Coal & Oil Newsletter

November 2018

Dear Activists,

Initiative 1631 did not pass, as you know. The Portland Clean Energy Initiative did pass! From their website: Our initiative is Oregon’s first ever community of color-led environmental ballot measure, with core leadership from the African-American, Native American, Latinx and Asian-Pacific Islander communities. The culmination of years of capacity building partnerships between organizations of color and the philanthropic community, PCEI signals the arrival of a new inclusive climate movement that can win elections in Portland, in Oregon and nationwide.  Read more about the initiative.

1631 was a wide and deep coalition as well. Why didn’t it pass? There are of course, several opinions. Virtually everyone agrees that the almost 32 million dollars spent by big oil and others on the No on 1631 campaign was a major reason. (The Portland Clean Air Fund also had opposition by companies such as Amazon, Walmart, Comcast and Fred Meyer). But big oil spent a lot of money against initiatives in the West.  I will have more about all of this next month because a few items need our attention this month.

The first is a fax (this is how the Canadian government set it up) to the NEB or National Energy Board of Canada about the remaining 74 southern resident pod of Orcas.  The Canadian government is re-doing an environmental assessment on the Trans Mountain pipeline. A court ruled the government had to do this or walk away from the pipeline. Orcas face a serious fight for survival. New oil tankers in Pacific waters if the pipeline is built, are one of those threats.  This link was set up just for Lands Council Activists to send a fax. You will not be added to anyone’s list by taking action. Please do this by November 20.   When you click the link a letter will come up for you to sign that will then be faxed. Also at the link are talking points and more information.

The second item is a comment needed on the proposed fracked gas-to-methanol refinery in Kalama, Washington. If built if will the  largest in the world. You can learn more about this proposal and make a quick comment here  on the supplemental environmental review.

And Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, will be in town on Thursday, Dec. 6 for the American Exploration and Mining Association’s annual meeting at the Spokane Convention Center. He is giving the keynote lunch address from 12:15 to 2:15 on the 6th. Just FYI!

Finally, read more about orcas here, on how orca researchers are stressed and depressed.

As always please email me to unsubscribe, comment or ask me a question.

Sincerely,

Laura Ackerman
Energy Program Director
The Lands Council
Spokane, WA 99201
lackerman@landscouncil.org

October 2018

Dear Activists,

I hope your fall is colorful. I am sure it’s very busy with full speed ahead on various campaigns. The Lands Council is a 501©3.  We cannot endorse candidates but we can work on legislation and initiatives. I have been spending some of my time on Initiative 1631. That is the carbon fee (not a tax) on fossil fuel polluters. A fee is designed to go to a specific resource and cannot be used  generally, like a tax can.

The opposition to I-1631, almost 26 million dollars (the most ever spent in Washington State) comes from the Western States Petroleum Association and the big oil companies.  See the press release at the end of this newsletter for more information on that.  I bet we can all come up with ways for big oil to better spend that 26 million!

YOU CAN CANVASS FOR 1631!! I know it’s the season of Halloween, but canvassing is only a little bit scary!  You won’t be alone, and you will be trained. Your fellow citizens are often happily surprised to learn more about I-1631 when you show up on their doorsteps.  It’s an impressive act of civics to canvass!  And Vote.  Vote Yes on 1631 and ask your friends to Vote Yes on it, as well.  A very easy way to do this is with the privacy protected Voter Circle.

Some of you have no doubt read or heard the criticisms of I-1631.  At the bottom of the newsletter is a response to those criticisms.  And this is a great read on that as well:  Next Tuesday at noon, tune into Earth Matters Now on KYRS, 88.1 and 92.3 FM. Or live stream at www.kyrs.org to listen to Spokane Yes on 1631 organizer, Jennyfer Mesa, talk about the benefits to residents of 1631. Also, today at 1 pm on KYRS’ SOS show, Dr. Lamont Worden  of 350 Spokane will be talking with Paul Potocky about I-1631.  You can go listen to the podcast if you can’t listen live. Go to the show title, SOS on kyrs.org   And listen to Nick Abraham, Communications Director for Yes On 1631 podcast on KBOO’s recent Locus Focus report on 1631 HERE

Other information you should be aware of is below:

Scoping comments on the proposed Newport Smelter are due this Friday, Oct. 26. Go here to submit them, and learn more here and here  (scroll down to the Oct. 9 post).

Six members of the Spokane City Council support 1631. Read their letter which you can find on The Lands Council Blog.

 One of The Lands Council’s Fellows, Dimitar Dimtrov of Sofia, Bulgaria is having a Bulgarian Culture Night on August 12.  You are invited. You can get more information on Facebook. Our other Fellow, Khusniddin Alikulov from Shirin Town, Uzbekistan is scheduling one soon so please keep checking the TLC Facebook page. We share Khusniddin with the City of Spokane. They have been most generous in doing most of the hosting.

 Want to read more on 1631? Read the posts at the bottom of this newsletter and go to Yes on 1631  and Sightline  And climate change is a health issue.

Yes, you can still register to vote:

1: Make sure your registration is up to date– enter your information here to check. You can still register to vote in person by Monday, October 29th at a local county elections office if you are a new Washington state voter.

2: Registered at an old address or didn’t receive your ballot? Contact your local county elections department immediately.

3: Get your vote counted – make sure your ballot is postmarked by Tuesday, Nov. 6th or returned to an official ballot dropbox by 8pm on Nov. 6th. Remember, no stamp is required to vote by mail OR dropbox this year!

We have all fought over the years to stop more fossil fuel facilities being built for many, many reasons. But a fee on carbon is crucial and we can do that by voting Yes on 1631.  Recently  a lottery has had a pot of over 1 billion dollars. Someone has won.   But millions were spent buying lottery tickets. It’s hard not to. Did you buy one or a few?   Why can people spend a few dollars on a lottery ticket (and most often for a lot less money than the mega-pot) but not vote yes on an initiative like 1631?  Buying lottery tickets regardless of pot size is not exactly the perfect way to put some money in your wallet, yet people do it consistently.  If 1631 passes, we are ALL winners in Washington State, even those who don’t think they are. We will benefit, and mostly our young people will benefit. In part, 1631 is like the proverbial tree that is planted by a person who will not live to sit in its shade.

Email me or call me if you want to talk more about 1631. lackerman@landscouncil.org or 509 209.2404. To unsubscribe or talk about anything else, please email me or call me.

 

Laura Ackerman
Energy Program Director

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WA State PDC Confirms: Out-of-State Oil Money Against I-1631 Officially Most in State Election History

Campaign has raised nearly $26 million, 99% coming from oil companies including BP, Valero, Koch Industries, Phillips 66, Chevron, Andeavor (Tesoro)

 OLYMPIA 10/22/18 — Today, ‘No on 1631 (Sponsored by Western State Petroleum Assn)’ broke the record for most money ever raised in a Washington state election. State Public Disclosure Commissions records confirm it has surpassed the previously record holder ‘No on I-522’ that opposed the labeling of genetically modified food in 2013.

To date, No on 1631 has raised $25,827,179.90, 99.5% from out-of-state oil companies. Top 5 contributors to No on 1631 are BP, Phillips 66, Andeavor (formerly Tesoro), American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, and Valero Energy Corporation. (Top of the list – BP $9,556,000).

“Big Oil thinks they can buy this election by flooding our airwaves with misleading ads that lie to voters,” said Abigail Doerr Campaign Manager for Yes on 1631. “But Washingtonians know better. Out-of-state oil companies are just trying to protect their billion-dollar profits at the expensive of our health and our kids’ future. The truth is, 1631 is a sensible step to protect our air and water and improve our children’s health. I-1631 will hold the state’s largest polluters accountable and invest in proven strategies to reduce pollution. It will expand clean energy while reducing energy costs and creating tens of thousands of jobs across our state.”

Oil companies are also investing consultant and lobbyist staff time directly into the opposition campaign. Expenditure records show 310 BP employees have expensed staff time against the initiative. Phillips 66 added additional staff time for “outreach, banner install, and envelope labeling.”

No on 1631 small donations (under $200) from individual Washingtonians have come from just 9 residents.

In total the Yes on 1631 campaign has raised $12,527,964 with over 2,500 individual small donors. To date, over 5,000 Washington residents have volunteered for the campaign’s field outreach program.

 

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Yes on 1631 is endorsed by over 350 organizations representing labor unions, communities of color, environmental and clean energy advocates, health professionals, tribal nations, and faith organizations as well as over 200 local businesses including industry leaders like Microsoft, REI, Virginia Mason, and Vigor Industrial, making it the largest and most diverse initiative coalition in state history.

I-1631 would charge a fee on our state’s largest polluters and invest in reducing pollution, cleaning up our air and water, and making clean energy more affordable for more people.

To learn more about the initiative please go to https://yeson1631.org/learn/

See a comprehensive list of all endorsements at https://yeson1631.org/endorsements/

We always knew this election was going to be close. All indications say every vote is going to matter.

Now that we’ve been inundated by Oil Industry ads for months many of you are having near constant conversations with your friends, family and colleagues about I-1631.

I’ve put together some tools and facts that I think you’ll find helpful in this email. We’ve also put together 1631Facts.org to respond to these lies.

Remember the #1 thing that moves voters is reminding them that our coalition involves groups like the American Lung Associaton and Nature Conservancy who care about reducing pollution, whereas our opponents are multinational oil companies spending $25 Million to avoid accountability for their pollution. 

As always, the best way to help win this election is to knock on as many doors as you possibly can!

  1. Our response to the Seattle Times Editorial:
    The Seattle Times wrote a very disappointing editorial against I-1631 which reads like an oil industry commercial. Here is our response

“The Seattle Times ed board does not believe that Washington can be a leader on tackling the problem of climate pollution. We believe that Washington can and must be a leader on this issue. I-1631 is a smart, practical first step to addressing pollution, written by the largest and most diverse coalition in state history. I-1631 is endorsed by over 400 organizations, and by papers including The Olympian, The Tacoma News Tribune, The Everett Herald, The Lewiston Tribune and the Stranger. We are confident that voters agree it’s time for Washington to lead.”

Hot Tip: Send your friends and family the Olympian’s excellent endorsement of I-1631.

  1. Responding to Cliff Mass’s weather blog
    Local blogger Cliff Mass has allied himself firmly with the oil industry against I-1631. Cliff’s criticism of I-1631 is unfounded and seems largely based in bitterness from 2016’s debate over I-732. There are two great responses to friends and family concerned about his opposition.First, nearly every one of Cliff’s colleagues at the UW, as well as Nobel Prize Winners and UN IPCC Authors from Washington have signed an open letter supporting I-1631. Remind your friends and family that Cliff is FAR outside of the consensus of the scientific community and speaking about matters FAR outside his expertise.

Second, his old allies at CarbonWA have written a point by point rebuttal to his spurious claims. and reiterated their support for I-1631.

  1. The Biggest Polluters in the world are fighting I-1631 because they ARE NOT exempt
    It’s somewhat ironic that the Fossil Fuel companies responsible for about 71% of the world’s climate pollution are trying to point fingers to avoid accountability. I-1631 is a smart, balanced policy about reducing pollution, but $25 Million of ads talking about “exemptions” have planted doubts with some voters. When responding to this spurious argument be sure to point out:

– I-1631 was written by groups that care about reducing pollution like the American Lung Association and the Nature Conservancy. The biggest polluters in the state, and in the world are spending record amounts ($25.8 Million) to lie to voters about I-1631 because they don’t want to be held accountable for their pollution. They certainly are not exempt.

– I-1631 covers 80% of Washington’s Climate Pollution and ENSURES that Washinton’s only coal plant will stop burning coal by 2025.

– I-1631 is a smart plan that ensures that when we need steel, aluminum, and concrete to build new clean energy we are using Washington companies and Washington workers to do it. That means we are allowing more people in Washington to share in the clean energy economy.

  1. No On 1631 Commissioned a study by the same firm the Tobacco companies used to cast doubt on the health impacts of smoking.
    No on 1631 is sending out millions of mailers citing a “NERA Institute” study they paid for. The NERA Institute gained infamy when the Tobacco industry paid them to put together reports downplaying the health impacts of smoking. They have also gone on record saying that sometimes the air can be “too clean for optimal health”.

NERA is a discredited, unreputable firm that cannot be trusted. The NO Campaign’s other ally “The Washington Policy Center” is a right-wing think tank funded by the Koch Brothers. The Koch Brothers have contributed $550,000 to the NO campaign so far.

  1. I-1631 has strong accountability mechanisms.
    The No campaign tries to scaremonger by saying that an “unelected board” will be spending I-1631’s revenue with no oversight. That’s a direct lie.

The Washington Constitution gives the exclusive power of the purse to the legislature. I-1631 sets up a board of experts and community leaders appointed by the Governor who will evaluate proposals and put together recommendations for the legislature to vote on. The board will work with the Departments of Commerce and Ecology to regularly conduct public evaluations on the effectiveness of the program.

Experts and community leaders making recommendations to our elected representatives and evaluating their progress? That’s reasonable good governance. Good governance groups like the League of Women Voters and the Washington Budget and Policy Center, as well as our Attorney General Bob Ferguson have proudly endorsed I-1631.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has a good explainer on this and other arguments here.

Additional Resources:

The campaign’s communications team put together this great FAQ that’s on every canvasser’s clipboardCheck it out here.

Puget Sound Sage does a great job breaking down exactly how I-1631 works in this blog post. 

Focus on people who are genuinely confused or undecided, not folks who outright oppose
This is going to be a close election and we won’t be able to persuade everyone. Pick your battles, don’t worry about persuading every person you talk to. Focus on the folks who are actually confused or undecided not folks who are leaning against us. I know it can be hard, but it’s how we’re going to win!

Remember if you need specific help you can always email our Deputy Communication DirectorJack@yeson1631.org

We have 12 days left. Let’s win this thing!

Sincerely,
Ahmed Gaya
Field Director, Yes On 1631
YesOn1631.org
4347 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105
206-535-6617 (office)

September 2018

Guess what day it is dear activists?  It’s the 21st day of September!  The song was released 40 years ago by Earth, Wind and Fire. So it’s Earth, Wind and Fire Day!

We have had an Earth, Wind and Fire summer!  What are we going to do locally about global warming?  Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Support Initiative 1631 which puts a $15.00 fee on one metric ton of carbon. You can canvass for Yes on 1631, training included, and here’s a list of  local canvassing events. Want to know more about Yes on 1631? It’s right here!  Did any of you know about global warming in 1978?
  2. Learn more about the City Council overriding the Mayor’s veto on creating a Sustainable Action Committee and committing to 100% renewable electricity.
  3. Read what else the city is doing on sustainability

Questions, unsubscribe, or comments? Email me at lackerman@landscouncil.org

 

Laura

Laura Ackerman
Energy Program Director

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Shawn Vestal’s great column in the Spokesman-Review this morning:

Spokane wise to join push on climate

As nations waffle, world’s cities take action

When the City Council overrode the mayor’s veto of new climate change standards for the city, it put Spokane into the right zone.

The “non-state actor zone for climate action.”

Like London, Paris and Tokyo.

Like Austin, Portland and Boulder. Like Washington, Connecticut and California.

Like more than 600 cities around the world that have adopted clean-energy goals to fight climate change, according to CDP, an international organization that works with small governments and large businesses to reduce their carbon footprints.

Like the 2,500 cities committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions that the United Nations tracks by different metrics. Like more than 2,000 businesses who’ve done the same.

On climate change these days, the nonstate actor zone is where it’s at.

But that’s only because bigger actors in bigger zones have been so soundly asleep at the wheel.

So, yes, it’s good that the city has joined the zone – good because it sets the important goal of the city’s shifting to all renewable energy by 2030, good because it does not quibble or quarrel with bad-faith arguments about the state of the science, good because it recognizes that Spokane is collectively responsible for lots of energy use and can make a difference.

It’s good because it answers the following proposition correctly: Can’t Afford To vs. Can’t Afford Not To.

