Salem OR: Climate Justice Activists Protest Clean Energy Jobs Bill

Banner displayed in Salem, OR.

Cross-posted from Portland Rising Tide

February, 6 2019

Climate Justice Activists Protest Clean Energy Jobs Bill

Salem, OR: Activists with the group Portland Rising Tide showed up at the Clean Energy Jobs lobby day with a banner that read, “World on Fire, CEJ Brings Garden Hose.” Hundreds of climate activists from across Oregon gathered in Salem to lobby for climate action, including volunteers with Portland Rising Tide who are calling for a Green New Deal. As Democrats are poised to pass the Clean Energy Jobs bill with support from Big Green Organizations, grassroots activists are calling on Democrats to dramatically reform the bill or abandon it and pass stronger legislation instead.

Activists with Portland Rising Tide are calling attention to major problems within the Clean Energy Jobs bill, including no limits on the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure, use of carbon markets and carbon trading, and the proportion of the revenue that will go into the Highway Trust Fund, potentially leading to increases in greenhouse gas emissions.

Instead, activists are calling for a Green New Deal in Oregon that includes direct industry regulation, transformation of the food system, massive expansion of public transportation, and job programs.

“We’re out here today because we want to see serious action on climate change,” said Jesse Hannon with Portland Rising Tide. “We are very concerned that this bill is not going to do what it claims. Cap and trade has been a failure for 13 years, and with only 12 years left to significantly reduce emissions, we don’t have time to waste on policies that don’t work. We need something better and we need it now.”

Increasingly, Oregonians are concerned about climate change and calling for climate action. In response to the recent studies showing that irreversible climate tipping points could be reached as soon as 2030, people are calling for rapid carbon emissions reductions and a society-wide transition off of fossil fuels.

Portland Rising Tide is an all-volunteer network of climate justice activists organizing against the root causes of climate change.

For more information and pictures from today’s action, visit @pdxrisingtide on Twitter and Facebook.

Salem, OR: Pipeline Resistors Disrupt Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s Inauguration

Cross-posted from EF! Newswire

Happy inauguration day Governor Kate Brown! We are in Salem to demand you #walkyourclimatetalk this year by stowing up with frontline communities to #stopJordanCove.

Pipeline Resistors Disrupt Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s Inauguration

[SALEM, OR] — Activists with Southern Oregon Rising Tide interrupted Governor Kate Brown’s inaugural State of the State address this afternoon to demand the Governor direct state agencies to deny the proposed Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and fracked gas pipeline. Following the Governor’s swearing-in ceremony, the activists unfurled a large banner reading “Hey Kate: Walk your climate talk. Support the frontlines, stop the pipeline.”

At the same time, more pipeline resistors gathered on the front steps of the Capitol building with large banners calling on the Governor to live up to her promises to take strong action on climate change.

“Governor Brown talks a big talk about climate change, but she’s remained silent on the largest fossil fuel proposal in the state and claims it’s a federal decision, not a state decision,” said Alex Budd of Southern Oregon Rising Tide. “Our state has the power to stop Jordan Cove LNG and it’s time our Governor shows up for communities who have been on the frontlines of this project for over 13 years.”

Governor Kate Brown has stated in interviews that Jordan Cove LNG is a federal decision, however, the state of Oregon denied permits and stopped a much smaller LNG export terminal proposed on the Columbia River in 2011. Additionally, the Department of State Lands stopped a coal export terminal by denying the same permit they are currently considering for Jordan Cove LNG in 2014.

Supporters at Governor Kate Brown’s inauguration today were given goodie bags full of recommendations for the Governor to help her live up to her rhetoric around climate change. We know climate leaders don’t build pipelines, but does she?

If built, the Jordan Cove LNG terminal would become the largest source of climate pollution in Oregon and open up fracked gas exports from the West Coast of the United States. A recent report from the research organization, Oil Change International, concluded that the full lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of the project would be equal to over 15 times the Boardman Coal plant, which is set to be shut down in 2020 because of pollution concerns.

