream from tar sands mining and processing operations along the Athabasca River.  The oil corporations and Canadian government have denied Native claims that toxins from tar sands production may be polluting the unceded tracts of their vast wetland and boreal forest homeland and impacting the health and continuance of their subsistence lifestyle.

But independent research led by Dr. David Schindler in 2010 discovered unexpectedly high levels of arsenic, lead, mercury, and other toxins discharged from tar sands processing plants.  Meanwhile, Dene elder Francois Paulette and Fort Chipewyan leaders relentlessly sought allies around the world, from New York, Copenhagen, Oslo, and elsewhere, finally enlisting the support of Avatar director James Cameron, who visited the tar sands area.

By December 2010, Fort Chipewyan residents’ determination, Professor Schindler’s research findings, and Cameron’s media attention had created a storm of controversy over tar sands operations and demanded change in an oil-driven world.  With federal and provincial environmental policies facing serious global pressure, a scientific review by an appointed expert panel and separate government reports revealed flawed industry standards and incompetent monitoring of tar sands devastation for over a decade.  The age of oil sands innocence ended with the dramatic reversal of the national and Alberta governments’ previous positions on tar sands pollution.

For these showings of Tipping Point, event organizers ask movie-goers to contribute toward admission and to enjoy refreshments provided by co-sponsoring groups for additional donations.  Before and after the film, organization leaders and audience members will discuss regional tar sands transportation projects and how citizens can influence the outcomes of ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil megaloads of processing equipment moving since mid-October, 2011, from the Port of Pasco through Tri-Cities, Spokane, and Spokane Valley streets to the Alberta tar sands.  Participants are encouraged to attend the Northwest Extraction Resistance Workshop on June 8 and 9 in Spokane, to learn direct action skills applicable to expanding community protests of tar sands transports, coal export trains, and other dirty energy ventures and consequent local and global degradation of public resources.

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