And it’s good because – despite the concerns that the city’s new law will bankrupt us all – it created a structure that would require fiscal analysis and City Council votes before concrete changes. The law sets a goal and creates a commission to find suggestions to reach it.

It will not paint the city into a corner, and it will force a public accounting of specific proposals. It does not commit the city without recourse or compromise to unforeseen, arbitrarily skyrocketing costs – costs that critics seemed to have pulled out of the air.

So, that’s good, too. But it has to be acknowledged that, in global terms, what’s going on in Spokane – and all the other small governments in the zone – is chiefly making the best of a lousy situation.

Because the story of small government action is the story of big government inaction. The story of small government action is also one of impacts that can be very hard, if not impossible, to measure, which makes them easier to undercut.

It’s just the fact: In the absence of a committed global response – with American political leadership that has evolved from 30 years of head-in-the-sand denialism to a White House that now actively sabotages climate action – the fact that “subnational” governments are left to carry the ball is a sign of larger failure.

The Economist published a lengthy investigation of the small government response in its current issue. Its conclusion: “In principle, subnational governments could play a big role in combating climate change. This is particularly true of cities. Roughly half the world’s population lives in them, and that proportion is forecast to rise to 70 percent by mid-century.”

But the record of success on such individual efforts is patchy and hard to measure. Many governments have set goals that lack monitoring or reporting requirements, and others set goals – like Spokane’s – that are targeted toward shifting to green energy and not necessarily tied to some promise of a specific local impact. These efforts don’t produce nice, simple numbers that measure progress.

This vagueness operates as an opportunity for opponents – the grounds on which arguments are made for ignoring the climate problem and Chicken-Littling the costs. That’s a problem. But even if individual efforts by the members of the zone can be hard to quantify, there is reason to believe they add up to considerable progress.

The Under2Coalition is an international organization of more than 220 state and regional governments committed to a certain set of actions, a network of combined projects that it predicts could eliminate 15 billion to 21 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. That’s enough to set a course for meeting even the goals of the Paris Agreement, which the U.S. has abandoned.

That would be truly significant collective action by governments that represent 43 percent of the global economy.

Local efforts to combat global problems might not be ideal. The most optimistic voices still regard it as a problem that small governments can’t solve alone.

But that’s where we are at this point, and it’s good that Spokane – with its new goals for clean energy and its ample protections against the future uncertainties – has joined the zone.

CONTACT THE WRITER:

(509) 459-5431 shawnv@spokesman.com

August 2018

Dear Activists,

I hope your lungs, eyes, and ears and not too smoke-filled!  Virtually every community in the state has experienced smoke from wildfires in our state and other states, and even from other countries. If you are curious about wildfires in the United States visit the National Interagency Fire Center .  It’s located in Boise, Idaho. The U.S. as of yesterday has 103 active, large Fires. 9 of them are in Washington State. The site is updated every working day.   Take a look at Inciweb, too.

Wildfire smoke threatens health of those near and far

More than 100 wildfires are blazing through parts of the western United States, including one in California that has grown to become the largest fire in the state’s history.

Wildfire season is a great time to remind us of our work to reduce fossil fuel use. A really important way to do that is to come to the Spokane City Hall on Monday, August, 20, 2018 at 6 pm and testify in favor of the  Sustainability Action Commission Ordinance (C35668) which would enact a new chapter of the Spokane Municipal Code.  The Commission will be tasked with several duties and functions, number two being to “develop, as part of updating the Sustainability Action Plan, an action plan to achieve 100% renewable energy for the city of Spokane’s community electricity supply by no later than 2030, while identifying any economic, regulatory or technological challenges involved in attaining that objective.”

Listen to an interview about the Ordinance on Inland Journal on Wednesday. Read the Spokesman Review Story by Kip Hill at the end of the newsletter.

Here is a  Link to agenda and full ordinance language (see page 82 of agenda).

And for more information about the meeting and writing council members if you can’t make it,  please visit 350 Spokane for all the latest updates of the ordinance.  Please support the City Council on this effort on their Facebook page.

And, Another Victory. Millennium water quality permit denial upheld! In another setback to the proposed Longview coal project, a state board Wednesday upheld the denial of a key water quality permit for the Millennium Bulk Terminals project.

Also, below is a really interesting report from Christine Clark about an oil leak in a rail car. A HUGE THANK YOU TO HER FOR REPORTING THE LEAK! The words are hers: On August 14. 2018 at 1030 a.m., while stopped at West Hamilton Rd and  North Road intersection, I observed a leaking oil tank car in the Burlington Northern southbound Kettle Falls Turn-around Train at Marker 23.  I followed the train to the Denison-Cedar  rail crossing to verify what I saw, a shiny leaky stripe on the black tank car from the dome to the wheels. I phoned 911 to report a leaky rail car. I was transferred to a fire district dispatcher. I contacted Burlington Northern by their toll-free phone line. By the time I connected with BNSF, their Emergency Services had been notified by a Fire District of a leaking oil tanker car. The BNSF contact #:1-800-832-5452: Ext 1.Christine did the right thing and she called the Department of Ecology as well!  DOE is on top of the report. If you see an oil spill or leaky car, please call 1-800-OILS-911

Thank you so much, again, Christine, for reporting this problem!! We will keep you updated on this story as necessary.

Next month I will introduce the new Fellows from the State Department. This is the second year in a row that The Lands Council has hosted Fellows, who are in a professional development program, and come to the U.S. to learn new skills. We learn much from them, too.

Dimitar Dimitrov is from Sofia, Bulgaria and Khusniddin Alikulov is from Shirin Town, Uzbekistan. They will be here until the end of the November. Khusniddin is also hosted by the City of Spokane. We are very grateful to them for their generous time in supporting Khusniddin’ s learning experience while here in Spokane.

Wishing us all clean breathing air as soon as possible! If you would like to unsubscribe from this newsletter or have any questions or comments please email me at lackerman@landscouncil.org.

 

Laura

Laura Ackerman
Energy Director

May, June, & July 2018

Happy (Almost) Summer,  Activists.

I will be in the far North of Canada for the Summer Solstice on June 21. I may get a chance to look at the Oil Sands in Alberta as well.  Some of you may know a lot is happening with the second proposed Kinder Morgan Pipeline. The Canadian Government is buying it out, and the deal seems to include the Puget Sound Pipeline that services the four northern refineries in the Sound.  Here are some stories on the news: Governor Inslee’s response   Reuter’s coverage   Safe Energy Leadership Alliance’s Facebook page Response  Stand Up To Oil and coalition partners response  is at the bottom of the newsletter.

And what is up with the proposed coal terminal in Longview? It’s gone through the whole EIS process and the State of Washington does not want it built. Lighthouse Resources, the parent company of the terminal has filed a federal  lawsuit and you can read about it here. BNSF, along with the states of Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Utah, South Dakota, and Kansas have also filed as “friends” on behalf of Lighthouse Resources.   BNSF by the way, is represented by the former Washington State Attorney General, Rob McKenna.

And we don’t want an open pit coal mine in King County! Submit your comment here  Pacific Coast Coal Company is trying to reopen an old coal mine near Black Diamond, WA.  They need a stormwater permit approval from Washington Department of Ecology.

The second bridge project over Lake Pend Oreille, officially called the Sandpoint Junction Connector Project, is in a bit of a holding pattern. I testified in Sandpoint on May 23 in a hearing held by the Idaho Department of Lands.  And  I will be back to testify if the Unites States Coast Guard, who is the lead agency, has a public hearing there. I will let you know via Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper and Idaho Conservation League when the next opportunity for engagement comes up.

And please keep your eye on fracked gas in Washington State and Oregon: Learn more here

I will be away most of July from the office to rest my slightly injured arm. In August, The Lands Council will have two new Fellows via the State Department. Some of you may remember Rahma Benyoussef from Tunisia who worked with me last year for four months. This year, we have been asked by IREX, the non-profit that runs the State Department’s Community Solutions Program, to host two Fellows as they are called. They arrive in early August, and will leave after Thanksgiving. I am their supervisor and you will be meeting them via this newsletter and at TLC and other functions. We are very much looking forward to hosting Dimitar Dimitrov from Sofia, Bulgaria, and Khusniddin Alikulov from Shirin Town, Uzbekistan. Khusniddin will also be working with the City of Spokane in partnership with The Lands Council.

If you have any questions or comments or want to unsubscribe please email me at lackerman@landscouncil.orgPLEASE SIGN THIS PETTION TO GET THE YES ON 1631 INTITIAVE ON THE BALLOT. Follow the link for information. This is only for Washington State residents who are registered voters.  It puts a $15 per ton fee on carbon.  You can connect with the local organizer, Jacob Johns, to volunteer and sign the petition.

In solidarity,

Laura
Laura Ackerman
Energy Director
The Lands Council
25 W. Main Ave. #222
Spokane, WA 99201
lackerman@landscouncil.org

 

 

 

May 29, 2018

Stand Up To Oil Coalition and Partners Respond to Canadian Government Plan to Nationalize the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Project

Despite widespread opposition to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, which would bring in 890,000 barrels of crude oil per day across Canada and out through the international Salish Sea waters in oil tankers, the Canadian government announced today that it will buy the pipeline in an attempt to guarantee its construction. By nationalizing this project, the Canadian government is taking on the risk of a massive construction project and pipeline that just this past weekend spilled oil.

In response to this announcement, the Stand Up To Oil coalition and partners released the following statements:

“This is not the energy future we want to pass on to our children,” said Stephanie Buffum, Executive Director of Friends of the San Juans. “Canada’s purchase of this pipeline and vessel traffic expansion with a high risk of oil spills threaten the economies of British Columbia and Washington State that depend on our healthy coastal and marine ecosystems and maritime industries.”

“This decision by the Canadian government prioritizes the oil industry above all others, including Washington’s vibrant fishing and community-based economies,” said Rebecca Ponzio, campaign director of Stand Up To Oil and Climate and Fossil Fuel program director at Washington Environmental Council. “Here in Washington, we will continue to support our Canadian partners to protect our shared water, climate, and communities.”

“This pipeline project would pose a critical threat to our coastal communities and climate, and it is outrageous that Justin Trudeau is ignoring the enormous public outcry in opposition to this project in order to prop up the tar sands industry,” said Sierra Club Pacific Northwest Campaign Representative Stephanie Hillman. “We stand with First Nations in continued opposition to this dirty, dangerous pipeline project.”

“This multi-billion dollar bailout flies in the face of indigenous rights, climate sanity, and even basic economics, but it does not shake our movement’s resolve. Resistance on both sides of the border is growing every day. We will stop this pipeline with the power of the people.” – Kurtis Dengler, Mosquito Fleet

Joanna Schoettler at 350 Seattle says: “Who will benefit from the pipeline? Not the First Nations, the orcas, those who farm or fish, or tourism! It’s only good for your stakeholders pockets for a bit. Eventually it wouldn’t be good for you either. You’ll have blood on your hands for destroying the Salish Sea. Who is going to pay for the tragedies?”

“In nationalizing this ecosystem-destroying pipeline, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has ignored the threats to the Salish Sea, its marine species, and its 8 million people, including 29 Tribes and First Nations,” said Marcie Keever, oceans and vessels program director at Friends of the Earth US. “Trudeau choose community- and climate-destroying tar sands oil over the long-term health of the Pacific Northwest’s people, climate and orcas. Shame on Prime Minister Trudeau for siding with Big Oil and taking on a pipeline which will likely bring about the extinction of the Northwest’s iconic killer whales and drive us further towards climate disruption.”

“As health professionals, we have grave concerns about the increased volume of tar sands oil this project would move through our region. Oil spills have toxic repercussions for human health, especially for coastal residents, communities who subsist on fish and shellfish, and cleanup workers. Crude oil exposure during spill and cleanup increases the risk of neurotoxicity, cancer, lung disease, loss of cognitive function, and endocrine disruption in humans. This is an unacceptable risk to our communities.” – Laura Skelton, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility

“With a hostile Trump government on all issues related to climate change and the need to decrease our fossil fuel consumption, Americans have looked to Canada for environmental leadership in North America — and now Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has failed us. The sonic impacts alone from the projected sevenfold increase in tanker traffic from this pipeline are enough to potentially wipe out Washington State’s endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales — in addition to guaranteed impacts on climate, treaty fishing rights, and Indigenous communities. This is a bad deal for the US, and a bad deal for Canadians.” – Matt Krogh, Extreme Oil Campaign Director, Stand.earth

“Woe, Canada. Buying out a risky and harmful project that is opposed by Canadians and Americans across the continent is a non-democratic leap backwards.” – Kristen Boyles, Earthjustice.

“That the government in Canada who campaigned on climate leadership is making a major investment in fossil fuel infrastructure is incompatible with a livable planet and would hurt the people of the Pacific Northwest. The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion threatens the extinction of the Southern Resident Killer Whale and jeopardizes the thousands of local jobs that depend on clean coasts. It also would worsen the effects of global warming. The 2011 World Energy Outlook explained that by 2017 we must not invest in new fossil fuel infrastructure if we are to avoid irreversible global warming. It is now 2018 and the people in Washington state that supported the water protectors at Standing Rock are now mobilizing to stop the expansion of tar sands by stopping the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.” – Derek Hoshiko, Pacific Northwest Campaigner for Greenpeace USA

Summary of recent events:

  • January 24, 2012: An estimated 110,000 litres (692 barrels) of crude oil leaked from Kinder Morgan’s oil storage facility on Sumas Mountain in Abbotsford.
  • July 23, 2012: British Columbia outlines 5 conditions that must be met in order to consider heavy oil pipelines within its border, including a world-class marine oil spill response, prevention and recovery systems for B.C.’s coastline and ocean to manage and mitigate the risks and costs of heavy oil pipelines and shipments.
  • May 2016: Canadian National Energy Board recommends approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
  • November 2016: Canadian federal government affirms NEB approval and directs it to issue a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the pipeline expansion; lawsuits immediately filed by Canadian First Nations and conservation groups.
  • January 30, 2018: British Columbia government announces restrictions on the amount of diluted bitumen that can be transported by pipeline or rail until the province can better understand the ability to mitigate spills.
  • April 8, 2018: Kinder Morgan announces a halt to all but essential spending on the Transmountain project and sets May 31deadline for deciding on the future of the pipeline.
  • May 27, 2018: Kinder Morgan facility near Kamloops spills oil causing the existing pipeline to shut down.

Throughout the pipeline’s decades-long existence, there have been numerous consequential and long-lasting spills. The project would result in a 700% increase in tanker traffic through the Salish Sea.

Contact: Gabby Brown, gabby.brown@sierraclub.org

April 2018

Dear Activists,

May is almost here, it’s too warm to be inside writing a newsletter but still, I am here on a Friday typing out a short and sweet one to send out.

If you have not yet made a comment on the second bridge proposal (there are three total that will be permanently built) on Lake Pend Oreille please do so by April 30, which is Monday.

If you are like my self -described gorilla researcher/comment writer friend, David, who lives in Idaho, you can get details to comment  here at Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper’s  website.  If you just want to do this quickly go  here  to the Idaho Conservation League’s website.

BIG HEARING: ​Public Hearing on Proposed Second Rail Bridge:
Idaho Department of Lands will hold two public hearings on BNSF’s proposal to build a second rail bridge across Lake Pend Oreille, a second rail bridge across Sand Creek, and a second rail bridge above Bridge St. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will also take testimony.
Details:
Wednesday, May 23rd at 8:00 am and 6:00pm
Ponderay Events Center (8 am) – 401 Bonner Mall Way, Suite E, Ponderay, Idaho.
Sandpoint Middle School Gymnasium (6 pm) – 310 S. Division Ave., Sandpoint

Please come to this if you live in the Spokane area. Several hundred citizens from Montana and Idaho came to two coal and two oil hearings in Spokane. It’s now time to return the favor.

Also, for May I want to let you know about a couple of fun groups you can join on-line and in person.

