Week features rally at Whatcom County Council public hearing in Bellingham, 100th birthday celebration for Skagit River Rail Bridge in Burlington, and more.
Environmental groups in Whatcom and Skagit counties are hosting three events as part of the third-annual Stop Oil Trains Week of Action, a nationwide movement from July 6-12, 2016 calling attention to the threat of oil trains, the people who are stopping them, and the need for 100% clean and safe energy.
“Across North America our partners are holding citizen actions to call for an immediate stop to crude oil trains,” says Alex Ramel, Field Director at Stand. “The fracked shale oil and tar sands being moved by train is the dirtiest most polluting oil in the country, and we don't need it. Every day the U.S. exports five times more oil than we move by train. Stopping all oil trains tomorrow wouldn’t change our oil supply, but it would make 25 million Americans living in the blast zone safer and more secure.”
The Candlelight Vigil for Lac-Mégantic is at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, July 6, at Taylor Avenue Dock, off Taylor Ave and 10th Street in Bellingham. The event, hosted by 350 Bellingham, will honor the 47 lives lost in the tragic oil train derailment and explosion in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec in 2013. It includes a candlelight vigil at 9 p.m., speakers and storytelling from 9:30 to 10 p.m., and a moment of silence followed by a group photo at 10 pm.
The 100th Birthday Party for the Skagit River Railroad Bridge is at noon on Saturday, July 9, at Skagit River Park, 1100 S. Skagit St. in Burlington. The event, hosted by RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, Stand, Evergreen Islands, and the Sierra Club will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the railroad bridge and highlight the vulnerability of our community infrastructure and waterways. The family-friendly event will include a picnic lunch, cake, and a river flotilla.
Kayakers, canoeists, and other small boaters who want to join the river flotilla should meet at 11 a.m. at the boat launch at 851 S. Gardner Road in Burlington. A Discover Pass or WDFW parking pass is required. For more information, email Lee First at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This event will also highlight the proposed oil-by-rail expansion project at Shell’s Puget Sound Refinery in Anacortes, which aims to bring an additional 6 trains a week at 100 cars long through Mount Vernon and Burlington. The draft environmental impact statement for the project will be released in fall 2016.
The Fossil Fuel Petition Delivery to Whatcom County Council event is at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 12, at Whatcom County Council chambers, 311 Grand Ave. in Bellingham. The event, hosted by RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, is an opportunity for citizens to ask the Whatcom County Council to vote in support of recently introduced amendments that would discourage fossil fuel export projects in the county’s Comprehensive Plan update, which would also prevent an increase in oil train shipments through Whatcom County.
The amendments, proposed by Councilmember Carl Weimer, would encourage new regulations that would prevent permits for projects to export fossil fuels or increase outbound crude oil vessel traffic; protect the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve, estuaries and near-shore wetlands; stop new piers from being built at Cherry Point; restrict water-intensive uses; favor clean energy and low-carbon industries and businesses; respect treaty rights; and recognize the historic, cultural and ecological significance of Cherry Point.
During the event, RE Sources staff will deliver petitions signed by close to 1,000 Whatcom County residents calling for language in the Comprehensive Plan that would discourage new fossil fuel export projects. An additional 1,400 people from Washington state, and 1,100 people from across the United States, signed a similar online petition that was already delivered to councilmembers.
Regional Stop Oil Trains Week of Action events include a Shared Waters, Shared Values event on Friday, July 8, in Hoquiam, hosted by the Quinault Indian Nation. More information: quinaultindiannation.com/july8thrally.htm. For more information on Stop Oil Trains Week of Action or to find an event in your area, visit stopoiltrains.org.
Background: RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, Stand, and the Sierra Club are members of Stand Up To Oil, a coalition of groups opposed to new oil terminals and an increase in oil transport through the Northwest, while working to improve safety measures for oil currently traveling through the region.
Stop Oil Trains Week of Action: Bellingham Candlelight Vigil for Lac-Mégantic: facebook.com/events/1037797022968945/
Stop Oil Trains Week of Action: 100th Birthday Party for the Skagit River Railroad Bridge: facebook.com/events/414685188655925/
Stop Oil Trains Week of Action: Fossil Fuel Petition Delivery to Whatcom County Council: facebook.com/events/1722901534616624/
Media Contacts: Kate Blystone, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, email@example.com, 360-733-8307 or Alex Ramel, Stand, firstname.lastname@example.org, 360-305-5079 or Jill MacIntyre Witt, 350 Bellingham, email@example.com