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Vancouver Tesoro Savage Oil Terminal Adjudication– Monday, June 27

EFSEC’s [Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council] 1st Day of the Adjudication Process for the  Vancouver Tesoro Savage Oil Terminal:
Monday, June 27, 9:00am
Columbia Tech Center at Clark College

18700 SE Mill Plain Blvd. Vancouver, WA 98683

(This is not where the April 12th Hearing was held.)

From Vancouver’s Don Steinke:

“This will be the first day of a five-week process where legal teams from both sides present evidence and expert testimony is cross examined.   

We’d like signs outside quoting resolutions of concern or opposition from various cities and a full house inside on the first and last days in Vancouver, and one day in Olympia.

We don’t want to make the EFSEC staff feel like they are walking through a gauntlet as they arrive.  They view us in a positive manner.  

EFSEC’s trial-like hearing will begin and end in Vancouver, with different parties presenting detailed evidence about why the Council should approve or deny the project. Although the general public is not allowed to speak, our presence will help to convey the depth of opposition to the Tesoro Savage proposal in Vancouver.

On the first day of the hearing, let’s give EFSEC a warm welcome and rally outside the hearing.  The hearing room can hold roughly 100 members of the public – let’s make sure it’s packed!”

DIRECTIONS

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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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Fossil Fuel Resistance Action — June 18th

rally picWhy: On Friday, June 3rd, a Union Pacific train carrying crude oil fracked from the Bakken  crude derailed and caught fire in the Columbia River Gorge near Mosier, Oregon. The surrounding neighborhood, including an elementary school, was evacuated, oil spilled into the Columbia River, and the fire burned into the night.

On July 6th, 2013, an oil train derailed in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, 47 dead. More than 30 buildings were destroyed, and 36 demolished due to contamination.

Rail incidents involving fossil fuel transportation jumped nearly sixteenfold between 2010 and 2014 [citation needed].

The time to resist fossil fuel transport and demand a just transition to sustainable energy sources is now.

What: Join the growing Fossil Fuel Resistance Network in a direct action against the exploitative and dangerous transportation of fossil fuels by rail! Check FFRN’s Action page here.

When: Saturday, June 18 at 9:00 AM PDT– All day...

Where: Meet up at Esther Short Park in Vancouver, near the gazebo

 350PDX and Portland Rising Tide are co-supporters of Fossil Fuel Resistance Network

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Union Pacific Apologizes for “Inconvenience” as Oil Drips Onto Tracks and Trains Resume after Explosion

poster_9b0f79ab408048b89e657a84dafa86cbMayor Arlene Burns reports that Union Pacific (UP) has resumed sending trains through Mosier while oil from derailed tankers continues to drip onto the tracks. Mosier’s aquifer– its entire water supply— was completely depleted as fire crews risked their lives and hosed down tankers to keep more than four from exploding.

OPB’s Conrad Wilson, reports that crews have recovered about 10,000 gallons of crude oil from the town’s sewage system. Another 32,000 gallons burned off or vaporized in the initial crash, was captured by booms in the Columbia, or soaked into the soil.

Oregon’s Governor, Senators, and several state reps have called on UP to stop sending oil through the Gorge until the toxic mess is cleaned up and the cause of the derailment has been determined.

So far, UP has refused to comply with this request but has apologized for any “inconvenience” caused by the explosion.

OPB reports that as of June 7, at least 10 trains have passed through Mosier since resuming after the explosion.  No crude oil trains are scheduled to pass through for the next week, but UP’s spokesperson Raquel Espinoza said that’s more a function of scheduling than any deliberate action taken by the railroad to avoid sending crude through Mosier. She said the railroad plans to resume normal operations “soon”.

Mosier’s Mayor Arlene Burns to Think Out Loud’s Dave Miller:

“I don’t think there’s any safe way to transport volatile materials by train….there are no fire departments anywhere along the corridor that are equipped to deal with a fire such as the one we had…In lieu of climate change, in lieu of the dangers that are posed to everyone, not just Mosier, and the risks that we take for the profit of a very few…it just doesn’t calculate out into anything that’s reasonable”.

“The rules for interstate commerce were made a long time ago, before anybody ever heard of Bakken Crude…so we need to revisit some of these laws”.

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Community Derailment Response Continues in Hood River, June 4

poster_9b0f79ab408048b89e657a84dafa86cbEmergency response crews continue tonight to monitor the smoldering wreckage of a Bakken oil train which derailed and ignited today in Mosier, Oregon. Following the blast, the Stand Up To Oil campaign called for denial of all oil train project proposals and an immediate ban on all oil train traffic in Washington and Oregon. Portland Rising Tide emphatically supports this ban.