Inland NW Sustainable Energy Group on Facebook

Inland NW Environmental Events on Meet

Stand Up to Oil made this video  of the DEFEAT of the proposed oil terminal by Tesoro-Savage at the Port of Vancouver.  Local Activist Pauline Druffel is in the video as is City Council President  Ben Stuckart.  WE DID IT!!

 

Great weekend reading:  Coal Health Impact Assessment will go forward for Millennial

How the fracked gas industry plays politics in Washington State, Sightline

Why we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground

If you have any questions, comments or want to unsubscribe please email me at lackerman@landscouncil.org

See YOU in Sandpoint on May 23 at 6:00 pm.

 

Laura

Laura Ackerman
Energy Director
The Lands Council
Spokane, WA

March 2018

Happy Spring, Activists!

It’s almost April and April Is For Activists.

APRIL 9:  Communicating Health: Building your Advocacy Toolbox. WSU Spokane Health Sciences Building, Room 105, 5:00 to 7:30 pm. Sponsored by Washington Physicians For Social Responsibility, The Lands Council, 350 Spokane and WSU Health Sciences Spokane.   Facebook  Sign up

APRIL 14: March for Science. Rally 12:30 PM, March 1:00 PM. Riverfront Park. Facebook

APRIL 23: Hearing on Avista Merger.  1:00 pm Spokane Valley City Council Hearing Chamber, 10212 E. Sprague Ave.   Action Network  350 Spokane

MAY 23: BNSF has proposed a second bridge across Lake Pend Oreille. Two more smaller bridges will also have to be built.   It will be important to come to this meeting and support Idahoans.  Many of the activists there came to our hearings in Spokane. The bridge, if built, will have great impacts on Spokane County.

Public Hearing on Proposed Second Rail Bridge:
Idaho Department of Lands will hold two public hearings on BNSF’s proposal to build a second rail bridge across Lake Pend Oreille, a second rail bridge across Sand Creek, and a second rail bridge above Bridge St. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will also take testimony. The United States Coast Guard (lead federal agency) has been invited, but has not confirmed if they will attend and take testimony.

Details:
Wednesday, May 23rd at 8:00 am and 6:00pm
Ponderay Events Center (8 am) – 401 Bonner Mall Way, Suite E, Ponderay, Idaho.
Sandpoint Middle School Gymnasium (6 pm) – 310 S. Division Ave., Sandpoint

Talking points for letters and where to send them   Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper

A link for a quick click to sign on  Idaho Conservation League

Wild Idaho Rising Tide

Also, keep your eye on the YES on 1631 Campaign, which is an initiative for a $15 ton fee on carbon.  For more information jacob@yeson1631.com. Facebook

 

Finally, for some spring reading at the bottom of this newsletter is an Op-Ed from the Columbian on the Tesoro-Savage win. And if you are or are not familiar with the Valve Turners, you may like to know about the case of Michael Foster  who is spending time in the North Dakota State Penitentiary. If you would like to write a letter of support to him send it to: Michael Foster #51974, North Dakota State Penitentiary, PO Box 5521, Bismarck ND 58506-5521.

And it’s not too late to come to The Lands Council Auction, Saturday, April 7 from 5:00 to 9:00 PM at the Spokane Convention Center! Register here

If you would like to unsubscribe or have questions or comments please email me at lackerman@landscouncil.org. I am out of the office next week and spending time with my kids on their spring break.

Get out and get some sunshine! It’s the start of good biking and walking/jogging weather.

Laura

Laura Ackerman
Energy Director
The Lands Council
Spokane, WA

In Our View: Terminal Legacy

Oil terminal plan’s demise defines county as forward-thinking community

Published: March 6, 2018, 6:03 AM

It is difficult, after more than four years, to come up with the proper words to mark the demise of a proposed oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver. From the public, from elected officials, from the Editorial Board of The Columbian, many thoughts and many emotions have been spilled in discussing and debating the issue.

Therefore, we are left with these: The oil terminal is dead, long live the oil terminal.

While that ancient proclamation traditionally has been used to mark the passage of one king and to herald the ascension of a successor, we shall use it for another purpose: To note the passage of the proposal and to celebrate its legacy upon this community. The saga has provided a defining moment for Clark County.

Since coming to the attention of the public in 2013, the idea of the terminal has galvanized a large percentage of local residents in shared opposition. It has forced us to deeply consider what we wish for our community and what we wish to leave behind for future generations. It has led us to take a big-picture view of Southwest Washington and to weigh our strengths while measuring the counterweight that would have been provided by placing North America’s largest rail-to-marine oil terminal near the heart of the city.

In the end, when Port of Vancouver commissioners agreed last week to end a lease with Andeavor (formerly Tesoro Corp.) and Savage Cos., it represented a victory for all of those have taken stock of their community and worked to mold it into their image of a vibrant, growing, attractive city. That includes residents who attended numerous public hearings, those who provided public comment, and those who voted to remake the port’s board of commissioners.

The election of Eric LaBrant in 2015 and Don Orange in 2017 to the port commission signaled the inevitable demise of the terminal proposal, giving anti-terminal forces a majority on the three-member board of commissioners. It also signaled the power of the grass-roots movement that stood in opposition to the terminal, with both LaBrant and Orange being drawn to public life because of that opposition.

When Gov. Jay Inslee last month followed the unanimous recommendation of the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council and rejected an application for the terminal, it became clear that the project’s prospects were minimal. But it wasn’t until last week, when port commissioners and the companies involved mutually agreed to end the lease, that the death knell was sounded.

Long live the oil terminal.

We say that not as a taunt to those who supported the proposal, but in recognition of the power of the people. The process has been a trying one, and yet we are emboldened by the dedication and the persistence of those who recognized that an oil terminal would run counter to an appropriate vision for our community. Stamping Vancouver as an oil town would damage our potential as an environmentally conscious region ready to embrace the economy of the future.

Fighting against deep-pocketed oil interests can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor, yet it was the right thing to do for Vancouver, Clark County, and all of Washington. In the process, we have been inspired by the citizens of this county and we have been informed about the power of peaceful, informed, devoted public engagement. We hope those lessons linger as we all work to create a dynamic, economically energetic city.

The oil terminal is dead. Long live the oil terminal.

February 2018

BYE TESORO-SAVAGE!!! It’s a great day in our state and the NW today. Not only did the Port of Vancouver rescind the lease for Tesoro-Savage’s proposed crude by rail oil facility a month early,  the company itself did not appeal the Governor’s ”NO” decision on building the terminal.  I checked their website, and remember they now call themselves Andeavor, and guess what?  There is no mention of it in their press releases. The press release from SUTO is attached.

In real estate we are told the three most important rules are location, location, location. In activism, the three most important words are Activists, Activists, Activists, AKA, You, You and You!!! It’s been a long campaign, and what has defeated Tesoro has been all of you! Persistence, patience and numbers are the change up; it’s not a magical or secret formula.

So here is what I need you to do if you have not done it:

  1. Thank Governor Inslee for saying no to the proposal. Yes, we made his job easier, but he returned the favor by saying no to Tesoro-Savage. Here is the link to thank him, along with a lot great coverage; You can also send him a snail mail letter to: Governor Jay Inslee, Office of the Governor, PO Box 40002Olympia, WA 98504-0002  Call 360-902-4111
    TTY/TDD call 711 or 1-800-833-6388.

Fax 360-753-4110.  He also is on Twitter and Facebook if you would like to contact him that way.

  1. Look yourselves in the mirror and give yourselves some kudos for being a part of doing good in the world! If none of you had commented, testified at rallies, showed up at rallies, had yard signs or phone banked it could have likely been a different ending. Here’s a little light reading about how great you all are .
  1. Please donate to the Stand Up To Oil matching fund via The Lands Council. SUTO will receive $20,000 from a donor if the members of the coalition can match that $20,000. Each dollar that each coalition member raises goes to the member organization. The Lands Council keeps all the money we raise for this matching fund.  thelandscouncil.org Consider donating on behalf of a friend or loved one as a nice gift to them and The Lands Council.

The methanol refinery and lateral pipeline proposal in Kalama, WA needs some comments and  please do it by tomorrow, March 1,  via The Columbia RiverKeeper.

If you have questions or comments or would like to unsubscribe please email me at lackerman@landscouncil.org

 

Stay Vigilant,

Laura

Laura Ackerman
Energy Director

December 2017

Dear Activists,

So much has happened this year it’s hard even for me to keep track of all of it. There are just a few things I want to bring to your attention this last newsletter of 2017.

The Tesoro-Savage crude by rail terminal saga is almost at an end. The Governor should be making a decision in early 2018. Spokane was the site of a scoping hearing Dec. 11 of 2013 and then a DEIS hearing  Jan. 14 of 2016. More than 250,000 comments were received on the DEIS.  Under EFSEC proceedings, an adjudication hearing was held and public meetings for some permits were also held. Finally in Nov. of this year the FEIS was

published and on Dec. 19 EFSEC sent its recommendation to Governor Inslee. The council unanimously voted to recommend that Tesoro-Savage, officially known as VEDT or Vancouver Energy Distribution Terminal,  not be built.

Right now, the process is in reconsideration. That is, parties to the proposal can ask EFSEC to reconsider. Once that has resolved, then the Governor gets to decide. I will keep you up to date on all of that, but for right now, you can read the decision by EFSEC. You should all be very proud of all the work you have all done to stop this facility in writing comments, testifying, coming to rallies, LTES and so on. Whew! It paid off, and that comes through in the 101 page report by EFSEC to the governor.

I have read the report and  here is one highlight: Pages 46 and 47:

“Spokane has concerns that the VEDT will increase risk of derailment along the portion of the corridor that traverses the length of Spokane and runs directly through its urban core, primarily on elevated track, creating unique consequences in the event of a derailment, and raising the possibility that even derailing train cars that do not release oil or lead to fire can have significant public safety implications. Spokane asserts that increased demand on emergency responders and gaps in preparedness due to higher traffic density are likely. Spokane also notes that the rail line crosses a number of wellhead protection zones and is close to the Spokane’s two largest public water wells, which produce more than half of Spokane’s supply.

The Council agrees that the VEDT will increase risk of derailments in Spokane. Spokane is particularly at risk of a derailment because the rail corridor is on elevated track through its urban core, raising the possibility that an intact derailed train could nonetheless cause significant impacts to life, health, and property. As to Spokane’s water supply, the Council finds that there is a risk of contamination, although the risk of contamination may be lower than in Washougal because the Spokane wellheads are deeper. Both these risks impact local community interests.”

I have other highlights that I have cut and paste, and if you would like to see that brief document instead of reading the report please email me and I will send it to you. Also, here is the Stand Up To Oil Press Release about EFSEC’s recommendation.

We are having an rally on Thursday, January 18 at 1:20 pm to support EFSEC. The site is still being determined. You will get notification and here is the Facebook page. 350 Spokane is a co-sponsor.

Cowlitz County has released a Health Impact Assessment on the MBT (Millennium Bulk Terminal) coal exporting facility in Longview.  Read an article here.  And you can make a comment by Friday, Jan 5 by 5 pm at the Columbia Riverkeeper website . Also Power Past Coal has a press release .

And finally, here is a fun story from DeSmog Blog about a 12-year old bet on global warming about to pay out . As always, if you have questions or comments or would like to unsubscribe, please email me at lackerman@landscouncil.org  or 509 209.2404.

Happy New Year and don’t forget to come to the rally on Jan. 18!

Laura

November 2017

Dear Activists,

I HATE to have to tell you this, but we have had ANOTHER VICTORY!  The Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) on November 28, unanimously voted to  recommend to Governor Inslee that  the Tesoro-Savage oil facility NOT be built!

Some of you were at both hearings  held in Spokane for the proposed facility at the Port of Vancouver.  The process has taken over four years.  Your patience is so appreciated.   Many, many thanks to all of you who showed up at the hearings and made comments orally or in writing!  The Spokane area will not be forgotten; we are a collective voice heard above the rumble of trains on railroad tracks!

AND, AND…  Cowlitz County DENIED  the shoreline permit for the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminal at Longview.

So what is next for  the Tesoro-Savage Proposal?

  1. The EFSEC will meet on  Dec. 19th to discuss  their decision and a written opinion will occur and be
  2. Delivered to Governor Inslee on Dec. 29
  3. That will trigger a 20 day reconsideration period in which key players could ask EFSEC for a reconsideration. If that happens, it could be up to 60 days for that process.
  4. When reconsideration is over the Governor has 60 days to make his decision; yea, nay or  a conditioned yea.
  5. His decision could end up in the Supreme Court of Washington State.

More info will  be given in my December newsletter. But please write an LTE to your local paper supporting EFSEC’s decision. The Spokesman-Review, The Inlander, The Cheney Free Press and The Valley Herald are just a few of papers you can write to.  Email me for talking points if you need help.

My Tunisian intern, Rahma Benyoussef, is leaving on Dec. 4 to head back home and apply her work here, to a project in Tunisia. If you want to hear more about her time here please check out this podcast from November 28th. It’s only up for two weeks. I will miss Rahma. We have learned much from each other. It was so enjoyably to have such a different perspective from someone who lives and works on energy issues, half way across the world.

And here is the podcast  of the radio show on KYRS I did with the four members of the Water, Wind and Fire Tour on Nov. 16.  We are lucky to have KYRS, our own community radio station, in Spokane and beyond. My radio show, which I co-host with Mike Petersen, is called Earth Matters Now. It’s on Tues. at noon on 88.1 and 92.3 FM on KYRS. We talk a lot about fossil fuels and clean energy on the show.

I think Stand Up To Oil and Power Past Coal would do well  in Las Vegas as far as odds. And that is because of all  of you!  As FDR once said, “Government is ourselves.”  If you have any questions or comments or want to unsubscribe please email  or call me. 509.209.2404.  Thanksgiving is over but my thanks to you will be forever.

 

Happy Holidays,

Laura
Laura Ackerman
Energy Director
The Lands Council
Spokane, WA
lackerman@landscouncil.org

October 2017

Happy Halloween Activists!
Fossil Fuels are one of the scariest things on the planet.  If we don’t stop using them I am certain all of you can create your own scenario of what the suffering and pain will feel like. Here is just one of many stories on climate change and mental health.  And of course, there will be plenty of physical changes. See the six maps here on what Americans think about climate change.

Here are four key things to attend, listen to or be aware of for November.

1.Tomorrow, Halloween, at noon on KYRS’ Earth Matters Now program is a discussion with Jim Lee and Breean Beggs on Proposition Two. Noon to 1 pm. 88.1 and 92.3 FM. Or stream live at KYRS  Podcast for two weeks after the show airs. It’s a live show. Join me and Mike Petersen for the interview. For more info on Prop Two go to Safer Spokane or Facebook

2. The Avista Integrated Resource Management Plan Hearing: Washington Utilities and Transportation Committee – Avista’s IRP
Start: November 08, 2017 – 1:00 PM
End: November 08, 2017 – 3:00 PM

Spokane Valley City Hall
10210 E. Sprague Ave.
Spokane Valley, WA 99206

AND the Avista General Rate Case:  Utilities and Transportation Commission – General Rate Case
Start: November 08, 2017 – 6:00 PM
End: November 08, 2017 – 8:00 PM

Northeast Community Center
4001 N Cook St.
Spokane, WA 99207

For more info  Avista still uses coal in its energy mix.

3. Water, Wind and Fire Tour: A presentation and community conversation about how we can strengthen the economy in Eastern Washington and sustain our health, farms, forests, and fish amid a changing climate.

4:00-5:30 pm Health and Climate 7:00-8:30 pm; Saving Farms, Forest and Fish. WSU-Spokane, Student Academic center, Room 20,  600 N. Riverpoint Blvd.   For more info This tour is in several cities in e. Washington and Sandpoint, ID!

