On World Environment Day in 2013, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales declared, “The City must urge the Oregon State Treasurer, the Local Government Investment Pool, and the Oregon Investment Council to divest of all state holdings in fossil fuel.” Unfortunately a year-and-a-half has passed and the resolution has yet to come before City Council. In the meantime, the city purchased $20,000,000 in ExxonMobil bonds and is actively re-writing its own Environmental Conservation Habitat codes to accommodate a dangerous propane export terminal at the Port of Portland.
This relationship has gone on too long. It’s time for Portland to break up with fossil fuels.
Rising Tide and 350PDX celebrated the “break up” in style. We partied with music, flowers, and candies, and a special guest appearance by the Raging Grannies! Personalized break-up letters were sent directly to Charlie and our photo petition garnered dozens of supporters.
Our Community Response to Climate Change: CHOOSING ACTION
Climate change feels like an overwhelming issue: we often feel it is so big and complex that there is nothing we can do. But we are not helpless, there are actions we can take as individuals and as a community.
Join us in a forum to learn, discuss, and share ideas.The program will include brief informational sessions on:
Neighborhood impacts of climate change and local actions we can take
Policy efforts being addressed by the legislature
Green investing and divestiture of fossil fuels from the investments of our families and the organizations we’re involved with
The presentations will be followed by facilitated discussions on each topic which participants can choose by interest area.
Kari-Lyons Eubanks, Multnomah County Health Department, and McKenzie Southworth and Griselda Maria Palma, Multnomah County Office of Sustainabilit
Jana Gastellum, Oregon Environmental Council
Lenny Dee, Board Member, 350 PDX
Tuesday February 10, 2015 7:00 – 8:30 PM Friendly House 1737 NW 26th Ave Portland, OR
Northwest Neighbors CAN Make a Difference!
Sponsored by Portland State University and Friendly House
NW fossil fuel corridor & climate change: citizens fight back against proposed gas export terminals
Program:Wednesday Talk Radio— Stream Here Air date: Wed, 02/04/2015 Short Description: Activists from around the region discuss their efforts to shut down controversial projects Continuing our coverage of accelerating climate change and the Fossil Fuel industries’ attempt to transform the West Coast of the U.S. and Canada into a massive export colony for the global economy.
Guests will include:
Pembina Propane terminal in Portland: Daphne Wysham, Center for a Sustainable Economy Bob Sallinger, Conservation Director, Audubon of Portland (not yet confirmed) Mike Stanton, President, ILWU (not yet confirmed)
Jordan Cove Liquified Natural Gas terminal in Coos Bay & Pacific Connector Pipeline: Francis Eatherington, Conservation Director, Cascadia Wildlands
Warrenton LNG terminal/ Oregon LNG: Laurie Caplan, Co-chair, Columbia Pacific Common Sense
Portland, OR – Tuesday: Hundreds gathered in a rally and packed the Planning and Sustainability Commission public hearing to show their opposition to the controversial propane terminal proposed by Pembina Pipeline Corporation. With standing room only, the Planning and Sustainability Commission had trouble accommodating the large crowd, and over 100 people signed up to testify. The meeting ended with over 2 hours left of testimony un-heard. Community members spoke to climate impacts of propane, the destruction caused by fracking, and the impact to the sensitive conservation area at the proposed terminal site.
Community opposition and numerous unanswered questions regarding the planned terminal caused the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) to postpone their decision and schedule a second public meeting to consider Pembina’s proposal on March 17, 2015.
Pembina Pipeline Corporation, with investments in the Canadian tar sands, wants to bring explosive liquid propane by rail to Portland for export to Asia from the Port of Portland’s Rivergate Terminal opposite West Hayden Island. This proposal will require that a pipeline be built crossing a fragile riparian area along the Columbia River which is zoned as a conservation area. Portland currently has a zoning code that prohibits the transport of hazardous materials via pipeline, like liquid propane gas (LPG), through such zones. In order for the proposal to move forward, the PSC would have to modify this zoning code. Today was the first public hearing held regarding the zoning amendment.
“The analysis of the Pembina proposal provided to the PSC fails to address many potential risks to human health, safety, and equity, now and into the future. We ask the Commission to recommend against any code changes that would allow this dangerous project to move forward,” said Regna Merritt of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility.