Stand Up to Oil writes in a June 3 press release, “The devastation in Mosier underscores the risk that each town and neighborhood along the rail line faces: Spokane, Portland, Tacoma, and so many more”.

“The oil industry has demonstrated that they’re incapable of handling the product safely.  We cannot continue to put our communities at risk by allowing these unsafe oil trains to travel unchecked through the Northwest.”

The community is gathering together in Hood River tomorrow in response to the oil train derailment and fire, likely accompanied by a Stand Up to Oil press conference.


Waterfall Park in Hood River
115 State St, Hood River, OR 97031

(near Big Horse Brewing)

Saturday, June 4, 12 noon

10:30 – 12:00 Sign Painting, Friends of the Columbia Gorge office, 205 Oak St. #17, Hood River

12:00 – 12:45 Rally, Overlook Memorial Park (2nd Street & State Street, downtown Hood River)

12:45 – 1:30 March through Hood River, across I-84 Bridge, down to the HR Waterfront Park

Check the Facebook event, please RSVP & invite folks/share

The traffic in the area is really terrible today but we hope that by tomorrow it will have calmed down.  Please dress appropriately for the very hot weather.

STAND UP TO OIL is a growing coalition of groups opposed to new oil terminals and an increase in oil transport through the Northwest, while working to improve safety measures for oil currently traveling through the region. Learn more at Standuptooil.org

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Sarra Tekola, Afrin Sopariwala, Yin Yu, and Zarna Joshi.

Women of Color Speak Out: Climate Change and Systems of Oppression

Women of Color Speak Out on “Climate Change and Systems of Oppression”. We connect capitalism, colonialism, racism and the prison industrial complex to climate change. We will discuss subjects of war, corporations, banks, slavery, private prisons, poverty, and white supremacy. 

Women of Color Speak Out are four Seattle local climate justice activists: Sarra Tekola, Afrin Sopariwala, Yin Yu, and Zarna Joshi. They were at the forefront of the Shell No protests and have presented at community center, women prison, universities and high schools. Members are associated with various environmental justice grassroots collectives such as Got Green and Rising Tide Seattle. 

Where: First Unitarian Portland, 1211 SW Main St, Portland, Oregon 97205

When: Thursday, May 26 at 6:30 PM – 9 PM

More info and RSVP on facebook

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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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Breakfree Oil Refinery Blockade in Anacortes, WA, May 13 -15 — We’ll Be Back!

trip_annacortes_breakfree_05-14-16

May 15, 2016 — An estimated 1,500 activists from across the Northwest gathered at the site of two oil refineries in Washington state demanding action to combat climate change. The two-day blockade of the railroad tracks leading to the Shell and Tesaro refineries in Anacortes began on Friday.  Hundreds of activists indicated they are willing to risk arrest and engage in peaceful civil disobedience to push for a just transition toward a more sustainable economy. Fifty-two were arrested on Sunday morning. Similar future actions are inevitable.

“Washington state jobs and lives are already at risk, with all the crazy wildfires we’ve had, with the problem with the salmon runs and the oysters,” Break Free Pacific Northwest organizer Emily Johnston explained to Jillian Raftery of KIRO radio. “People are definitely waking up to the fact that (climate change) is a real and local issue.”

“Anacortes, like other refinery towns, is a place that is economically dependent on fossil fuel jobs. You know, a lot of those are good jobs – they’re union jobs, they’re family wage jobs. So nobody wants to see that kind of work go away and not be replaced by something – also not have it be a really rational and careful transition” .

“And those workers are all invited to participate in the weekend’s events, which will include workshops and discussions to educate anyone who wants to know more, and arm activists with information to be part of the climate fight” said Johnston.

2The actions in Anacortes are part of the growing global resistance calling on people to break free from dependence on oil, coal and gas. So far, Break Free events have busted out in Germany, Brazil, Ecuador, South Africa, and British Columbia, as well as New York and California.

A Lummi ceremony, community workshops,  kayaktivist workshops, floatillas,  and a three-mile march near Anacortes along the shores of Fidalgo Bay past the Tesoro and Shell refineries were among the events that continued through Sunday.

According to the Skagit Valley Herald, “Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was among those at the rally on Friday getting kayak training from Kurtis Dengler and Jade Summers of Mosquito Fleet, which formed after the ShellNo campaign in Seattle”.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Phuong Le, Associated Press, 5/14/16:

In Washington state, organizers are targeting two refineries that are among the top sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the state. An environmental review is currently underway for a proposed oil-by-rail project at the Shell Puget Sound Refinery. Shell wants to build an unloading facility and a rail spur from existing tracks to handle about 60,000 barrels of crude oil a day delivered by train.