4. Finally, The Department of Natural Resources denied a permit for Millennium Bulk Terminal’s coal exporting proposal in Longview, WA again. OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) rejected a key state approval for Millennium’s proposed coal export terminal in Longview, Washington. In its decision, DNR cited Millennium’s failure to obtain multiple permits, inconsistencies in their site plans, missing critical information, and the overall best interest of the state as reasons for the denial. Because DNR manages state-owned aquatic lands, including the Columbia River, Millennium needs DNR’s approval to build new docks and dredge the river to make room for massive coal ships. Columbia Riverkeeper. See the Columbia Riverkeeper Facebook post for Oct. 25.

As of today there is no public  recommendation or FEIS (both would come from Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council or  EFSEC)  on the Tesoro-Savage proposed oil facility at the Port of Vancouver, WA

Do you have questions or concerns or want to unsubscribe?  Email me at lackerman@landscouncil.org

Sincerely,

Laura

Laura Ackerman
Energy Director
The Lands Council

August 2017

Hi, Activists.

It’s August and the start of school is lurking around the corner. Soon the page of summer will be turned into autumn although someone hasn’t told the month of August it’s supposed to be cooling down. It’s kind of like Exxon NOT telling the public that they knew of global warming and the fossil fuel connection since 1979. Check out this study by two Harvard researchers.

So much has been happening in August it’s hard to fit it all in.  Read up on the coal train spill in western Montana. Shannon Williamson, Matt Nykiel and Helen Yost, all great activists from Idaho have been there as well as others. So check out the Facebook and web pages of Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper, Idaho Conservation League, Wild Idaho Rising Tide, and Northern Plains Resource Council.   And Power Past Coal has a link to it.

Here is the latest on the proposed Tesoro-Savage facility at the Port of Vancouver. Tesoro has changed its name to Andeavor.

Please read the attachment about my energy intern from Gabes, Tunisia, Rahma Benyoussef. She wrote her own bio and what she is going to do while with me, just for this newsletter.  Rahma’s native language is Arabic and she also speaks French. It’s been very fun and educational to have her here. Tunisia was ground zero for the Arab Spring. You will be seeing Rahma with me at various functions and hearing from her, too. She’ll be on my radio show at some point which is Earth Matters Now (co-host is Mike Petersen) Tues. at noon on KYRS. 88.1 and 92.3 FM.

I really need help from all of you to vote for Stand Up To Oil  in the Credo Donations Campaign for August This is a Northwest born and raised non-profit, and some of my funding comes from SUTO. I am on the SUTO executive committee and it’s important to have an east side voice. We have, together, defeated four oil terminals, one oil refinery and one refinery expansion. Not bad considering the fossil fuel business is one of the biggest in the world! You have to Midnight, Aug 31 to vote.  Please vote for SUTO  .  If you have voted please ask your friends and family to vote.  Crude oil is not in the plans for Gray’s Harbor, any longer.  That is the work of Stand Up To Oil which is all of us across the Northwest!

Happy Labor Day weekend to you all! Thanks for all your labor in the journey to a cleaner planet.

Laura and Rahma
The Lands Council
Spokane, WA

As always, email me if you would like to unsubscribe, or have any questions or comments. Several links to articles follow for your reading pleasure.

 

Shirtless BNSF coal train rider ticketed in Cheney

Substance in crude oil harms fish hearts, maybe humans, too.

In our view, speed up EFSEC process, The Columbian

Astoria, Ore., opposes proposed Vancouver oil terminal: City council resolution cites Vancouver Energy project, has broad scope

Take a stand on coal pollution gorge Commission      

 Judge blocks 176 million ton coal mine expansion in Montana

Astoria opposes oil project

June/July 2017

Dear Activists,

I hope you are staying cool.  Here is an interesting article from Mother Nature Network on air conditioning. I don’t have it in my 1911 farm house but the builders of my farmhouse were wise about how my house was built to maximize cooling. I am back from a very hot vacation in the Southwestern United States with my family, and back to work.

It will be hot on Monday, July 17 at 6 pm I am predicting. So a good place to hang out will be the cool City Council meeting and give your testimony in support of a draft ordinance that states that human-caused global warming exists. The ordinance if passed as written will  require the city to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30% below the 2005 baseline level by the year 2030.  Read about the ordinance here . Technically the ordinance adopts the City of Spokane’s Sustainability  Action Plan which they started working on in 2008. On page 41 of the city’s Advanced Agenda  you can read more about it.   Also, 350 Spokane has an event

Facebook page for the hearing. It’s really important to be at the hearing in support of the ordinance. You can email all of the city council members at citycouncilmember@spokanecity.org  if you can’t make the meeting.

If you have not done this please tell the Department of Ecology to deny the 401 certification for the proposed coal exporting facility at Longview, WA The comment period closes on July 27.

Just a few great things (as usual) have happened in the last month and a half and here are some highlights: The Pacific Northwest is Proving Grassroots Action Against Fossil Fuels Can Work . You are all a part of the action so THANK YOU!

In June the Washington Supreme Court rejected the Port of Vancouver’s interpretation of the Open Public Meeting Act.  The Port violated it by have closed-door meetings before entering into a lease with Tesoro-Savage. Here is the decision and here is the announcement from Columbia Riverkeeper.

In case you missed it, Andy Van Hees , Millwood City Councilman, and Arlene Burns, Mayor of Mosier, Oregon had an op-ed    in the Spokesman Review a while back. The one year anniversary of the  Mosier oil train derailment and fire was June 3, 2017. I went to Mosier for that day  and it was a great reminder of how lucky Mosier was to stay intact with no lives lost.  We have to continue to work on stopping fossil fuel transport!

This newsletter is  a quick summer read with just a bit of homework so again, please come tomorrow night to City Council or email the council in support of the ordinance. Please make a comment

to the Army Corp on the proposed second bridge over Lake Pend Oreille. And again, by July 27, sign your name to this alert to ask that the 401 certification be denied  for the proposed Longview coal export facility.

As always, if you have questions or comments please email me at lackerman@landscouncil.org. And if you wish to unsubscribe please email me at the same address.  You will hear again from me in August. Thank you all for your perseverance and dedication to stopping fossil fuel transport in the Inland Northwest!

 

Laura Ackerman
Energy Director
The Lands Council
Spokane, WA

More summer reading:

Columbia River Oil Train proposal
Protest Energizes Oil Event
Sacrifice Zones

The Oil Movement by Rail and Pipeline Notification rule requires the Department of Ecology to publish information collected under the rule on the agency website. The quarterly reports include:

  • Aggregated information about crude oil transported by rail to facilities in Washington
  • Information about crude oil movement by pipeline in or through the state
  • Reported spills during transport and delivery of crude by rail and pipeline
  • Volume of crude oil transported by vessel

The quarterly report for the period April 1 – June 30, 2017 is available at https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/SummaryPages/1708013.html.

For questions, please contact Jack Barfield at (360) 407-7483 or Jack.Barfield@ecy.wa.gov or Kim Morley at (360) 407-7040 or Kim.Morley@ecy.wa.gov.

Nation Building by the Spokane Tribe. Solar at Wellpinit
Microsoft Boots Colstrip

May 2017

Happy End of May, Activists!

On May 31 the first electric railway opened at the Berlin Trade Expedition: In 1879! You all know what year it is now and we are still  trying to kick the fossil fuel habit, and it’s the WHO (World Health Organization) World No Tobacco Day today, too. There are similarities between the pro-tobacco and pro-fossil fuel industries. Below are some highlights of how those of us against fossil fuels are kicking butts:

I was in Olympia on May 11 (see the attached photo. I am wearing a pink raincoat) to help many of my fellow activists deliver to the governor’s office almost 1.5 million signatures against fossil fuel facilities and transportation. Check out The Lands Council’s FB page for photos and links.  Thank you to the hundreds of you here in the Inland Northwest who signed petitions, wrote comments and attended hearings!!

The one year anniversary of the UP oil train derailment in Mosier, OR is Sat. June 3rd in Mosier. I will be at this event. It starts at Noon and here’s the link for the details. You are all invited to show up. The train to Mosier went through Spokane.

And if you are a hearing junkie (and yes, I do know a few public hearing junkies) go to Vancouver on June 7 for the air permit hearing before EFSEC (Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council)  from 1 pm to 9 pm at Clark College.  Can’t make it?  You can find out more about it and submit an online comment.

My colleagues  to the west and north are also fighting the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline and this video is very informative. What Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline will mean for B.C.’s coast and  www.stand.earth has more info on Kinder-Morgan.

SW WA and NW OR are in the throes of proposals for more than coal and oil, and you can learn about methanol in Kalama, WA (the world’s largest refinery if approved) and an ammonia  plant in Longview. And there is a potential oil-by-rail  tank storage expansion in Clatskanie, Oregon.

The Millennium Bulk Terminal’s proposal on coal in Longview  is still trying to raise its ugly head. But it will go down.  Read more about Coal’s Collapse

The Whatcom County Council is working to permanently block new unrefined fossil fuel projects and crude oil exports. They passed the latest step in doing this on May 16.  The council is using the county’s Comprehensive Plan to protect natural resources to do this. A blog  from Stand. earth from a few months ago gives you more background.

Summer is loading up and as John Steinbeck said in his Travels with Charley, “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”  My kids are looking forward to the sweetness of no exams, no homework, and sleeping in.

I hope your June is sweet and as always please let me know if you want to unsubscribe,  or have a comment or question. lackerman@landscouncil.org
Laura

Laura Ackerman
Energy Director
The Lands Council
25 W. Main Ave. #222
Spokane, WA 99201
509 209.2404

April 2017

Greetings, Earthlings!

Some of you may be tired of dodging potholes for recreation and so I thought, this month of Earth Day and April Showers-soon-to-be-May flowers, I’d give you a  list of events happening in the near future.

So get out into nature and exercise those muscles; and to an event, and exercise the activist in your soul!

Era Of Megafires

Co-hosted by The Lands Council and Vaagen Bros. – May 4th at 6:30 pm at The Bing Crosby Theater.

Megafires, wildfires over 100,000 acres, and the destruction caused by them is a serious and growing issue to our region. Our communities, homes, businesses and our very way of life are threatened. If we are going to make effective progress towards increasing fire resiliency, we must increase awareness and stimulate conversation about this important issue across all levels of society/ https://landscouncil.org/event/era-of-megafires/

I have free tickets to this event. Please email lackerman@landscouncil.org for more information on getting tickets.

Earth Day Spokane 2017: http://www.earthday.site/  The Lands Council is not organizing Earth Day this year. ED is at the Pavilion in Riverfront Park.

People’s Climate Rally April 29th at noon at “The Tribal Gathering Place” just north of City Hall. https://www.facebook.com/peoplesclimatespokane/

The Science March at 1pm on April 22 at The Clock Tower in Riverfront Park: www.facebook.com/events/1241601615915889

Solutionary Rail Presentation with Bill Moyer of Backbone. May 3rd 5-8 pm, Community Building Lobby, 35 W Main. RSVP to amy@backbonecampaign.org.  For more information call Amy, 206.408.8058. Listen to a radio interview with Bill by Mike Petersen on KYRS’ Earth Matters Now. Tues. May 2 at noon. 88.1 and 92.3 FM. This is also a show I co-host with Mike, but I am out of town this day on TLC business.

Safer Spokane’s Proposition 6. They will be announcing the number of signatures they have at 7:00pm on April 22. This is to put Prop 6 on the fall ballot. www.facebook.com/saferspokane

If you would like to do some prep work for The Lands Council’s tree planting on Earth Day, we are having a session on Friday the 21 at 9:30 am until the afternoon in moving trees, working with fencing and preparing for the planting the following day. We have a few hundred volunteers for the actual planting on Saturday and for this planting we don’t need any more.  But there are many opportunities this summer for watering and maintaining  trees in our restorations areas. Email our volunteer coordinator Katie at kwiseman@landscouncil.org for more information on Friday and tree work in general.

Dishman Hills Conservancy has many events. http://www.dishmanhills.org/Events

If you live in Idaho: Remember when the legislature removed the references to climate change from the Idaho school science standards? Well now is your opportunity to weigh in on recommendations for next year. The online comment period will remain open until April 26th so make your voice heard! Thanks to Jean of 350 Sandpoint for this.

Submit comments here.  
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NKWY556

HEARING TIMES AND PLACES
Coeur d’Alene: 6 to 8 p.m., April 20, Coeur d’Alene Resort Bay One Meeting Room, 115 S. 2nd Street.

http://idahodems.org/news/tell-them-to-add-climate-change-to-science-standards/

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NKWY556

Events at Gonzaga University and Beyond: Thanks to Greg Gordon for this list.

Earth Week April 18th-22nd

Trashion Show

Bags for Bottles

Weigh the Waste Demonstration

  • When: April 18th, 11am-2pm
  • Where: the COG

GSBA Green Fund Fair

  • When: April 19th, 12-1 pm
  • Where: Hemmingson Main Street

Bike-In Movie: WALL-E

BEE Informed-Save our Pollinators

Screening of “More Than Honey

Lights Out Gonzaga

$1 Thrift Store

S’mores and Stars

Rock the Planet

Climb for Climate Change

Earth Day Parade

  • When: April 21st, noon
  • Where: Participants meet up by the Grotto

Greenhouse tour and Seedling planting from Sodexo

  • When: April 21st, 11am-3pm
  • Where: Hemmingson

Lake Arthur Floating Wetland Installation

Spokane River Celebration

  • When: April 29, 2:00-4:00 PM
  • Where: Mission Park

ENVS Senior Project Presentation

  • When: May 2nd, 4:30-5:30
  • Where: Hemmingson 330

Activism – Love Wins: Lessons for Nonviolent Social Change

Wild and Scenic Film Festival, 10 bucks, May 4th  An event by the Spokane Riverkeeper

  • When: May 4th,
  • Where: Garland Theatre
  • Details at: https://www.wildandscenicfilmfestival.org/events/spokane-riverkeeper-2/
  • Justice Lunch Box in the Magic Lantern Theatre – Hangman Creek Film
    April 19, 12:00 – 1:00 pm – Magic Lantern Theatre of Spokane. FREE
    Bring your lunch and join our Spokane Riverkeeper team, Jerry White, Jr. and Jule Schultz, in a screening of the film, Hangman Creek – A Journey, focusing on the issues, challenges, and solutions to the critical tributary of the Spokane River, Hangman Creek. Discussion will follow that will include presentation about the Riverkeeper’s latest water quality findings.
    Info here!

I hope to see many of you at an event. And just as a reminder sometimes progressive events in a community can conflict with other progressive events. It’s important when you are scheduling events to do some checking. Two ways of doing this, but certainly not exhaustive are at Greater Spokane Progress http://www.spokaneprogress.org/events/  and the Community Building Calendar http://community-building.org/   Also, check Facebook pages and websites of non-profits and universities, for example;  https://sites.ewu.edu/Eastern247/calendar/  You can submit a public service announcement about your event to our great community radio station, KYRS at submitpsa@kyrs.org.  88.1 and 92.3 FM on the dial. Next month it’s back to the coal and oil. If you have fossil fuel or clean energy events or news please send them to me for the newsletter.  Please forgive the lack of hyper linking and any events I missed.  I am on a semi-vacation this month. If you have questions or comments or want to unsubscribe please email me.

Here’s to Mother Earth!

Laura

March 2017

Spring Greetings Activists,

The March Lion is a bit reluctant to leave when it comes to rain, but the March Lamb is pushing him along to the month of April regardless of his protests.  The bulb flowers have their green heads above the soil.  My family is canoeing on the vernal pond (the water is deep) next to my house. See the attached photo. We in the INW are tough; snow, sleet, rain, potholes, wind, and flooding  have challenged us.  It’s been an entertaining winter and a great time to watch basketball!  Now it’s time for spring to take the stage and for us to continue our work to defeat fossil fuels. We all need some spring in our activist hearts, and below are some opportunities to do that.