“In our region, hotter, drier summers mean longer and more intense wildfire seasons,” said Zac Wilner, a wildland firefighter from Jackson County. “Governor Brown should know that it is unacceptable to permit any new fossil fuel infrastructure, especially an explosive gas pipeline through Southern Oregon’s most fire-prone forests.”

Just last week, thousands showed up to Department of State Lands hearings across Klamath, Douglas, Jackson, and Coos counties to ask the agency to deny ‘Removal-Fill’ permits for the 229-mile highly explosive gas pipeline and mega-export terminal. The DSL who could issue the permit is overseen by the Oregon State Land Board, which is tasked with denying permits that jeopardize Oregon’s clean water and is headed by Governor Kate Brown. Impacted Tribal members, landowners, students, and more expressed concerns around the project crossing waterways nearly 500 times. Construction of the pipeline would risk the clean drinking water of over 150,000 people in Southern Oregon. The final DSL hearing on Jordan Cove will take place tomorrow, January 15, in Salem at the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs, with a rally starting at 4:15pm.

“Our communities aren’t backing down in the face of this project; we will continue to take action to defend water, land, and communities,” said Grace Warner of Southern Oregon Rising Tide.

Southern Oregon Rising Tide is dedicated to promoting community- based solutions to the climate crisis and taking direct action to confront the root causes of climate change. We are based in the mountains and rivers of rural Southern Oregon, with most of our members living on ancestral Takelma land in so-called Jackson and Josephine Counties.

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

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

via Portland Rising Tide

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!”

Oil Train Opponents Blockade Tracks At Port Westward, OR

Oil Train Blockade

Clatskanie, OR—Climate justice activists, local Clatskanie farmers, and oil train opponents from all over Columbia County are blockading the tracks that lead to Port Westward on the Columbia River. The blockade consists of a 20-foot-high tripod of steel poles, its apex occupied by 27-year-old Portland Rising Tide activist Sunny Glover. Any train movement would risk her life, as would any attempt to remove her from the structure. A banner suspended from the tripod reads: “Oil trains fuel climate chaos.” She has vowed to stay as long as she is able.

Donate to help Rising Tide Portland keep blockading!

Massachusetts-based Global Partners ships oil by rail from the fracking fields of the Bakken Shale to the blockaded facility. From there, it is loaded onto oceangoing vessels bound for West Coast refineries. The facility was constructed with public clean energy loans and tax credits to manufacture ethanol in 2008. The owners declared bankruptcy almost immediately, and in a twist of savage irony, it became a crude oil terminal.

“Fossil fuels are catastrophically destructive,” Glover said. “Extraction ravages land, water, and the health of local communities – transport results in deadly explosions, toxic spills and dust – and as they are burned, the Earth is forced ever deeper into immense climate instability. Fossil fuel production is violence, and on an incredibly vast scale.”

Dozens are joining Glover on the tracks. The increase in US oil production in recent years, and the consequent rise in oil train traffic, has outraged a diversity of groups and communities. Rising Tide activists, hoping to deter the most severe effects of climate change, are demanding a rapid dismantling of fossil fuel infrastructure throughout the region and the world. Residents of areas effected by oil train traffic are horrified by the propensity of Bakken crude trains to derail in fiery explosions—a May, 2014 emergency order by the US Department of Transportation describes the trains as an “imminent hazard.” Residents of the patchwork of farms, dikes, and waterways north of Clatskanie are fighting to protect agricultural land and salmon habitat from industrialization.

“When the crude oil trains began rolling through Columbia County, we had no prior warning—not from DEQ, not from the Port of St. Helens, not from the county, and not from the State of Oregon,” said Nancy Whitney. “With the close proximity of our towns, and particularly our schools, and considering the track record of crude oil derailments, my fear is that the potential devastation from leakage or explosion could be astronomical—and it will happen unless these trains are stopped.”

This is the fifth oil train blockade in the Pacific Northwest since June.

“This is only the beginning,” said Noah Hochman. “We will continue to blockade until it is financially, logistically, and politically untenable for oil trains to threaten climate and communities.”