According to standard US government figures, the daily climate impact of this propane once burned would be equivalent to the daily emissions from 760,000 passenger vehicles or almost 1.5 times the number of such vehicles registered in Multnomah County in 2013. The propane is likely to be sourced from “fracked” gas and Alberta’s tar sands, the target of international protests due to the impact tar sands extraction is having on First Nations peoples and the environment. Fracking has been banned in several states due to its serious health and environmental impacts. The Pembina project is one of many projects proposed around the country that have met resistance from grassroots groups, including the Keystone XL Pipeline, coal, oil and gas terminals, and oil by rail projects.
“Using environmentally sensitive port lands to facilitate a $6 billion-a-year foreign company’s exports of a greenhouse gas pollutant originating from carbon intensive and environmentally destructive sources could not be further from Portland’s recently achieved title of ‘Climate Champion’ ” said Dr. John Talberth, President and Senior Economist with the Center for Sustainable Economy.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 8, publicly announced its opposition to the pipeline project. Mike Stanton, ILWU Local 8 president, states that “Propane exports squander the port’s potential by squeezing out rail capacity for other cargoes, including Oregon agricultural projects, containers and more. Pembina’s promise of jobs – other than a short initial construction burst – is simply false.”
The Climate Action Coalition (CAC) is calling for the rejection of the proposed propane terminal in Portland and for a moratorium on all fossil fuel infrastructure and transportation construction in Oregon.
Sponsored by Climate Action Coalition of Portland: Portland Rising Tide, Raging Grannies, 350PDX, Unitarian Universalist Community for Earth, NoKXL, PDX Bike Swarm, Sustainable Energy & Economy Network (SEEN).
[Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission will accept written testimony until March 17th. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org. USPS: 1900 SW 4th Avenue, ATTN- PSC, Portland, OR 97201]
*Thanks to Vance Walstra for the photography. www.vancewalstra.com
Rev. Kate Lore, First Unitarian Church: 503-906-6482 (cell)
Daphne Wysham, Center for Sustainable Economy: 503-657-7336; 202-510-3541 (cell)
Two weeks after the White House awarded the City of Portland and 15 other cities across the U.S. the title of “Climate Action Champion,” Oregon’s Climate Action Coalition says Portland Mayor Charlie Hales is in danger of being viewed as a “climate hypocrite” for pushing forward on a plan for a major propane export terminal in the city. Mayor Hales has expressed public support for the terminal. Yet two weeks ago, when receiving the Climate Action Champion award from President Obama, Hales stated that it is time for Portland “to think smarter, to demand more of ourselves.”
“We think the best way for Mayor Hales to think smarter about his legacy as either a climate champion or a climate hypocrite is to put an end to fossil fuel infrastructure development in the City of Portland, starting with a proposal being developed by one of the most profitable companies in the Canadian tar sands of Alberta, Pembina,” said Dr. Adriana Voss-Andreae, Chair of 350PDX.
Dr. Kelly O’Hanley, a physician with 25 years of public health experience in 37 countries, submitted comments on behalf of the Climate Action Coalition (CAC) on the proposal by Pembina Pipeline Corporation to build a propane terminal at Portland’s City Council meeting the morning of Dec. 17, 2014. The CAC, whose members include Portland Rising Tide, 350PDX, Center for Sustainable Economy, First Unitarian Church Community for Earth, Portland Raging Grannies, Portland Greenpeace Working Group and Portland Bike Swarm, is opposing the terminal both for the climate impacts this proposal would have globally and for the environmental impacts the terminal would have locally and in Alberta. The proposal calls for an initial daily shipment of 37,000 barrels of propane which, when burned, will emit some 3,601,820 tons of CO2 per year, equivalent to annual emissions from 760,000 passenger vehicles, or 1.5 times the emissions from all of the passenger vehicles registered in Multnomah County in 2013. Pembina, a Canadian fossil fuel company operating in the tar sands and elsewhere in Alberta, wants to ship dangerous liquefied propane (LPG), a byproduct of fracked oil and gas, by rail from Canada to Asia from Terminal 6 in Portland. Portland is on the verge of rolling back its environmental code along the Columbia River, including a 1989 law that prohibits the transport of hazardous materials, like LPG via pipeline through conservation zones including the critical riparian areas along the shores of the Columbia.