You can still make comments on HB1611 to support more safety for oil transport in our state.  The House Finance Committee took executive action on  HB 1611 and passed it out of committee.  Here is an Investigate NW /Crosscut article from yesterday. Please take a moment to submit a Letter to the Editor or comment on-line. Talking points:

  • Pipelines: The share of crude oil flowing into Washington by pipeline continues to increase and is now higher than has been in 13 years. HB 1611 would ensure that when crude oil pipeline corporations seek to increase capacity, they must go through fair review and public input. We need this accountability to keep our neighborhoods safe from oil pipelines disasters, like the Olympic Pipeline explosion that killed three youth in Whatcom County in 1999.
  • Oil on the Salish Sea: With congress removing the crude oil export ban and the Kinder Morgan pipeline threatening a 700% increase in tanker traffic through the shared waters of the Salish Sea, Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands are at greater risk to an oil spill than ever before.  HB 1611 directs the state to adopt rules to protect Puget Sound from this growing risk, including addressing under regulated barge traffic and improves the transparency and decision making if an existing facility changes from importing crude oil to exporting oil.
  • Spill prevention:  The state has a $4 million funding shortfall for oil spill protections. Ecology is on the front line in responding to spills, along with putting in place the key elements to prevent a spill in the first place.  Local areas, like Mosier, OR where an oil train derailed and caught fire in June 2016, are not prepared to address an oil spill disaster. HB 1611 would establish reliable and stable funding and close the gap in oil spill prevention, response and preparedness.
  • Urge our state legislators to act now to protect our communities, our waterways, our natural resources and our economy by voting yes on HB 1611.

Read a great LTE by Washington Physicians For Social Responsibility’s ED, Laura Skelton here in the Seattle Times on HB1611.

Just in case you are curious about  how much solar you have at your house for solar panels on your roof can go to the solar roof link . Here is information on  Keep WA Solar Strong  on solar legislation, HB1048, that TLC supports.

Earth Day is coming up on April 22. Here are two links to the Science march at 1 pm on the 22nd and the Climate rally on April 29th at Noon.   Here is the Facebook page for the Science march. Contact Rebecca MacMullan for more info on the People’s Climate Movement Spokane  and to volunteer at ashen10@gmail.com.  And Earth Day Spokane has a website.

Here is some good news about fossil fuels and the comp plan in Whatcom County .  You can make some quick comments on the Tesoro DEIS for its refinery in Anacortes on what they call the “Clean Products Upgrade Project.”  This proposal is to produce and export xylene, a flammable petro chemical used to make plastics and synthetics.  You can learn more about it and make a comment on it here.  The links below are to articles on coal and its decline. And there are links to groups in the Inland Northwest working on climate change issues and stopping fossil fuels. And a few other spring nuggets for your reading pleasure are there as well.

I am out of the office all next week on spring break with my teenagers. And I have limited time in the office in the rest of April as well. You may or may not see a newsletter from me. If you need to get a hold of me email is still the best way as I will be reading it all of April while on a semi-vacation. I may not be in range for email or phone calls April 1 to April 7.  Join The Lands Council’s April Showers Auction on April 8 at 5:00 pm at the Grand Hotel downtown Spokane.  It’s not too late to come!

Activism, like basketball, is always a team effort.

 

Laura
Laura Ackerman
Energy Director
The Lands Council
lackerman@landscouncil.org.

 

Zero Employment Impact in Trump’s New Energy Policies

Port of  Vancouver Commissioner Brian Wolfe won’t seek reelection

Press statement from SUTO and PPC on Trumps EO to expand fossil fuel expansion                                                                                                                      Northwest Energy Coalition

Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) Protecting the Environment

Montana Environmental Information Center

Kootenai Environmental Alliance

350 Sandpoint

350 Missoula

Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper

Waterkeeper Missoula

Safer Spokane and Proposition 6

Direct Action Spokane Right To a Healthy Climate

Judge says environmental groups can intervene in Millennium dispute

City of Vancouver Ends NuStar’s oil by rail plans

Why the rollback of the Obama coal rules won’t do much for coal

February 2017

Dear Activists,

Spring will come and it doesn’t hinge on the shadow of a groundhog or who is in the White House. And many activists around the Northwest are working hard to continue stopping fossil fuel facilities and working on other “projects.” I for example, am making comments on the BNSF and UP oil spill contingency plans. If you are an insomniac, call me, and I can put you to sleep!

Meanwhile here is an update of the proposed Tesoro-Savage oil facility at the Port of Vancouver in the form of an Op-Ed by former Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council Director, Jim Luce.

Contanda (formerly Westway) is in a waiting pattern but the citizens there don’t let the Hoquiam Council forget they oppose it and are at City Council meetings frequently. Sometimes the best way to resist is not protesting (but that can be a viable action) in the streets; it’s showing up week after week and reminding the decision makers you are there and not going away. Vigilance (the condition of being watchful and alert, especially to danger) is an under-appreciated practice. I have seen many proposals denied because of vigilance. Here are just two examples.

The links at the bottom have some great articles about the state of coal in the U.S. I am asked about this often, now that Mr. Trump is president. Check the stories out for yourselves.

And finally, it’s legislative time. I am working along with many others on getting HB 1611 passed: Protecting Washington from Crude Oil. You can find out about it and other environmental priorities bills by going to the weekly “Hot List.” If you have questions about 1611 email me or Rein Attemann.

I will be working on another energy forum likely scheduled for May. This winter (and hey, we need a good runoff), has made it harder to get to events. If you are interested in what is going on in the progressive community see the [http://www.community-building.org,/]calendar at the Community Building, and the Greater Spokane Progress Facebook page. Wild Idaho Rising Tide, and Idaho Conservation League are two great places to find out more information about their work on coal, oil and climate in Idaho. And Northern Plains Resource Council in Montana has a page on their legislative work on oil and gas and clean energy.

As always, let me know if you have questions, comments or want to unsubscribe at lackerman@landscouncil.org. And next month, more links to other organizations and events.

Resistance is NOT futile!

Laura

Laura Ackerman
Energy Program Director
The Lands Council
509 209.2404

An update on Union Pacific’s plan to expand at Mosier

Navajo-Generation station harbinger of closings to come

China is now three years past peak coal

From the Philadelphia Inquirer: America first by way of renewables

January 2017

Happy New Year, Activists.

It is a little hard to begin this newsletter post inauguration.  Already there is much work to be done, but many hands make light work as an old saying goes. It is the heavy hearts of some of my activists that I sympathize with and try and encourage them to continue our work.  Lend an ear if you find someone needing to talk.

We will always have work to do and as Khalil  Gibran says, “Work is love made visible” so let’s give the environment a bit of love, and get on with it.  We can start with Washington State legislation and for that I recommend you go to the Environmental Priorities Coalition and learn and make comments on legislation there.  In particular take a look at HB1611.  The Ecology bill that has the barrel tax increase, HB 1210 is important to learn about as well.

There is also a bill Senator Andy Billig is sponsoring on slowing down the speed of trains carrying hazardous materials in certain urban areas. You can find more about it on his website.

The Department of Ecology has now produced its first report on aggregate oil transportation in our state. You can read the report on their website.

Please be aware of Proposition Six here in Spokane that makes it a requirement to cover coal trains and requires oil stabilization for oil trains coming through downtown Spokane. Safer Spokane initiated and is running this campaign, and you can find more information on their Facebook page.

There are victories, too, in January. One is that the departing Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Peter Goldmark, denied the tidal lands sublease for a loading dock for the proposed Millennium Bulk Coal Terminal in Longview. www.powerpastcoal.org has more information.  The other is that the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that the Ocean Resources Management Act (ORMA) applies to the proposed Contanda crude-by-rail facility in Hoquiam.  This likely renders Contanda (formerly Westway) dead. Read the press release here and see the cut and paste story at the end of this newsletter.

Also many of you got the alert below from  the PPC/SUTO campaign on SB5171. This bill still needs comments and you can do that by following the link in the alert I cut and paste. It had a hearing Tuesday that went very well and the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Ericksen, R. of Ferndale didn’t even show up to listen to those opposed to it. Many Sovereign Nations representatives showed up to testify against it, however.

Finally, there is a lot of good news on clean energy. Those stories get posted on this Facebook page. Join us there please. And, check out the renewable energy bill, HB 1048 Promoting a sustainable, local renewable energy industry through modifying renewable energy system tax incentives and providing guidance for renewable energy system component recycling.

Sponsors: Morris, Fitzgibbon, Fey, Hudgins, Tarleton

If you have comments or questions or wish to unsubscribe please email me at lackerman@landscouncil.org.

Resistance is NOT futile!

Laura Ackerman
Energy Director
The Lands Council
509.209.2404

December 2016

Holiday Greetings Activists.

This newsletter normally comes out at the end of the month, but because of the holidays,  I wanted to get it out sooner. I am hanging at home with  my teenagers starting on Monday, the 19th and back on the  2nd.

Before heading off, however, I wanted to send you a few updates.  We are still waiting for a decision by EFSEC (Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council) on the proposed crude by rail facility called Vancouver Energy (AKA Tesoro-Savage) in Vancouver, WA. We expect it the first part of next year.  Meanwhile there has been a public hearing on the storm water permit for the facility.

The proposed crude by rail facility in Hoquiam, formerly called Westway, now called Contanda,  needs a Substantial Shoreline Development Permit (among other things) and that decision is still pending. The FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement) is completed but is without a Record of Decision.

Remember I asked  activists to make a comment on the proposed coal facility at Longview that we needed an HIA; Health Impact Assessment on that facility? That draft will likely be out in mid March and maybe even coincide with the FEIS.  Speaking of Longview,  over a  quarter million comments were sent to the Department of Ecology for the SEPA process .

So here is the ask:  I need all of you to send out two old fashioned holiday cards, you know, the types with envelopes and stamps and actual cursive English (printing is acceptableJ), to outgoing commissioner of Public  Lands, Peter Goldmark, and Incoming commissioner of Public Lands, Hilary Franz.

Why?  Because the commissioners need to issue a sublease to use an existing dock to build  the coal terminal at Longview, AND a permit to build a new dock. Those two places on the Columbia are on our public lands. Please send them a personal card asking them to deny the sublease and the dock.  Everything you need to know is in the attachment. Then please email me and let me know you have done it.

Some elected official (I have heard it was FDR but have not been able to verify it) once said, “You elected me to do a job, now make me do it.”    That’s why we need cards to  Mr. Goldmark (who is from eastern Washington) and Ms.  Franz. Ms. Franz has said publically she is against coal export. I know Hilary personally,  and I know she cares about eastern Washington.  I am sure she’d love to hear from all of us.

Next month there will be updates on the UP rail plan expansion at Mosier, the BP Cherry Point Refinery, and 2017 legislation. We will have work to do next year and activists garner the strength for that in many ways. I have an English professor/writer friend who once told me he “doesn’t need no stinking inspiration” to get things done. He just needs a deadline.  I can give all of you plenty of deadlines! But some of you like a bit of inspiration, too. I chose some quotes from presidents since 2017 will be like ____________, fill in your own word(s). Please share any of your thoughts/feelings about the next year with me. It will help me organize better.

Below are links for you to find out more about the great partner groups in North Idaho and western Montana I work with. Plus here is one story on the great land use victory in Portland  on fossil fuel facilities, and an article on the potential new Secretary of the Interior from Montana, Ryan Zinke.   The Kinder Morgan Pipeline Expansion stories are below.

And once last thing; please give me suggestions for a better name for this newsletter. It’s a bit boring according to my teenagers. Most of the time I just need a deadline to get things done, like my aforementioned friend. But sometimes I need some inspiration too, and I need yours for a better newsletter name.  If you have any questions or comments please email me and if you would like to unsubscribe please let me know.

A big thanks to all of you who came to the Crossroads/Clean Energy Forum on Nov. 30. I will have more forums on clean energy in 2017. Check out the story on the Cheney historic rail depot below my contact information as well. I have much gratitude for all the Cheney activists working to save that lovely station. Cheney has a special place in my heart. It is a vulnerable rail community, and my kids go to school in the district.

Stay warm and be cozy this season.

Laura Ackerman
Organizer and Oil Policy Director
The Lands Council
25 W. Main Ave. #222
Spokane, WA 99201
509 209.2404
lackerman@landscouncil.org.

 

Depot deal a step nearer
New location found for historic Cheney station
By Mike Prager

mikep@spokesman.com, (509) 459-5454

The historic Northern Pacific Railway depot in Cheney is a big step closer to being moved and saved.

The Cheney Depot Society has purchased a residential lot at First and I streets.

At the same time, a group of investors has offered adjacent land to the west as a donation.

The effort to save the 1929 Spanish mission-style depot dates back at least two years and has been spearheaded by community leaders.

BNSF Railway, which owns the depot, has been holding onto it to give the community time to come up with a plan.

“It’s a pretty big step forward for us,” said Cheney City Councilman John Taves, who is also a society board member.

Society board member Bonnie Eccles said, “There is still a long way to go.”

The chosen site for relocation sits right next to the state-owned Palouse River and Coulee City Railroad, which is operated by the private Eastern Washington Gateway Railroad.

Because the location sits next to the state-owned tracks, the depot could eventually be brought back to life with an excursion run from Cheney to Reardan and back.

The new Inland Northwest Rail Museum was opened earlier this year right alongside the same state-owned feeder line about 2 miles west of Reardan along U.S. Highway 2.

The rail line, which has been undergoing state-funded restoration, mainly hauls grain and is linked to a new grain loading terminal north of Four Lakes and Interstate 90.

Taves said the society envisions dinner trains, which will offer sightseeing, food and a look through the rail history of the Inland Northwest, probably both at the Cheney depot and at the museum near Reardan. Dr. Peter O. Hansen, who grew up in Cheney and practices medicine in Alaska, has offered up to $500,000 if the society can come up with matching money dollar-for-dollar, Taves said.

The residential property next to I Street was recently auctioned to the society for $48,000.

The adjacent commercial site is assessed for property taxes at $86,700. Hansen agreed to apply the value of the donation as matching money, Taves said.

The investment group that owns the commercial property is made up of Lynda Gumnick, Robert Paetz and Gary Geschke.

Both properties will need environmental investigation to determine whether they have any spilled petroleum or other contamination. If so, they would need to be cleaned up.

Moving the old depot will be a challenge. The building will have to be cut into three pieces and then reassembled at the new location, Taves said.

Gus Melonas, regional spokesman for BNSF, said that the company had been considering demolition of the old depot, but wants to make it available to the community and is willing to wait for the plan to develop.

“We certainly understand the historic significance,” Melonas said.

A train passes the 1929 train station near downtown Cheney on May 21, 2014.

JESSE TINSLEY jesset@spokesman.com

Thanks to all my partner groups below!

Idaho Conservation League
Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper
Wild Idaho Rising Tide
Kootenai Environmental Alliance
350 Sandpoint
350 Missoula
Waterkeeper Alliance, Missoula
Northern Plains Resource Council

 

On the Kinder Morgan Pipeline Proposal:

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/quebec+mohawk+chief+22we+27re+looking+unrest+many+areas/12470963/story.html

http://www.coastprotectors.ca/

http://ktvl.com/news/local/a-washington-state-senator-aims-to-protect-the-state-from-oil-spills

  

Mosier:

Mosier Oil Train Derailment Costs Near $9 Million

October 2016

Happy Halloween Activists,

I have a few treats for you this newsletter!  The first one of course, that many of you know about, is the pull out of Shell Anacortes’ attempt to get crude-by-rail to their refinery. They changed their minds about going this route and pulled their permit.   The Stand Up To Oil campaign was geared up to organize three public meetings  in November, now we have a bit of free time.  But the organizing structure will still serve us well in Skagit County since it has two refineries, and Whatcom County has two more. Stand.earth and Re-Sources for Sustainable Communities opened a field office in Mt. Vernon to educate citizens about the Shell hearing proposal. Now they will continue to work to educate residents there about oil. Both groups are a part of SUTO: Stand Up To Oil, as is The Lands Council.

