Tag Archives: Portland OR

PROTESTS AFTER MOSIER: Criminal charges dismissed, protesters speak out

Repost from Hood River News

Another voice: ‘The greenest corner in the richest nation on earth’

By Robin Cody, August 19, 2016
A group of protesters block an oil train in Vancouver, Wash., on Sunday. Photo from Inside Climate News, courtesy of Alex Milan Tracy

The fiery wreck of an oil train at Mosier is what galvanized many of us to sit on the Burlington Northern railroad tracks in downtown Vancouver on June 18. Twenty-one protesters, ranging in age from 20 to 84, were repeatedly warned of 90 days’ jail time and $1,000 fines for criminal trespassing. And still, we sat.

Protesters got arrested and briefly jailed. Our legal status remained in limbo until recently, when criminal charges were dismissed.

Now we can talk.

The whole idea — of fracking North Dakota and shipping flammable crude oil by rail through the Columbia River Gorge — is not just a threat to people who live near the tracks. It’s also a violation of nature. It’s a big wrong turn in America’s supposed transition from fossil fuels to renewables.

It’s 2016. About climate change and its causes, the evidence is in. Time is running out. Yet many more tanker loads of climate change could come barreling through the Gorge. The proposed Tesoro Savage Vancouver Energy Project would be the largest oil-by-rail terminal in the Northwest. It would more than double the daily frequency of mile-long oil trains to the Port of Vancouver.

If civil disobedience does any good, it’s in the context of many other groups and individuals speaking out. There were rallies in Hood River and Astoria, tribal action in Mosier, and the alarm expressed by city councils of Vancouver and Portland and Spokane. Columbia Riverkeepers, 350pdx, and many other organizations put the spotlight on industries that contribute to, and profit from, America’s dependence on fossil fuels.

This is about where we live. It would be fundamentally unlike us Cascadians, of all people, to cooperate with big oil’s distant profit.

The world expects the United States to take the lead with climate action. The U.S. looks to California and the Northwest. So here we are, in the greenest corner of the richest nation on Earth. If we don’t step up for the planet, where in the world will momentum take hold? And when we do take a stand, it might really make a difference.

Robin Cody of Portland is the author of “Ricochet River” and “Voyage of a Summer Sun.”

    Tesoro Savage Port of Vancouver report: 28 more oil trains each week; salmon, earthquake, derailment risks, etc.

    Repost from the Seattle Times
    [Editor:  The press is full of revealing information taken from the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) analyzing the proposed Tesoro Savage Vancouver Energy Project.  The document was released yesterday.  Several media links are provided below.  – RS]

    28 more oil trains across state each week if big terminal built, study says

    By Hal Bernton,  November 24, 2015, Updated 11/25/15 9:25 am

    A major oil terminal proposed for Vancouver, Wash., would bring an additional 28 oil trains per week across the state and launch a new era of oil-tanker traffic down the Columbia River, according to a draft state study released Tuesday.
    …but concerns about the risks of oil-train derailments … the study noted that trains also may deliver bitumen — a heavier crude …  [FULL STORY]

    Also see:


      Portland votes to oppose any new projects that would increase the transportation or storage of fossil fuels

      Repost from OPB.org, Portland OR
      [Editor:  Significant quote: Thursday’s vote was the second climate change resolution city commissioners have voted on in as many weeks. Last week, the council voted to oppose projects that would increase oil train traffic in the metro area.   – RS]

      Portland Approves ‘Landmark’ Fossil Fuel Limits

      By Ryan Haas OPB | Nov. 13, 2015 1:45 p.m.
      A large crowd cheered Wednesday night as the Portland City Council voted 4-0 to approve a resolution opposing projects that would increase the number of oil trains traveling through Portland and Vancouver, Washington. Alan Montecillo/OPB

      Portland city commissioners on Thursday voted unanimously to oppose any new projects that would increase the transportation or storage of fossil fuels in the city.

      The vote followed hours of testimony that mostly supported the resolution. Among the people testifying were students, who in recent years have filed lawsuits that asked the federal government, states and cities to take action on climate change.

      Environmental groups praised the move by Portland commissioners as a “landmark,” and the most stringent action taken by any city against climate change.

      Mayor Charlie Hales delivered the final vote for the resolution before the chamber erupted in loud cheers. He said the council’s decision shows a clear commitment to counteract climate change.

      “It feels like things are accelerating,” the mayor said, referring to recent action by the White House and a climate summit earlier this year hosted by Pope Francis. “We have one route through those rapids that are just ahead.

      “The future is not that far away, but if we are aware,” Hales said, “and we steer where we want to go, we can get to a safe and wonderful future.”

      While all of the city commissioners eagerly endorsed the resolution, Commissioner Dan Saltzman noted that the vote took place before a friendly crowd.

      “We still have a lot of work to do,” Saltzman said. “It’s easy to proselytize among ourselves and feel a sense of excitement in the city hall chamber that’s packed with advocates. But when you step outside, we have a real world that needs to be persuaded and convinced.”

      Thursday’s vote was the second climate change resolution city commissioners have voted on in as many weeks. Last week, the council voted to oppose projects that would increase oil train traffic in the metro area.

      That was a largely symbolic vote, however, because the city doesn’t have jurisdiction over railways.

      Both resolutions are a response to the rapid expansion of fossil-fuel development nationwide and numerous oil train accidents in recent years.

      Vancouver Energy Project wants to build the nation’s largest oil-by-rail terminal at the Port of Vancouver. If completed, it would ship an average of 360,000 barrels of oil daily to refineries along the West Coast.

      While opponents to the resolutions were greatly outnumbered, they urged the commissioners to consider how limiting fossil fuels in the region could hurt jobs.

      “I wish the people in this room had the same passion for income inequality as they have for fossil fuels,” said electrical worker Joe Esmond at least week’s hearing.