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Twenty-One People Arrested Blockading Oil Train Route in Vancouver, WA

Over 100 people stopped rail traffic by forming a human blockade across the tracks in Vancouver, WA on Saturday, June 18.  Watch a recap video and donate to their legal fund.

Organized by the Fossil Fuel Resistance Network in response to the recent oil train derailment in Mosier, OR, the action united voices from across the region in concern not only about the potential local impacts of continued oil-by-rail, but also about the immediate and critical threats of carbon emissions and climate change. During the blockade, many community members spoke about their grief and rage that corporate greed is putting our local ecosystems and communities at risk and fueling the sixth great global extinction.

The Union Pacific train that derailed in Mosier on June 3rd contaminated the Columbia River and local sewer system with crude oil fracked from the Bakken Shale, ignited a fire that released toxic oil smoke into the air, evacuated local neighborhoods and schools, and ultimately drained the city’s entire aquifer.  In the last three years alone, oil train derailments in North America have killed forty-seven people, spilled millions of gallons of oil into waterways, forced the evacuation of thousands and caused billions of dollars in property damage and environmental destruction.

Community members connected the local disaster to a greater climate crisis – ecosystems across the planet are rapidly destabilizing, confirming the worst case scenarios of climate scientists’ predictions.  “We need Governors Brown and Inslee to do more than just advocate for a temporary moratorium on oil trains!  We need them to enact an immediate just transition to a post-fossil fuel economy,” said Portland resident Audrey Caines.  “If governments are not going to take decisive and immediate action to keep fossil fuels in the ground, people’s movements like this one will.”

Speakers also addressed the social consequences of fossil fuel infrastructure, stating that marginalized communities bear disproportionate risks and consequences, as oil train blast zones, pipeline routes, and drilling sites typically exist in low-income rural areas and communities of color. In Mosier, the disaster threatened food and water sources for local Native tribes.

BNSF and the Vancouver city police tried to disperse the crowd multiple times.  In an act of pure intimidation, BNSF ran an engine within 50 feet of the protesters on the tracks and blew it’s horn repeatedly.  Despite the looming non-verbal threat, nobody sitting on the rails made any moves to leave.

The Pacific Northwest has seen a growing movement against fossil fuel transport throughout the region.  Concerned residents point out that proposed new fossil fuel terminals and terminal expansions, including the proposed Tesoro-Savage oil terminal in Vancouver, WA, could result in a dramatic increase in coal and oil trains passing through the Columbia Gorge each week. Mosier would see five times the amount of oil train traffic if these projects are approved. “This is not just the beginning!” said Portland Rising Tide activist Mia Reback. “This movement is growing and will not stop until all fossil fuel extraction projects are shut down and all known fossil fuel reserves are kept safely in the ground! Oil barons beware: we will be back!”

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Longview Coal Hearings: Draft Environmental Impact Statement Comment Period Closes June 13th

Public hearings were held on the draft environmental impact statement on the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals in Longview, Spokane, and Pasco in May and early June.

The comment period closes on Monday, June 13th

Please send in your comment to help block the Largest Coal Export Terminal in North America

Talking Points from Power Past Coal 

Comments can be submitted online or by mail. 
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Break Free – May 13th -15th, Anacortes, WA

Portland Rising Tide is mobilizing for Break Free, three days of actions at the Shell & Tesoro refineries in Anacortes, Washington.  Break Free will commence a global wave of mass actions targeting the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects. We aim to keep coal, oil and gas in the ground and accelerate the just transition to 100% renewable energy.

Across the world, people are showing the courage to confront polluters where they are most powerful — from the halls of power to the wells and mines themselves.

UPCOMING BREAK FREE EVENTS IN PORTLAND

MOBILE COMMUNITY SOLAR PANEL FUNDRAISER

We’re building a mobile solar array to power our protests and direct actions using solar panels manufactured right here in Hilsboro, but we need your help to cover costs!  Can you make a donation today so we can have the array built in time for Break Free this May? 

CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE WORKSHOPS

  • Personal Grounding
  • Possible Legal Consequences
  • Know Your Rights
  • Action  Roles and Tactics
  • Action Practice and Planning

Saturday, April 2, SE Portland, 10:00am-3:00pm
Saturday April 16, Downtown, 10:00am-3:00pm
Tuesday, April 26, SE Portland, 10:00am-3:00pm

LOCATION INFO & RSVP: email goto350pdx@gmail.com, text or call 503-705-1943

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Portland City Council Passes Fossil Fuel Resolution!

 
 
11050749_504004736433693_9044702273345379519_oOn Nov. 12, 2015, the City of Portland took the national lead on climate policy by passing a strong resolution to oppose the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure. This landmark resolution will direct city staff to develop rules that lead Portland away from new fossil fuel projects like coal, oil, and propane terminals, and toward a clean energy future. By passing a strong fossil fuel policy, Portland is the first City on the Columbia River to address all fossil fuel projects head-on in a meaningful, binding way! 

Portland passed a second resolution specifically opposing oil trains rolling through our region on November 4, 2015.

The city council meeting were packed with hundreds of folks in support of these resolutions, and of course were preceded by years of action against fossil fuel projects in the North West. The fight for a clean energy future is not over, but this is a step in the right direction! 

For more information, watch this short video by Balance Media. 

 
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CTUIR Supports OR DEQ Budget Citing Increased Danger of Spills

What follows is the March 25, 2015 testimony of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation at a public hearing on HB 5018 in front the Joint SubCommittee on Natural Resources in Salem. HB 5018 will specify the budget for the DEQ for the next biennium starting July 1, 2015. 