Here is the press release from Stand Up to Oil regarding Shell rescinding their permit.   Congratulations, activists, you have helped defeat a multi-national, multi-billion dollar company!  At the bottom of this email please see Vancouver activist Don Steinke’s famous list of defeats. We are winning the transition off of fossil fuels to renewable energy. It is a journey like many things in life, and you will get more information on this later, but for now please put on your calendar to attend a forum on clean energy and just transitions at Gonzaga University at 7 pm on November 30.

The Westway terminal proposal in Gray’s Harbor  meanwhile still needs attention by making a quick comment to the City of Hoquiam to deny the Shoreline Substantial Development Permit which you can do here.  This needs to be done by November 19!  Read the LTEs in the Daily World about oil in Gray’s Harbor at the end of the email by firefighters Jim Appleton of Mosier and Randy Marler of Spokane. The activists there really appreciate the support from other parts of the state.

Another important and easy action to take is to make a comment against the UP rail expansion at Mosier, Oregon, the place of the derailment and fire back in June of this year. The Wasco County Board of County Commissioners are holding a public hearing on November 2 about this expansion so please go here to make a quick comment.

This headline, ” BNSF Could Be Held Liable If Coal Spills Proven” is very significant.  Keep your eyes on this developing story.  I will have an update next month. The Spokane Riverkeeper and other groups are a part of this legal action. A big thanks to the Spokane Riverkeeper and the Center for Justice for their work on this!  They are on Facebook of course. Spokane Riverkeeper has a fundraiser on November, 4.  Join me there at 5 pm at Hamilton Studios.

Associated Press

SEATTLE – A federal judge in Seattle has found that BNSF Railway could be held liable in a lawsuit claiming that coal spilled from trains pollutes waterways if environmental groups can show at trial that such discharges actually occurred.

Ruling in the case brought by seven environmental groups against the railroad, U.S. District Court Judge John Coughenour said Tuesday that coal particles and dust that fall directly into waterways from passing trains are “point sources” of pollution under the federal Clean Water Act.

However, Coughenour declined to immediately find BNSF liable for any violations, saying significant facts remain in dispute. He denied requests from both sides for summary judgment and set the case for a Nov. 7 trial.

Seven environmental groups sued the railroad in 2013, arguing that it violated federal environmental law by allowing its trains to discharge coal and other pollutants into Washington state rivers and waterways without a permit.

BNSF spokeswoman Courtney Wallace said Wednesday the company is confident in its legal arguments and that its coal-loading rule eliminates most coal dust issues at the mines and throughout the region.

Hundreds of uncovered trains carrying coal from Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming traverse Washington state each year. The trains carry coal to export terminals in British Columbia, Centralia, Washington, and other locations. More trains are expected if a proposed coal export terminal is built in Longview.

The Sierra Club, Spokane Riverkeeper, Friends of the Columbia Gorge and others allege that coal chunks and coal dust fall off BNSF trains through holes in the rail cars, when coal trains encounter rough tracks, or get blown from open-top rail cars during high winds or fast speeds.

The groups say they look forward to proving their case about the environmental harm from coal dust.

“This opens the door for the court to see the evidence collected across the Northwest of the impacts of these trains on our lakes and rivers,” said Jerry White Jr. of Spokane Riverkeeper.

The Lands Council and Stand Up To Oil are standing with Standing Rock. You can stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux and call the White House today (844) 591-5889. Ask President Obama to send Justice Department observers immediately and reject the Dakota Access Pipeline. Please keep trying this line as the President is getting a lot of calls about Standing Rock!

There are two other dates to keep in mind and put on your calendars. November 14 is a scoping open house by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers on developing a Final Environmental Impact Statement on the dwindling salmon runs.  The Lands Council supports the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition. This is connected to rail because we want to see more agricultural products in our trains and not coal and oil.  More information will be available on The Lands Council’s website and Facebook pages, soon.

Finally, all of you are invited to the Lands Council’s Holiday Party on December 7 to celebrate the Victory over Shell and to thank you all for your great activism on coal and oil. I hope you can join me. You will learn more details in the November newsletter but it’s at 5 pm at Hamilton Studio in the West Central neighborhood.

If any of you have any comments, questions or would like to unsubscribe please email me. Don’t forget to check out the stories below.

As always, I am grateful for all your support on coil (coal and oil) activism! If you are interested in direct action please see the Facebook Page of Direct Action Spokane. They can also be reached at info@ directactionspokane.org.   Next month I will have links to the groups in Idaho and Montana who are our partners so you can see all the good work they do!

Laura Ackerman
Organizer & Oil Policy Director
The Lands Council
(509) 209-2404

 

 

I am the chief of the Mosier, Ore., Fire District. I was first on scene and the incident commander for the derailment, spill and fire of a Union Pacific oil train in our town last June.

I write in opposition to the Westway Expansion Project.

I speak for my constituents in sharing the horror of our experience — the evacuation of our school which still bears scars, the hellish disruption of weeks of clean-up, the lingering sense of vulnerability. And the fact that we will be known forever as the town that almost got blown up.

If the disaster taught me anything, it is that the risk of transporting oil by rail is simply too great for any community to handle. There is no acceptable level of “safe” when it comes to oil train derailments.

As the City of Hoquiam and the Washington Department of Ecology decide the various permits required for the proposed Westway Expansion Project they would do well to consider the “significant and unavoidable environmental impacts to health and safety if a crude oil spill, fire or explosion occurs.” This wording comes directly from the official Final Environmental Impact Statement.

For those of us living in the Columbia River Gorge, those “significant and unavoidable” impacts are now a reality. The thought of Westway adding to those impacts in our towns and threatening our irreplaceable mother Columbia is unacceptable to us. We hope it is also unacceptable to good people up and down the line.

Jim Appleton

Chief, Mosier Fire District

 

I am the Vice President of the Spokane Firefighters Union.  We represent the 315 professional firefighters that work in the City of Spokane and Spokane Airport, who, in the event of a major oil train derailment in our city, would the first on scene to attempt to mitigate the disaster.

As first responders, we take seriously our duty to protect the lives and property of our communities.  That protection always starts with prevention.  Preventing the rail companies from transporting the highly dangerous fuel through our communities is vital, because these incidents will happen again.  We hope that it does not happen here in Spokane, where these trains rumble through our downtown core several times a day.  But, in the words of John Norman, a giant in the fire service community “Hope is not an effective strategy!”

So we train.  And we prepare.  But most importantly, we must prevent.  And that is what I would call on our elected leaders to do today.  Consider the threat to the citizens of our region in allowing these transports to continue.  

In Mosier we learned that the safety measures implemented since oil trains killed 47 people in 2013 are not enough. Track inspections still missed a catastrophic problem.  Upgraded tank cars still rupture, leak and explode.  Reduced volatility crude still goes up in a fireball and then burns for hours. And the firefighting foam doesn’t work at the temperatures of these fires. There is no way to do safe oil trains.  The risk of these projects cannot be mitigated. It is time to say no to the Westway Terminal proposal that would gravely affect my community, so many rail communities and the people of Grays Harbor.

 

Randy Marler
Spokane Firefighters Union
IAFF, Local 29 General Vice President

Don Steinke’s List of Victories:

  1. Pipeline under Puget Sound, rejected by Republican Governor Spellman 1982
  2. Boardman OR Coal Power – agreements to close in 2020, signed ~2009
  3. Kalama Coal Proposal – abandoned ~ 2009
  4. Centralia Coal Power Plant – agreements to gradually close, signed ~ 2011
  5. Bradwood Landing LNG Terminal ~2011 — gone
  6. Grays Harbor Coal withdrew application — 2012
  7. Warrenton Oregon LNG stopped 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, abandoned April 15, 2016 (a victory that belongs to Columbia Riverkeeper)
  8. Clatskanie Coal withdrew – 2013
  9. Coos Bay Coal – withdrew –2014
  10. Morrow Pacific Coal – rejected by Kitzhaber   — 2014
  11. Longview LNG – rejected 2015  by Port of Longview
  12. Portland Propane – rejected 2015
  13. Longview Oil Refinery – rejected 2016
  14. Clatskanie crude by rail terminal – put out of business by competition, 2015
  15. Imperium Oil in Grays Harbor changing product — 2015
  16. Longview Propane Export  — rejected 2016
  17. Troutdale Natural Gas Power Plant – withdrew 2016 – Thank you Friends of the Columbia Gorge.
  18. Oregon Legislature voted to get off of coal based electricity by 2030.
  19. Jordon Cove Oregon LNG denied in 2016 but is re-applying
  20. S. Development changes plans – Grays Harbor
  21. Puget Sound Energy agrees to develop a plan to shut down Colstrip units 1 and 2.
  22. Children’s Trust Court win April 8, 2016
  23. Northwest Innovation Works abandons Tacoma methanol proposal, April 2016
  24. The proposed Tongue River Railroad in Montana was denied by the Surface Transportation Board.  This victory was 24 years in the making.  It would have enabled more coal by rail.
  25. Gateway Pacific Coal Terminal near Bellingham rejected by the Army Corps in respect for the Lummi treaty rights.  This was HUGE.
  26. Williams Western Pipeline expansion project, abandoned by applicant because of #7
  27. Future bans — Hoquiam, Vancouver, Whatcom County
  28. Shell Anacortes for now
  29. Lighthouse pulling out of the proposed Port of Morrow export terminal in Oregon

Delays Forced

  1. Westway Oil in Grays Harbor
  2. NuStar Vancouver
  3. Tesoro Vancouver

September 2016

Hi, Activists.

The end of September brings  the release of two EIS ( Environmental Impact Statements) of some form,  the formation of a Health Impact Assessment for the coal proposal at Longview, and several interesting media articles.  And we are preparing for hearings on the Shell Anacortes Refinery Rail-by Oil expansion . Today is the first release of a Final EIS in the NW:

Ecology News: Environmental review completed for Grays Harbor crude oil project

JOINT NEWS RELEASE: City of Hoquiam, Washington Department of Ecology

Sept. 30, 2016

Contacts:
David Bennett, Ecology communications, 360-407-6239
Brian Shay, City of Hoquiam, 360-581-3815

HOQUIAM – The environmental review for the proposed Westway Terminal crude oil expansion project in Grays Harbor is complete. The review identifies impacts stemming from the project proposal, as well as possible mitigation measures.

The city of Hoquiam and Washington Department of Ecology are issuing the final report, officially referred to as the Environmental Impact Statement, after analyzing and responding to 100,000 comments received during public review of the draft version in 2015.

“We have been committed to a transparent, thorough and impartial process since our work on this proposal began,” says Paula Ehlers, section manager for Ecology. “The conclusions of the final study are similar to the draft, but include responses to all comments received, additional information in some sections, and new proposed mitigation.”

The study found that the proposed project would cause significant and unavoidable environmental impacts to health and safety if a crude oil spill, fire or explosion occurs. There are also impacts to tribal resources.

The report proposes 69 mitigation measures to offset or reduce environmental impacts from the project, including using newer rail cars, escort tugs in Grays Harbor, adding response equipment caches in key locations, and coordinating spill response training for local responders and tribes.

The study is not a permit – it is a comprehensive and factual data resource for those who will make decisions during the permitting process. Ten local and state permits, and 11 federal and state plan approvals will be required for the proposed project. The first permit to be considered will be Hoquiam’s shoreline substantial development permit.  See Stand Up To Oil for a  press release.

The second EIS is The NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act)  DEIS at published for the Millennium Bulk proposed Coal Terminal at Longview. You can find the Draft on line or at the Spokane Public Library. Two hearings on the draft will be in late October in Cowlitz and Clark Counties. They will take comments on line until Nov. 29. More info is here.   Check out  Power Past Coal  for more information.

Some of you may remember that several people at the hearing on Longview (coal)  in Spokane in June asked for as Health Impact Assessment for that proposed facility. A  group has finally formed by so far, nine citizens, and the kick-off was Wednesday. They will decide how much public input will be put into the assessment, when it will happen and if the assessment will consider rail impacts outside of Cowlitz County.  How long this HIA will take to write is unknown. We are hoping that it will be able to inform the FEIS. We will likely hear more about this in the future, and I will let you know.

Here are some stories from the Spokesman-Review in the last month:

Fire Chief Jim Appleton: Lesson of derailment: Ban oil trains (Op-Ed)
Railroads keep most bridge inspection data secret (Feature Story)
State making headway on rail safety (Editorial)

Here are two from the Seattle Times that are connected:  One is an op-ed by Ben Stuckart  and others, and the other op-ed is by Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, which is a bit of a response to the first op-ed as well as Measure One. You can tell who is looking out for the safety of the residents of Spokane County after reading both of the op-eds!    LTEs to the Seattle Times or a comment on the op-ed  would be greatly appreciated. Fire Chief Jim Appleton was in favor of oil transportation until a fire happened in his town of Mosier, OR. See The Lands Council’s FB page for more info.

The Really big news is the Surface Transportation Board’s denial of Valero’s  (NYSE: VLO) request for a ruling that the Benicia (CA) Planning Commission’s denial of the company’s permit for an oil train facility was preempted by federal law. This decision came hours before the Benicia City Council voted to kill the project in a unanimous 5 to 0 vote. The STB is a federal agency. This is an important decision for many communities simply trying to have local control over what dangerous chemicals come through their cities.  Read more here: Statement: Surface Transportation Board Denies Valero Oil Train Appeal; City of Benicia Votes to Kill Project. And an enormous thank you to Stand. earth for their incredible work on this over the years.

On Monday night, Oct. 3,  Spokane City Council will present a resolution to stand with Standing Rock. The resolution is attached. The meeting starts at 6 pm.  For a good article on why Standing Rock is important please read the link highlighted.

Finally, we expect the release of the DEIS and hearings schedule for the proposed crude-by-rail spur to the Shell Anacortes Refinery any day now from DOE and Skagit County, the co-lead agencies.

I hope you are all enjoying the autumn weather, and as always email me or call me with questions or comments or if you would like to unsubscribe to this newsletter.

 

In gratitude for you all,

Laura

Laura Ackerman
Organizer and Oil Policy Director
The Lands Council
25 W. Main Ave. #222
Spokane, WA 99201
509 209-2404
lackerman@landscouncil.org

August 2016

Dear Activists,

Once again the big news is Measure One. The measure was taken off the ballot by the City Council in a 5 to 2 vote on Aug. 15. The Lands Council supported keeping the measure on the ballot. We believe that voting is an important and fundamental part of our democracy, and we support fire fighters, who also wanted to keep the measure on the ballot.   Read the firefighter letters, which are attached.

Nevertheless, we acknowledge it was a tough situation for the City Council, having enormous pressure from railroads, and we support their decision. Likely a signature gathering to put the measure on the ballot next year will happen.

The Spokesman-Review story on the above is cut and paste below along with several other links to interesting articles and some actions.  One link to particularly pay attention to is the future public hearings and comment period for the Draft EIS for the rail expansion to receive unit trains of oil at the Shell Refinery in Anacortes.    The trains will come through the Spokane area for this expansion. The Draft is expected to be released sometime this fall.

New state rule will help first responders prepare for crude oil shipments

OLYMPIA – Washingtonians were made a little safer today when the state adopted a rule requiring facilities that receive crude oil by rail to notify the Washington Department of Ecology in advance. The rule also requires pipelines transporting crude oil in the state to submit information about volumes and place of origin twice a year.

The rule allows Ecology to share crude oil movement information with emergency response agencies through an advance notification system. In addition, Ecology will publish aggregated public disclosure reports quarterly, summarizing details about oil movement in Washington state. The newly adopted rule goes into effect Oct. 1, 2016, and the first quarterly report will be published in January 2017.

“In the wake of recent oil train disasters, Washington is moving quickly to improve public safety and protect our natural resources,” said Governor Inslee. “This rule will assure that our emergency responders get advanced notice before oil train shipments arrive in their communities.”

The rule applies to four facilities in Washington that currently receive crude oil shipments by rail, and to two pipelines that transport crude oil in the state. New facilities and pipelines also will be subject to the rule.