“This terminal provides yet another economic incentive to the fracking industry, while undermining an urgent need for all of us to transition to clean and safe renewable energy,” said Rev. Kate Lore, Social Justice Minister at Portland’s First Unitarian Church.
“We need Mayor Hales to be a true climate champion, not turn Portland into a magnet for dirty and dangerous fossil fuel exports,” said Daphne Wysham, Climate Policy Fellow with Center for Sustainable Economy.
At the recent Lima UN Climate Summit, every country around the world agreed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. President Obama has set a target of overall emissions reductions for the United States of 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. Portland’s own goal is to reduce 1990 emissions by 40% in 2030 and by 80% in 2050.
Vancouver, WA — A group of activists with Portland Rising Tide interrupted business as usual on Monday afternoon at the Vancouver office of Kinder Morgan to deliver a ‘People’s Restraining Order’ against the company’s plans to expand the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline in British Columbia.
A representative from Kinder Morgan’s office tried to prevent protesters from entering the office by blocking the door. He refused to receive the ‘People’s Restraining Order,’ calling the peaceful gathering a major disruption.
The proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would transport oil from the Alberta tar sands, and would travel through un-ceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Selilwitulh territories in British Columbia. The Trans Mountain expansion has faced serious opposition from local residents and first nations people in Burnaby Mountain, with over 100 people arrested since early September. On December 1st, the Burnaby community celebrated when the court ruled that Kinder Morgan could not continue to block protesters from entering the proposed expansion site where the company had been surveying and performing geotechnical drills. Kinder Morgan has plans to continue construction of the pipeline and intends to go to the Canadian National Energy Board in early 2015 to present its case for the approval of the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline.
Rising Tide is an international group with chapters in Portland and Vancouver that works to address the root causes of climate change. Portland Rising Tide opposes the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion due to its ultimate role in extracting Alberta tar sands, facilitating what many have called the most destructive industrial project on Earth.
According to Portland Rising Tide organizer, Meredith Cocks, “We are here to show Kinder Morgan that we stand in solidarity with the Burnaby residents and first nations people resisting this project. In light of the climate negotiations in Peru, continuing to allow expansion of tar sands extraction, and fossil fuel infrastructure in general, is fundamentally a disastrous route to take.”
On Tuesday, November 25, the day after the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown case, Ferguson residents focused on cleaning up from a night that involved both peaceful protests as well as smashed windows, stolen goods and burned buildings. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ordered additional National Guard troops into the city. As Ferguson smoldered, massive actions continued daily in cities across the nation with thousands of participants and hundreds more arrests by all accounts. In the next wave, activists took aim at Black Friday, turning out at top retail outlets to express outrage against a grand jury decision not to indict a police officer for killing Michael Brown, an unarmed teen.
On Monday, December 1, thousands of people took part in Hands Up Walk Out actions as participants left their jobs and classes across the country. This protest took place at 12:01 p.m. Central time — the time Brown was killed on August 9 — with events planned in more than 30 cities in the U.S. and abroad, according to activists.
On Saturday night in Portland, Oregon at least 400 attended the rally dubbed DON’T SHOOT PORTLAND, reports rt.com. The event was created on Facebook under the hashtag #DontShootPDX. Portland Police met the peaceful protests with flash grenades and arrests of at least ten activists. Saturday night’s march marked nearly a week of demonstrations, in Portland and across the nation. Monday, December 1st, was the seventh day after the decision, and #DontShootPDX was at it again on in front of Portland City Hall…more soon.
Demands for police accountability will continue to grow across the country. Portland Rising Tide will continue to support non-violent direct action for racial justice and against state violence. We believe that the struggle for social justice is inextricably linked to the fight for environmental justice. We believe that capitalism, racism and patriarchy are among the root causes of social and environmental degradation.
Rising Tide North America’s statement of solidarity with Ferguson can be read here.
Kinder Morgan removed its drill equipment this weekend, after several momentous weeks culminating in more than 100 arrests on Burnaby Mountain. The stories, photos, videos and emotions were incredible. The following is some of our reporters’ notes from the field – from the courtroom to the conservation forest – where the dramas around the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion proposal unfolded.