Co-Chairs Devlin and Rayfield and Members of the Committee:

The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) would like to offer our support for the budget of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ). The CTUIR appreciates the cooperative working relationship we have with ODEQ, and have for many years. Our relationship has not been without disagreements from time to time, but the CTUIR remains confident that ODEQ is doing an excellent job protecting the resources on which the CTUIR and all citizens of Oregon rely.

The CTUIR is aware that there are many priorities that the legislature must balance in developing the budget and we would like to lend our support to the important work ODEQ does to reduce risks to the public from environmental hazards. In addition to the proposed budget items, the CTUIR would like to see additional funding provided to ODEQ to address implementation and enforcement of water quality standards and regulations as well as sufficient resources to address harmful spills to the environment. ODEQ has a solemn duty to help reduce the burden of toxic chemicals that are too often found in our water, in our air, and across the landscape. We should constantly seek to reduce the use and discharge of unhealthy chemicals and contaminants in the first place as much as possible.

Source reduction is the most sensible, productive and cost-effective approach, one that should go hand-in-hand with protective standards and regulations. Delay, either in reducing sources or repairing the damage that has already occurred, will only result in a greater toll on human health and the environment. Furthermore, delay will increase the long-term costs of restoring what has been damaged.

A study by the Oregon Environmental Council found that environmentally attributable diseases—like cancer, birth defects, and neurobehavioral problems—cost Oregonians at least $1.57 billion annually. We as a state must do all we can to limit these unnecessary risks to our health and other costs to our communities. We cannot afford these preventable and excessive expenses in times of economic hardship, but most importantly, we should not tolerate the needless harm to the health and well-being of our people. The CTUIR believes that ODEQ Director Pedersen has demonstrated strong leadership and vision in recognizing that we as Oregonians must do more to understand and reduce the damage caused by environmental pollutants. The Director and his staff are implementing initiatives that are crucial to a healthy, sustainable and resilient Oregon.

Implementing Water Quality Standards: A major priority for the CTUIR with respect to ODEQ’s 2015-16 biennium budget is support for implementing revised toxics water quality standards for human health and aquatic life. Oregon was TUIR Testimony regarding SB 5018 Before the Joint Ways & Means Subcommittee on Natural Resources March 25, 2015 Page 2 of 2 Treaty June 9, 1855 ~ Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla Tribes the first state in the nation to adopt a Fish Consumption Rate based on scientific data derived from tribal consumption surveys. Water quality standards based on this rate protect not only tribal members but every citizen of the state who consumes fish. The Oregon standards protect the State’s citizens and fish and other resources that form a major part of our shared heritage. They have been a beneficial step forward that we can all be proud of. But to fulfill their promise, they must not merely exist on paper, but in actual practice, on the ground.

Decreasing toxics and their effects on people and organisms requires full, fair and timely implementation of the revised standards. Sufficient, secure funding is essential, and will ultimately pay ample dividends in the future. The CTUIR appreciates ODEQ’s long-standing commitment to these efforts, and the support of the Legislative Assembly to make them a reality.

Funding Additional Staff to Address Spills Oregon and the region are facing an onslaught of fossil fuel transport projects—coal, oil and natural gas, by rail, barge and ocean-going ships. Increasing shipments of crude oil by rail are already taxing an overly-stressed rail infrastructure. The State of Oregon needs more staff at ODEQ who can respond to spills to make sure that the environment is protected. Derailments occur constantly, most of them in railroad yards or on sidings at slow speeds with little or no releases. However, our rail infrastructure is incredibly open and expansive, with hundreds of miles of rail in Oregon. There are thousands of crossings, with each one a potential disaster from vehicles getting struck by an increasing number of trains. The CTUIR has witnessed two train derailments in our ceded lands in just the last eight months. They could have been much more disastrous than they eventually turned out to be. The first occurred on August 1, 2014, along the Columbia River, where 13 cars derailed and 7 ended up in the river. Fortunately, the seven cars in the water were empty; had they been loaded with crude oil the consequences may have been far different. The second derailment occurred on March 2, 2015, just weeks ago, when 10 cars derailed two miles east of Meacham, Oregon, on the headwaters of Meacham Creek, just a few miles away from Interstate 84. Meacham Creek is one of the primary tributaries to the Umatilla River that runs through the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Two derailed tank cars contained hazardous materials; one contained residual pressurized propane and another contained Methylene Diphenyl Diisocyanate. Both cars came to rest less than 200 feet from Meacham Creek along the canyon wall above the creek.

Derailments like these, and similar ones that are likely to happen, pose a substantial and direct threat to the health and well-being of the citizens of Oregon, and additional funding for staff to respond to these spills in a timely manner is imperative. The CTUIR thanks you for the opportunity to provide this testimony in support of ODEQ’s proposed budget, including resources for toxics reduction programs to improve state-wide environmental stewardship and to enhance overall spill response. Under the able direction of Director Pedersen, ODEQ is focused on positive results, productive partnerships and sensible environmental safeguards. We ask that the Department receive the funding needed to maintain the critical work it is doing for this generation and those in the future.

If Committee Members or staff require more information, please feel free to contact: • Phil Donovan, Northwest Public Affairs, at (503) 522-3023; • Carl Merkle, CTUIR First Foods Policy Program, at (541) 429-7235; or • Lisa Ganuelas, CTUIR Legislative Coordinator, at (541) 429-7392. Thank you.

Pacific Northwest Fossil Fuel Export Map

Image of Pacific NW Fossil Fuel Export Map with the heading "Coal Oil Gas: None Shall Pass"Having trouble keeping track of all of the oil, gas, and coal export projects in the Pacific Northwest? Download the PDF version of Portland Rising Tide’s comprehensive guide to all of the fossil fuel madness happening right here in our own backyard. 

If you like the map, please consider making a donation to Portland Rising Tide. If you don’t like what is on the map, consider joining us in our efforts to stop the madness

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