Previously, no state reporting standards existed. A 2014 emergency order by the U.S. Department of Transportation required railroad carriers transporting Bakken crude oil in single trains, and in volumes greater than one million gallons, to provide information to state emergency response commissions regarding the estimated volumes and frequencies of such trains.

Ecology held four public meetings on the new rule during its 65-day public comment period. More than 1,000 comments were received, reviewed and factored into the rule development.​

​You can read DOE’s response to comments sent in, if you like, and the entire rule on their website. Thank you to those who attended the hearings in Spokane and sent in written comments!

I hope your summer has been fun and relaxing. My teenagers started school today so it seems like summer is over with. Enjoy your Labor Day weekend! And as always, let me know if you have any questions or comments via lackerman@landscouncil.org and if you would like to unsubscribe from this newsletter.

 

Laura Ackerman
Organizer and Oil Policy Director
The Lands Council
25 W. Main Ave. #222
Spokane, WA 99201
509 209-2404

July 2016

Dear Activists:

The BIG NEWS:  Spokane City Council, on July 25, passed an ordinance to place on the ballot for November 8, an initiative to fine oil trains coming through Spokane up to $261 for each car, and make coal trains covered.   Below are articles from the Spokesman-Review you will find interesting on fossil fuels. Please see the entire articles below. I have cut and paste the articles for those of you who don’t have on line access to the Spokesman-Review.

And also if you would like to, please watch the Spokane City Council meeting on this. The issue begins at 37 minutes, 50 seconds into the council meeting with the reading of  resolution 0064 and ordinance C35421 by the clerk. You can watch it here. The  whole hearing is about 1 hour and 30 minutes.  THANK YOU TO ALL WHO TESTIFIED. I was on vacation.

In addition please see other news coverage of this City Council vote on KHQ  and the AP coverage. And The Inlander.

The ordinance that created the initiative to put on the ballot on Nov. 8, 2016 will be published soon in the official city gazette. You can find the gazette here. You can also sign up via email to receive the gazette. . Please also see Direct Action Spokane’s work on this issue in the context of climate change. If you have questions of them and would like more information please email them at: info@directactionspokane.org

Read this great OP-ED about the Tesoro-Savage proposed crude by rail terminal in the Olympian. It was written by former NAACP Spokane president Naima Quarles-Burnley, Spokane doctor, Ethan Angell and Olympia doctor Frank Turner.  The full article is at the bottom.  The last day of adjudication for the proposal was Friday, July 29.  The process was a full five weeks.  If you would like to know more about that please go to The Lands Council website and look at the past newsletters.

I was going to discuss renewable energy and jobs in this newsletter but the City Council ordinance is worthy of the vast majority of  attention. If you would like to unsubscribe or have any comments in general or questions about this newsletter or anything about coal or oil please email me. Also, below the articles are links to other items of interest on oil. I have a lot of material on coal and oil. If you are looking for anything in particular please email me.

Sincerely,

Laura Ackerman
Organizer and Oil Policy Director
The Lands Council
25 W. Main Ave. # 222
Spokane, WA 99201
(509) 209-2404
lackerman@landscouncil.org

June 2016

Dear Activists,

Wow! June has been quite the month. The derailment and fire in Mosier, OR, on the 3rd,  made poignant all our work in trying to stop oil trains. Fortunately no one was injured or killed but the writing is on the wall (again) or rather the train tracks; oil trains can harm us.     An initial report regarding the cause of that derailment blamed faulty lag screws. Threaded screws like these are used on curves. You can read the report at the Federal Railroad Administration’s site. Or here is the Columbian article.

Of course the derailment created a great deal of press. One of the many things that has happened with the derailment was a press conference in Mosier on June 10 that Spokane City Councilman Ben Stuckart joined to speak on our behalf since that UP unit oil train went through SpokaneThank you, Ben!  See the photo of Ben and other leaders, courtesy of  Columbia Riverkeeper, below. The day before, Northwest Tribes gathered for a press conference. Bobby Kennedy Jr. and Mosier Mayor Arlene Burns joined them.  Below this newsletter is a list of links on Mosier and some of the subsequent happenings from it, including Governor Inslee and Oregon Governor Brown’s asks on oil trains.  Also check out the press on the congressional responses as well as the state firefighters.   Statements about the derailment  from the campaign are on the Stand Up to Oil website and some more press on the Lands Council Facebook page.

 The City of Spokane, in solidarity with Mosier, passed an emergency resolution on Monday, June 6.  I testified, along with many others in support of it. A big thanks to Spokane City Council members involved with that. Also, the City Council is sponsoring a community summit on fossil fuels on Wed. June 29 at the Unitarian Universalist Church starting at 7 pm at 4340 W. Fort George Wright Drive.  And here is the Facebook page for Safer Spokane.

“Showing up is 80% of life”  is a saying attributed to Woody Allen. In my work I’d modify it a bit by saying “ Making comments is 80% of life.” Democracy is a lot of work. You have to work to make it work, and its fuel comes from the informed comments of caring, educated citizens like all of you. As you can probably guess this is a segue into another chance to testify at a public hearing!

The Department of Ecology, (DOE) as part of the rulemaking from the Oil Transportation Safety Act, 1449, is now taking comments on a draft rulemaking on contingency planning for oil spills from pipelines. In Spokane:
Thursday, July 7, 1 p.m.
Ramada at Spokane International Airport, Lower Level Ballroom
8909 West Airport Drive

Thursday, June 30, 2 p.m. is a webinar.  Comment deadline is July 22. Email me for more information. The rulemaking for oil contingency plans for railroads is now closed as is the notification for oil by rail and pipelines. When the rulemaking is finalized and published I will let you know. A big thanks to all who showed up at the public hearings for the rulemakings and sent in comments!

Ecology’s process for developing these rule amendments will include gathering input from regulated pipelines, consulting with tribes, outreach to affected stakeholders and the public, and following formal steps for rule adoption.   Proposed Pipeline Planning Standard Locations Map

The adjudication process for the proposed oil terminal by Tesoro-Savage is underway in Vancouver.  It’s a five week process that is much like a trial and it will also take place in Olympia, WA.    This process along with the Final Environmental Impact Statement will inform the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council’s decision on the terminal being built or not. They will make a recommendation to the governor who will make the final decision. You can read more about it at this link.   The State Department of Natural Resources is against the proposal, too.

Finally, the comment period on the proposed coal export terminal at Longview, WA has ended with a record number of comments at over a quarter million comments against the proposal!  Read the press release here . Photos of the comments being delivered are here.  A very grateful thank you to all who attended the hearing in Spokane and sent in comments!

Next  month I am talking about renewable energy and jobs. I will also be on vacation for part of the month of July. Thank you for your continued interest in fossil fuel transport issues. If you would like to unsubscribe or have any comments or questions please email me.

In gratitude, Laura

Laura Ackerman
Organizer and Oil Policy Director
The Lands Council
25 W. Main Ave. #222
Spokane, WA 99201
lackerman@landscouncil.org
(509) 209-2404

May 2016

Hi, Activists.

We had another great hearing on May 26 at the Convention Center on the DEIS for the proposed coal exporting terminal at Longview, WA by Millennium Bulk Terminals.  Read the Power Past Coal press release at the bottom of this newsletter. Check out the links to the press coverage at the end of the newsletter. In particular, the one by local Dr. Ethan Angell,  would be great to get LTE’s into the Spokesman Review to support the health position. You can submit an LTE through their web form. 200 word limit. I put this op-ed in at the bottom of this newsletter so you don’t have to find and read it on line.

If you couldn’t make the hearing there are two things you can do. The first one is a big ask, and that is going to Pasco hearing on the Longview coal export proposal, the same one we had in Spokane. It’s at the Trac Center , and it’s the same format as Spokane. The hearing is from 1:00 to 9:00 pm. Our rally is at 4:00 pm and the hearing resumes at 5:00 pm. Ideally it would be great to have people at the rally and come to the evening hearing, but if you can come at any time, the Pasco Team will be happy.

I am going to Pasco and you can ride with me (limit of 6 passengers) or go with others. If you want to go, bring friends and let me know, and the campaign will reimburse you for gas. I need to be there for the whole hearing so if you have ever wanted to experience marathon activism, now is your chance!

The second one is easy enough for all of you to do, and that is make comments on the proposal by June 13. You can make a quick comment at www.powerpastcoal.com or at the DOE’s website. You can use the talking points attached above. More substantial comments go here: submit comments online or by mail to Millennium Bulk Terminals EIS, c/o ICF International, 710 Second Avenue, Suite 550, Seattle, WA 98104.The 45-day public comment period ends June 13. Only comments received during the official comment period can be considered by the co-lead partners. We are almost to the homestretch with our last hearing in Spokane on coal. Stay with me. We can reach the finish line together!

And one last thing, if you can make a comment on the proposed rulemaking by the Department of Ecology that would be very helpful to the cause. The rulemaking is on the Contingency Planning for Rail, a rule that would require railroads transporting crude or refined oil to submit oil spill response plans to the state for approval. Contingency plans show that railroads are prepared to respond to an oil spill immediately and effectively.  And the Notice Requirements for facilities that receive bulk deliveries of crude oil by rail or pipelines that transport crude oil. The information would help affected communities ensure a rapid, coordinated response in the event of an oil spill.

This is a bit wonky!  I can email you talking points so please email me to let me know if you need them. You can submit comments online, via email, by fax at 360-407-7288, or by mail to Department of Ecology Spills Program, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600. Ecology is accepting public comments on the two rules through June 10.

Thanks to all of you who came to the Longview hearing and to the DOE rulemaking hearing on May 17!  I am very grateful for all of you for any comments you can make. And please read this one last article on wind energy and powering China.

You can read this newsletter on our webpage at www.landscouncil.org, and if you would like to unsubscribe please email me at lackerman@landscouncil.org.

Sincerely,

Laura Ackerman
Organizer and Oil Policy Director
The Lands Council
25 W. Main Ave. Ste. 222
Spokane, WA 99201
(509) 209-2404

Longview Terminal Hearing Update

The last likely hearing for a coal proposal in Washington state was held in Spokane on May 26. About 500 people attended the hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBT) in Longview, WA. The  majority were against the proposal.  This facility would receive 44 million tons of coal from the Powder River Basin and from Utah. The coal from the PRB would come through Spokane County on the BNSF line and we would see about 16 trains a day.

Coal world-wide is on the decline. Grays Harbor, Coos Bay and Kinder Morgan proposals in the NW all folded when coal prices plummeted.  The proposed facility at the Port of Boardman is on life-support, and Cherry Point fell at the hands of the Lummi Nation .

“The American coal industry is hurting. The four largest US miners by output, Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, Cloud Peak Energy and Alpha Recourses (formerly Ambre), which account for nearly half of US production were worth a combined $34 billion at the peak in 2011. Today they are worth $150 million” according to the Rhodium Group in Feb. 2016.  Arch coal was a 38% owner of MBT but  on May 26 they gave up their share to Lighthouse Resources.   Arch is apparently bailing from MBT. Read a great blog about it here by Clark Williams-Derry http://www.sightline.org/2016/05/27/arch-coal-backs-out-of-longview-export-terminal/.

Most of us at the rally  before the evening hearing were dressed in red. It looked like the holidays. Spokane City Council President, and key note rally speaker, Ben Stuckart, reiterated the writing on the coal wall: “The DEIS neglects to review how an increase of 16 trains a day would impact eastern Washington’s largest export, agriculture,” said Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart. “The coal industry is failing — there has never been a worse time to link it with the future of our state’s economy.”

“What’s in that coal dust? Lead, arsenic, and mercury. And according to the railroad companies, it’s coming off the cars at the rate of 1 pound per car per mile. As a nurse and a farmer, I worry about what that means for public health. There’s no level of lead that’s safe for children,” local activist Marilee Dea said at the rally.

Spokane family medicine doctor Gunnar Holmquist called the terminal “a health risk at every level.  But the carbon dioxide that comes from burning fossil fuels poses the greatest health risk humankind has ever encountered: climate change.”

And Dr. Ethan Angell, in his op-ed http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2016/may/29/dr-ethan-angell-coal-trains-elevate-health-risks/ in the May 29th, Spokesman Review agrees with him: “The damage to human health resulting from this increase in train traffic, particularly trains transporting coal, is not hypothetical or abstract. It is real, based in science, and it will be suffered by people all along the rail lines every day.”

“More exhaust fumes emitted by the trains as they rumble through Spokane would also have a negative health effect on Spokane. Diesel exhaust is a known carcinogen and increased train traffic would negatively impact lung health.

In addition to the chronic daily impact on health, there will be catastrophic events that will occur more randomly. Wait times to cross the rails as trains pass will increase dramatically. A single, slow-moving coal train can obstruct a rail crossing by six minutes or more. This will delay emergency vehicles that cross the lines every day. Imagine if your loved one were the one on the wrong side of the tracks in this emergency situation.”

You can make comments until June 13 at www.powerpastcoal.org.  For talking points or questions email Laura at lackerman@landscouncil.org. Coal has been called a deadman walking. Help us put it out of its misery! Please make a comment.

April 2016

Greetings, Activists!

It’s April and once again, we are showered with good news.  First though, here is an update on the proposed Tesoro-Savage oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver. The facility is called Vancouver Energy, by Tesoro-Savage, and their lease was up Aug. 1. The Port of Vancouver had to decide to get out of the lease, with no penalty by Aug. 1, but just last week chose to extend the lease until March 31 of next year. Tesoro-Savage now has to pay $100,000 in rent every month instead of $50,000. After March 31, the Port or Tesoro-Savage can get out of the lease at every three month interval. Here is more on the lease.  Tesoro-Savage has accepted the terms of the lease.

You may enjoy reading the Columbia’s Op-Ed on the lease extension.

But here’s an excerpt: In discussing the lease extension, Commissioner Jerry Oliver chastised those who oppose the terminal out of a concern that fossil fuels contribute to climate change. Oliver absurdly compared the issue to Confederate soldiers during the Civil War, saying, “They were sincere like you, and, like you, they were sincerely wrong.” When an elected official whose job includes reviewing large energy projects mocks the warnings of a vast majority of climate scientists, he serves only to embarrass himself and his community.

So now what?  Since the lease was extended, unless something unusual happens, the governor will have to make a yes or no decision based on the recommendation of EFSEC or the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council. See more about it in my January newsletter at The Lands Council website.

Many of you may have not heard about the Oregon Liquid Natural Gas proposal project in Warrenton, OR. Well no matter because it’s dead!  It’s been killed by activists after 10 years of hard work to stop it. And much credit goes to Columbia Riverkeeper where you can read more about it.  The proposal was a $6 billion terminal and pipeline project on the Skipanon Peninsula that would have hooked up an 87 mile pipeline to a natural gas connector in Washington state.

On April 27 the Oregon State Parks Commission denied the Union Pacific Railroad’s application to acquire state parks land for its rail expansion in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.  This expansion would have occurred near Mosier. The denial was unanimous by the commission. But a final decision for a land transfer is still in the hands of Wasco County. A big thanks to Friends of Columbia Gorge for their work on this. They are on guard for the next hearing about this on June 7, before the Wasco County Planning Commission. BNSF is wanting to do something similar in the western Gorge near Steigerwald National Wildlife Refuge. I will keep you updated on both situations. But at the Friends of the Columbia Gorge’s website you can make a quick “no thank you” comment to the Wasco county Planning Commission.

And the Washington State Supreme Court is going to weigh in on the Ocean Resource Management Act in applying it to the oil shipping terminal in Gray’s Harbor. Read all about it at Earthjustice.

And BIG news on the coal front: Rest in Peace Tongue River Railroad in Montana! After 30 plus years of fighting this rail proposal, the federal Surface Transportation Board has dismissed the permit. Our friends at Northern Plains Resource Council  have worked endlessly on stopping this RR.  And if there’s no railroad, no coal mine is needed, and you can send a little note  to Montana Governor Bullock through the Montana Environmental Information Center or MEIC, to ask him to stop the government from working on the Otter Creek Coal Mine.