Our news team started seeing matters “heat up” on Burnaby Mountain in early September. That’s when Kinder Morgan began cutting down 13 trees (the number is disputed) in the city’s conservation park on the mountain. But its authority to do so was in question. Burnaby’s Mayor Derek Corrigan expressly forbade the company from cutting down the trees, and said doing so was in violation of municipal bylaws. It then began legal manouvres to try and stop the company.
Ostensibly, Texas-based Kinder Morgan, known locally as Trans Mountain (after the name of its pipeline), was seeking to do borehole testing, to see if the mountain’s geology could handle the last leg of the company’s hoped for Edmonton-to-Burnaby pipeline expansion. Kinder Morgan is the largest pipeline company in America, and the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in Canada is the company’s most important project on the continent, a chief executive told investors recently.
If the export pipeline is approved by the NEB and the Harper cabinet next year, construction would begin in 2016, requiring approximately 4,500 workers for it to be built.
More coverage from the Vancouver Observer on the battle for Burnaby Mountain can be found here. This article is the most recent installment from The Tar Sands Reporting Project.
November 25, 2014 — Tonight Portland joined communities across the nation to express outrage at the Michael Brown verdict in Ferguson, Missouri and against the deep social inequities that enable police violence. More than 2000 people gathered in front of the Multnomah County detention center for a peaceful rally held by a coalition of community organizations including the Albina Ministerial Alliance, the All African People’s Revolutionary Party, and the Urban League. Portland Rising Tide was among many community groups present in solidarity. Protesters chanted “No Justice, No Peace” and “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” as the rally turned into a well-orchestrated march through downtown.
At least one protester held up a sign with the names of African Americans killed by Portland Police including: Denorris Laron McClendon, Darris Eugene Johnson, Keaton Dupree Otis, Jack Dale Collins, Aaron Marcell Campbell, Lesley Paul Scott Stewart, Marcello Vaida, Vernon Allen, Willie Thomas Grigsby, James Jahar Perez, Kendra James, and a 17-year-old youth killed in 2012 whose name has been withheld. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice sued the City of Portland for excessive force against people with mental illness.
Reflecting on community violence waged by police, it is important to note that despite the US Government’s proclivity for tracking statistics of every type, there is still no reliable national registry of police shootings or victims. The Department of Justice Arrest-related Deaths database includes only self-reported information from about 750 law enforcement agencies1. Portland police shootings have been tracked by Portland Cop Watch. An emerging issue that has exacerbated police violence targeting communities of color2is the increasing militarization of US state and local police.
After tonight’s peaceful protest, police deployed pepper spray and made seven arrests after a break-off group of protesters “snarled up traffic on Interstates 5 and 84 and gummed up passage on the Burnside, Morrison and Marquam bridges” according to the Oregonian.
Rising Tide North America’s statement of solidarity with Ferguson can be read here.
According to a May 2014 report by Oil Change International, from 2007 to 2013 the volume of oil shipped by rail in the United States increased 70 times. The current volume of oil shipped by rail in Canada and the US is at 1 million barrels per day (bpd). Forecasts predict volumes as high as 5.1 million bpd nationwide by 2016. According to Sightline Institute, if all oil-related projects proposed in our region are approved, 858,800 bpd, a little more than the capacity of the Keystone XL pipeline, could soon be passing through the Pacific Northwest.
Meanwhile, scientific evidence leaves little doubt that climate change is already beginning to wreak havoc in the form of extreme weather events, receding Arctic sea ice, and melting ice sheets. This September was the warmest recorded yet. With the CO2 that human activity has so far sent into the atmosphere, scientists believe that the melting of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets will result in a 20 meter (66 feet) rise in sea level over the next several centuries. Almost anyone over 50-years-old you talk with these days will acknowledge the weather is weird compared to what they knew growing up. You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows and you don’t need a climate scientist to know that the wind is acting strangely. The last thing we should be endeavoring to do is burn fossil fuels at an ever increasing rate but as the statistics above and others reflect, that is exactly what we are doing.