Many of the nearly 40 groups involved in organizing the Break Free Pacific Northwest event were also involved in large on-water kayak protests against Shell’s Arctic oil drilling rig when it parked at a Seattle port last year as it prepared to explore for oil in the Arctic.

Afrin Sopariwala, 30, a Seattle activist with Women of Color Speak Out, plans to participate this weekend.

“Looking at the conditions of the planet and my own family back home in India, and seeing how quickly and drastically the impacts of our decision are affecting the climate of the planet, I feel it’s my responsibility to future generations,” she said.

….

Ann Eissinger, a wildlife biologist who has studied (the bay’s herons) for years, said the timing was wrong but that organizers have done a stellar job of reaching out to police, media, participants and others to help minimize impact”.

“Our concern was on the ground, in the water and in the air. All three of those have been addressed, she said. ‘The only concern I have at this point is the unexpected.”

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Oregon LNG withdraws Warrenton project

Columbia Riverkeeper– April 14, 2016

LNG flew the surrender flag on April 15, 2016, dropping plans to build an Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export terminal on the lower Columbia River. Oregon LNG could not overcome intense local opposition, which sustained for over ten years. Not only is this an inspiring story of David versus Goliath, but an incredibly important victory for our climate and environment.

The Victory Over Oregon LNG prevents:

  • 1.2 billion cubic feet per day of fracked natural gas sent to Asia. That’s twice as much gas as the entire state of Oregon uses each day. Oregon LNG would have shipped a stunning volume of carbon.
  • A huge new driver for more fracking across the west. An LNG terminal is a regressive investment that locks us into fossil fuel transport for decades, which our climate cannot afford.
  • A bridge to nowhere. Natural gas is not a bridge fuel. We are moving aggressively toward renewables, and natural gas fracking and burning takes us in the wrong direction.
  • The destruction of critical salmon habitat by dredging a huge hole in the Columbia River for LNG tankers. Oregon LNG proposed the largest dredging by a private company in the history of the Columbia River, over 700,000 cubic feet across 135 acres. And the filling of 34 acres of wetlands.
  • A giant industrial scar and militarized zone in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, the Columbia River estuary.
  • LNG vessels competing for space with salmon fishing boats. LNG vessels have large security zones that would push fishers off the river.
  • The threat of eminent domain to take land of family farmers. If approved, Oregon LNG would have the power of eminent domain to construct a pipeline on private land without landowners’ permission.

LNG VICTORY MEME(1)

“After 10 years of fighting, we protected the Columbia River from dirty gas export. This is yet another huge victory for clean water and our climate. Tens of thousands of people stood up to protect clean water, public safety, and our climate. What an amazing effort and result!” – Brett VandenHeuvel, Executive Director, Columbia Riverkeeper

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Jordan Cove LNG Terminal DENIED!

JCdenied

In a rather shocking move, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied the permits for the proposed Jordan Cove LNG export facility and accompanying Pacific Connector Pipeline.  Quote FERC:

42. Because the record does not support a finding that the public benefits of the Pacific Connector Pipeline outweigh the adverse effects on landowners, we deny Pacific Connector’s request for certificate authority to construct and operate its project, as well as the related blanket construction and transportation certificate applications.
B. Jordan Cove’s Proposed LNG Terminal

43. The Jordan Cove LNG Terminal and the Pacific Connector Pipeline, though requiring authorization under different sections of the NGA, have been proposed as two segments of a single, integrated project. As described above, Pacific Connector has stated that although its pipeline will be capable of delivering gas to markets in southern Oregon through an interconnection with Northwest’s Grant Pass Lateral, it will not build the project unless the Jordan Cove LNG Terminal Project goes forward. Similarly, without a source of natural gas, proposed here to be delivered by the Pacific Connector Pipeline, it will be impossible for Jordan Cove’s liquefaction facility to function.


44. As discussed above, in determining whether a proposed project will serve the public interest under the Certificate Policy Statement, the Commission balances the public benefits of a proposed project against the potential adverse consequences. While the Certificate Policy Statement does not specifically apply to facilities authorized under NGA section 3, the Commission is still required to conclude that authorization of such facilities will not be inconsistent with the public interest. We find that without a pipeline connecting it to a source of gas to be liquefied and exported, the proposed Jordan Cove LNG Terminal can provide no benefit to the public to counterbalance any of the impacts which would be associated with its construction.

This is a tremendous victory for all of the dedicated people who have been organizing against this terminal.  Thank you to any and all who wrote comments, turned out for actions, and helped us achieve this amazing victory.  Keep your eyes open for upcoming announcements about how we’re going to make sure this project stays dead and buried!

You can read the full text of the FERC decision here

 

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