And finally the honor of your presence is requested at two public hearings in Spokane in May.   The first one is Tuesday, May 17 at 7 pm at the Ramada Inn at the airport to make comments on the proposed rulemaking by the Department of Ecology (DOE) on a new, draft WAC (Washington Administrative Code) chapter on Oil Movement by Rail and Pipeline.   I will be sending out more info on that along with talking points. Watch for a Facebook page event on The Lands Council Facebook Page. The purpose for the new chapter is “to enhance oil transportation safety in Washington and protect public safety and the environment by establishing notification requirements and procedures that inform emergency response agencies and the public of all crude oil shipments to facilities by rail and crude oil transport by pipeline in the state.”

And the second hearing is Thursday, May 26, at the Spokane Convention Center on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, which came out today, for the proposed coal exporting facility at Longview, WA. It’s from 1:00 to 9:00 pm with a rally at 4:00 pm. Please wear RED. RSVP here for the hearing!

To help you prepare for the hearing we have three convenient workshops:

Monday, May 9th
6:00pm-7:30pm
Cheney Library, 610 1st St, Cheney, WA 99004

Tuesday, May 10th
6:00pm-7:30pm
Community Building, 35 W. Main, Spokane, WA 99201

Thursday, May 12th
6:00pm-7:30pm
Argonne Library, 4322 N Argonne Rd, Spokane, WA 99212

Here is a partial excerpt from the DOE press release:  “Today Cowlitz County and the Washington Department of Ecology published a draft study evaluating the potential environmental impacts of a proposed coal export terminal near Longview.  The study is available for public review through June 13.

The 45-day public comment period on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement includes three public hearings: May 24 in Longview, May 26 in Spokane, and June 2 in Pasco. Comments may be submitted online and by mail anytime during the comment period.

Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview is proposing to build and operate a terminal that would handle up to 44 million metric tons of coal annually. The proposed facility would bring in coal from western United States with trains, stockpile it at the facility, and then export the coal by ship to Asia.”

If you can’t make the May 26 hearing in Spokane, please come to the June 2 hearing in Pasco.  For more details on the workshops and Spokane hearing contact Jace Bylenga of the Spokane Sierra Club. For Pasco contact me, Laura. Invite your family and friends and please also spread the word on Facebook!

See you at the Hearings!  And check out the photo Jace Bylenga took of the rally for the Longview scoping hearing back in 2013.   Bart Mahailovich and I organized that hearing. Remember Bart, former Spokane Riverkeeper? He continues his work with Waterkeeper Alliance in Missoula. Jerry White, current Spokane Riverkeeper, will be helping me and Jace with the Longview hearing.

Laura Ackerman
The Lands Council
509 209-2404
www.landscouncil.org

March 2016

Happy Spring, Activists!

The Washington State Department of Ecology will very soon announce the public hearings, and their times and dates, for the proposed Longview coal exporting terminal.  It will be at the end of May, likely in both Spokane and Pasco since scoping hearings were held there. Plan on coming please, and we need to all show up and put  the last nail on the coal coffin! You can view the Millennium Bulk Terminal  (MBT) proposal at the Department of Ecology’s website and keep checking it for a press release on the hearings, too.

My apologies this is a late newsletter. So much has happened in the last two days I have delayed it to be able to report to you further developments. So far, as of Sunday evening, no press release from The Department of Ecology has been issued to confirm hearing dates and times for MBT. Cowlitz County is the co-lead agency with DOE for this process, and they share a joint website for it.

What’s up with coal? Or rather, what’s down? Plenty. Coal is not doing so well in the world and that’s been the story for several months now.  This article in the Seattle Times by Lynda Mapes and Hal Bernton explains more. You can read many news articles on the decline of coal at Power Past Coal   But the very interesting news is that the EIS preparation for the Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point  near Bellingham has been temporarily  suspended. The situation is still being sorted out.   Here is an article on this developing story.

Last newsletter I mentioned that this newsletter would talk about health impacts of oil transport and oil facilities.  Read the online report by Washington Physicians For Social Responsibility.  Dozens of health care providers signed on to their statement and a few spoke at the Tesoro-Savage hearing in Spokane on Jan. 14.  Or read the Sightline reporting on  the health impacts.   WPSR along with their Oregon counterparts looked at  125 peer-reviewed studies on the health impacts of oil.  At the very least  read the Sightline article. It’s a great synopsis of the  analysis.

Also take a look at the Health Effects of Climate Change and Impacts of Carbon Reduction Efforts on Public Health on the WPSR site.     Here is a synopsis of a study that was published on March 31 on diabetes and rising global temperatures.    This is the summary: The World Health Organization estimates that of the 500 million people worldwide are thought to have diabetes, 90% have type 2 diabetes and the number diagnosed with diabetes by 2020 will increase dramatically. Diabetes can impair the body’s ability to thermo-regulate leading to a relative inability to adequately regulate core temperature. This can have a profound impact on the ability of individuals with diabetes to work and play in adverse environments which includes workers in many vital industries who may be regularly exposed to harsh environmental conditions.

Other interesting developments have taken place in the Northwest recently.  Northwest Innovation Works LLC  (NWIW) is a new company that is backed by the Chinese government, and wants to build three natural gas-to-methanol refineries in WA.  In China the methanol would be used for fuel or to make plastic.   One proposal is in Tacoma (and that didn’t go over very well), one in Clatskanie, and one in Kalama that is now in a public comment period until April 18, 2016.  Columbia Riverkeeper is the place to check out the details for scoping.

Making methanol uses a huge amount of water, energy, and abundant natural gas supplies we have in the U.S.  Says Columbia Riverkeeper:  Kalama is the guinea pig for methanol refining. NWIW is a new start up. They’ve never built or run a methanol refinery. The proposed technology has never been used to make methanol commercially.

Have you ever  heard of xylene?   It’s used to make polyester fibers and films  and other products and Tesoro wants to  modify, mix  and ship mixed xylene from their wharf in Anacortes to mainly export, via marine vessel, to Asia.  Bakken oil, because it’s light and sweet, has a higher content of naphtha than other types of oils.  This naphtha is partially refined into the reformate xylene which is also rather nasty for human health.   Sightline has a crash course on xylene  in the Northwest.    Check out the article on The Dirt on Tesoro, also by Sightline. Scoping is open until April 15. Read more at Evergreen Islands.

“Another one bites the dust.” Those are the words used by a few  Gray’s Harbor activists on the “death” of the proposed U. S Development oil terminal in Grays Harbor. Read more about the lease conditions at The Daily World.    US. Development still has a  commercial access agreement and could put another commodity at the Port of Gray’s Harbor.

Please make your comments on xylene, methanol and come to the public hearing on  the DEIS for the coal proposal facility at Longview in May.  Jace Bylenga of the Sierra Club is the lead organizer for that hearing. I am working on that with  him, and helping out with the likely hearing in Pasco, too. Contact Jace to volunteer.

And just for a little inspiration the movie by Avi Lewis based on Naomi Kline’s book, “This Changes Everything” will be shown Thursday, April 7 at 7 pm  at Hemmingson Center Theatre in the basement at Gonzaga University. Check out the Facebook page event: https://www.facebook.com/events/440543846140682/

The photo attachment is of a coal train at Sprague and Division I took last week. Just imagine the photo with a big red x through it. Then come to the hearing to help  us keep coal in the ground forever. I will see you there. You may have a hard time finding me however, since I will be wearing red like everyone else who opposes the project!

See you in May!

Laura Ackerman
The Lands Council
509 209-2404
www.landscouncil.org

February 2016

Hi, Activists!

Last month’s newsletter had a list of 12 proposed fossil fuels that were defeated by citizens around the Northwest. This month, two more were added to the list, as the Port of Longview rejected the proposed Waterside oil refinery and a propane export terminal.  This is obviously fabulous news. I had mentioned this particular proposal in my January newsletter.  Kudos to Columbia Riverkeeper, Sightline Institute, and Dan Leahy for all their work on this.

Some of you may know Yvon Chouinard is the founder of Patagonia. He wrote Brian Wolfe, Vancouver Port Commissioner, a  letter to ask him to deny the Tesoro-Savage proposed crude-by -rail facility at the Port of Vancouver (thanks again to all of you who made comments on that and came to the hearing on Jan. 14).  The letter was read at the Port Commission meeting. Mr. Wolfe could stop the project.  You can read the article which has a  link to the letter. 

Meanwhile you can write your own very short note to Governor Inslee using the ad placed in the Spokesman-Review on Feb. 20 by the Stand Up to Oil campaign.  It’s attached. Print it out and mail it to the governor with a little note on it to him, or put it on the governor’s webpage with a little note. I put a heart on mine, and inside it I wrote: “I love Clean Energy.”

Contact

  • Write
    Governor Jay Inslee
    Office of the Governor
    PO Box 40002
    Olympia, WA 98504-0002
  • e-Message
    Send Gov. Inslee an e-message
  • Call
    360-902-4111
    TTY/TDD users should contact the Washington Relay Service at 711 or 1-800-833-6388.
  • Fax
    360-753-4110​

If you need some inspiration for your note, read the op-ed in the Spokesman-Review published Feb. 27 by our own Ben Stuckart, and City of Vancouver Councilman, Bart Hansen. 

Please consider writing an LTE ( no more than 200 words), in support of Ben and Bart’s Op-Ed. It makes a difference.  Here are the details for an LTE.

Also please read this Op-Ed in The Oregonian on Tesoro-Savage:  A couple letters from folks in Spokane County would be great. We are all connected! You can do that here using no more than 150 words:

Or mail them to this address: Letters to the editor, The Oregonian 1500 S.W. First Ave. Portland, Or., 97201 They may also be faxed to (503) 294-4193.

Please include your full address and daytime phone number for verification with BOTH papers you submit LTEs to.

In the January newsletter, I mentioned I was going to talk about the “hypocrite card” at testimony in public hearings in the next newsletter.  We have all heard it, “you drove to this hearing, you use oil, why are you against a facility?”

Some of you responded to me with your answers.  Here is what local activist Dennis Todaro, who spoke at the rally, had to say about the hypocrite card and driving to the hearing:

“Yes, That’s exactly right.  And the reason for that is the stranglehold that fossil fuel interests have maintained on the American economy and political process.  Other nations (to whom Americans feel superior) have developed alternative energy, mass transit systems, high speed rail networks and fuel efficient automobile technologies.  All of this development occurred while reducing their dependency on fossil fuels.

America has experienced economic instability and been embroiled in foreign wars because of oil dependency. Efforts to embrace change have been met with obstructionism and denial.  We have forfeited leadership to advance technology and protect our environment to Europe and Asia.

That is why we are here today to protest.

That is how I answer the “hypocrite card”  (and I drove a Nissan Leaf to the rally by the way).

Oil use is on the decline. The Department of Energy says gas consumption in 2014 was 4% lower than in 2007. Vehicles have been more fuel efficient since 1978 and that trend will continue significantly until 2025 when they will use half as much as they did in 2011.   Why tie our region to fossil fuels for another 50 years when we have more oil that we can use here if the proposed oil terminals are built?  Oil is volatile, it can and has literally exploded, and it’s not economically stable either. Several weeks ago, BP laid off 4,000 of its workers. Even for those who advocate for oil, it’s not economically sustainable for them!

We will continue this discussion in later newsletters so please send me your opinion on why we need to get off the fossil fuel loop to be able to make choices.  I want to give a BIG SHOUT OUT to all the older citizens who testified at the hearing against this proposal. They grew up with fossil fuels.  They can see the need to make sure the next generations have choices in terms of transportation, jobs, less pollution, and better health. As a mother of teenagers, thank you seniors, for looking past the ends of your noses and into the future of  those who are younger and not yet born.  There’s plenty more to say about oil, clean energy, climate change, transportation, and health.  And in the March newsletter I will feature the impacts of oil transportation and oil facilities on health.

Also, just to throw in another interesting story that is very relevant to Spokane County, the Federal Railroad Administration has a new feature on their website that allows local officials to report rail bridges that they think may be structurally inefficient. I will check in on the program and report back anything I have found out.

And head’s up on coal. The DEIS for the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminal at Longview, WA  is expected to be published April 30. Spokane will likely get a public hearing on that within 45 days of the DEIS release. Jace Bylenga, Sierra Club’s Spokane organizer needs volunteers. I am helping Jace but please contact him for more info, and to volunteer as he is the lead on this hearing.

If you have questions or comments email me.  And I have no more oil signs for yards. I had more requests than I could fill. My apologies. If you do NOT want to receive these newsletters, please let me know. Also, I am still working out email kinks so some of you who got this email may not have received last month’s newsletters. Sometimes hand written email addresses are hard to decipher. But, I have a solution to my computer kinks: My 16 year old daughter. There is nothing like a teenager to fix your email and smart phone problems.

With gratitude for all you do,

Laura Ackerman
The Lands Council
509 209-2404
www.landscouncil.org

January 2016

Dear Activists,

It’s been just over two weeks since the January 14 public hearing on the proposed Tesoro-Savage crude-by-rail project. While testifying Ben Stuckart, Spokane City Council President, asked people who were against the project to stand up – and you could see the hundreds of red shirts! I am still riding-the red shirt high!

All of you did it again. This is the sixth public hearing in Spokane on coal, oil, or climate. Some of you have been to all of the hearings, like I have. One of our great local activists, Ziggy, has been to every hearing in the state on coal or oil.

It’s not just the fact that citizens consistently show up, it’s the quality of the comments you all continue to deliver. They are impressive. One of the organizers in the Vancouver area who went to all three Tesoro-Savage hearings said the most amazing comments were from people at the Spokane hearing.

And if that wasn’t enough, the comments generated against this project came to 288,450. That’s a record for an EFSEC (Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council) project.

So what is next with Tesoro-Savage? A Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be written (the draft EIS was over 4,100 pages). EFSEC will give their recommendation to the governor, who will say yeah or nay within 60 days of the recommendation. I will keep you updated, of course. But we think we have given EFSEC good reason to say no. EFSEC also has adjudicative proceedings in their decision process, and that along with the FEIS will inform their decision to the governor.

One of our most famous, best activists, and bean-counter, Don Steinke of Vancouver, created a list of fossil fuel projects that we have defeated in the last four years:

Bradwood Landing LNG
Grays Harbor Coal
Coos Bay Coal
Clatskanie Kinder Morgan Coal
Boardman Oregon Coal
Warrenton ONG
Haven Energy LNG Longview
Pembina Propane Portland
Imperium Grays Harbor
Troutdale Natural Gas Plant, read more at www.gorgefriends.org

We think we may have NuStar oil in Vancouver stopped also. The Clatskanie-area crude oil plant has shut down due to low oil prices. It will now go back to its original purpose of shipping ethanol. A proposed oil refinery and propane terminal, at the Port of Longview, has some questionable backers. The same company, Waterside Energy, is interested in building the refinery has a poor record a their failed biodiesel plant near Odessa run by their company TransMessis Columbia Plateau.
Currently the Department of Ecology (DOE) is holding public workshops on Communities’ Rights to Know rule making about what kind of oil is being shipped through communities, when, and where. We want DOE to know that we want as much transparency as possible when it comes to risky oil. You can take action here.

Next month, aside from new updates, I’ll be talking about the ”hypocrite card” that is played at least once at oil hearings. That’s where someone gets up and likes to tell us we are all wrong about our position on oil because we “drove” to the hearing. If any of you have any responses to that let me know, and I will include them in the next newsletter.
But before I go I want to thank you all, again, and especially give a shout out to the Spokane Tribe, and those who came from other cities in Washington state, and many cities in Idaho and Montana. Montana and Idaho have traveled to Spokane for the coal hearings, too. They are great allies!

Check out the photo below of the white board that was in our hospitality suite at the hearing: The Whole Northwest is Standing Up to Oil!

In gratitude,

Laura Ackerman
The Lands Council
509 209-2404
www.landscouncil.org