Admittedly, 327 metric tons, though it sounds big, is a tiny fraction of the world’s total annual CO2 output of 32 billion metric tons per year. One could dismiss each individual tank car of oil as a miniscule drop of doom in the big bucket of total green house potential. Symbolically however, the reality that our society has chosen to exploit a resource that is damaging to ecosystems, human health, social fabric, and the global climate, in spite of all the evidence that screams urgently at us to stop burning fossil fuels of any kind, each tank car represents certain doom for human industrial civilization. Each one symbolizes our collective inability to acknowledge the truth of our predicament. In every tank car are the malls, the oversized big-box retail stores, the oversized trucks and cars, the oversized houses built at the end of cul-de-sacs and hours-long commutes, the endless volumes of plastic trash washing into the oceans, and all of the things that we should be trying to rethink as quickly as possible. Each tank car represents all the things that we are clever enough to invent but too stupid to manage responsibly. Each car represents all of those aspects of our nature that we seem incapable of changing. If that ain’t doom, what is? It’s not so much the absolute amount of CO2 that is in each tank car. It is the cosmically tragic fact that we let them keep rolling.
Yes. The tanks of doom just keep coming, with more and more of them coming every day. There is such a profound sense of unfairness about all of this. Effectively what is happening is that very few individuals with lots of money are deciding the fate of all life on the planet. They may not be conspiring together necessarily, but as the National City Lines case illustrates, collusion happens. Even without a conspiracy, their collective efforts to act only in their own self-interests achieve the same result. What is an ordinary person to do? There are lots of ways that an individual can disengage from some aspects of the current system. There are a lot of groups that one can join in order to add their efforts to the construction of better alternatives.
At some point though, we have to get political. If we want to manifest the kind of radical changes that are necessary to break free of the stranglehold that the fossil fuel companies, and corporations generally, have on our society, joining with others in mass actions of civil disobedience to disrupt business as usual may be the only tool we have left. History shows that the only time radical system change happens is when some critical mass of the citizenry finally stands up and so acts. The New Deal reforms of the 1930s, the civil rights and environmental legislation of the sixties and seventies where all passed on the tails of mass citizen unrest. These were real reforms that made a positive difference in our well-being. Compare those periods with the era of political sleep walking we’ve been muddling through since the mid-seventies. While we’ve been sawing logs, many of the reforms of the New Deal and those of the 60’s and 70’s have been effectively erased. If there is any hope in all of this doom, it is in people finally standing up once again and resisting in ways that cost the elites real money. Just think what could happen if enough people got together and decided not to go to work for a few days. If only…
To raise awareness that every oil tank car on the North American railways is a tank of doom, and to inspire more people to stand up with us, a number of us at Portland Rising Tide have built (in keeping with the times) an oversized bike float called, naturally, the Tank of Doom. The Tank of Doom was originally called “Megaload by Bike”. We were inspired by a vision of a regulatory dream world in which the Oregon Department of Transportation would not permit Megaloads—large pieces of Alberta tar sands mining and processing equipment that approach the size of Saturn V rockets—to cross the state unless they were towed by Warren Buffett on a bicycle. It seemed like it could make great street theater to parody such a fantastic event.
Alas, the megaloads were quickly forgotten once they left the state. Fortunately, our design lent itself to a quick conversion to something that looks very much like an oil tank car. Those are likely to be highly visible in the media and not forgotten soon since over the next few years various problems (like explosions) may be frequent occurrences as a few million barrels of crude are moved over the North American railways each day.
Look for the Tank of Doom at a climate justice direct action happening soon near you. What do you do when you see an endless train of Tanks of Doom coming down the tracks? Stand up! Fight back!
* The 327 metric tons/tank car is a calculation based on a hard-to-pin-down figure: kilograms of CO2 per barrel of oil. The number you get there depends on whether you assume that every hydrocarbon molecule in the barrel will be turned into a combustible product or whether you consider the reality that some of those hydrocarbons get turned into asphalt, plastic polymers, etc. If you assume the former, you get around 432 kg CO2 / barrel and 317 kg CO2 / barrel if don’t assume the entire barrel is burned.
It seems reasonable to use the higher number because, yes I am biased, and because the calculation does not account for embedded CO2. For example, they are mining sand from various places and transporting that to the Bakken Shale drill sites. What about all those flare-offs of methane at each wellhead? How much energy is required to truck the huge amounts of water that fracking requires out to the drill sites? It would take weeks or months of research to track all this down. If you could with some accuracy include the embedded energy in a unit of Bakken Shale crude, you would probably get a number way higher than 317 kg CO2 / barrel.
Here’s the calculation:
Tank car typical capacity 31800 gal Gallons per barrel of oil 42 CO2 per barrel of oil according three different sources: