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If you’re looking for some inspiring news, you’ve come to the right place! Energy company Tesoro-Savage attempted to build North America’s largest oil export terminal in Vancouver, Washington … and grassroots activists weren’t having any of it.

Thousands of activists, including environmentalists, community organizers, union leaders, and Native American tribes in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia dedicated themselves for years to speak out against the project, and Governor Jay Inslee recently rejected Tesoro’s proposal himself. Thanks to their persistence, the Port of Vancouver has now officially terminated the oil company’s lease!

This exciting victory follows in a string of fossil fuel projects to be canned across the Pacific Northwest, Earthjustice, a non-profit environmental law organization notes. With the help of Earthjustice, activists were able to successfully reject multiple attempts for big oil to set up in the lush, green region.

The proposed oil export terminal would have handled an estimated 360,000 barrels of oil per day that would be delivered by diesel-powered, mile-and-a-half-long trains. Grassroots activists were concerned about the terminal and trains’ air pollution, as well as the potential environmental damage that would happen if one of the trains had an accident. In the nearby town of Mosier, Oregon, for instance, 14 oil train cars derailed in 2016. There was also the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster in 2013, which killed 47 people. Not only is big oil bad for people, there is also the fact that it’s directly tied to destroying eco-systems. But as the dedicated activists in the Pacific Northwest prove: you can fight a huge dirty energy project and win!

“At first, many people thought these were quixotic battles against Big Oil that we couldn’t win. Now, thanks to the tremendous, diverse local opposition, people across our region feel empowered to fight for their vision of their community, one that doesn’t bend to corporate greed,” said Kristen Boyles, one of the Earthjustice attorneys.

Share this fantastic environmental victory within your network to prove that great things happen when we work together for the greater good!


Lead Image Source: Quangpraha/Pixabay

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Don Steinke
7 Months Ago

Why we Fought Two Oil Terminals and How we Won

By Don and Alona Steinke, Sierra Club Loo Wit Group, Vancouver

When capital is invested in fossil-fuel-dependent equipment, such as in a conventional automobile, or in an oil train terminal, that’s like a contract being signed to burn fossil fuels for the life of the car or for the rest of the century.
One of the most important things we can do for our children is to divert capital away from greenhouse-gas-producing-infrastructure, whether it’s LNG facilities or new natural gas heating systems.
Circa 2011, The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal staff member Laura Stevens was assigned to work with volunteers in Vancouver to help fight all the proposed coal terminals.
Laura raised an army of activists. She taught us the importance of continually working the farmer markets and other public spaces with a clipboard and an informal petition. The petition served a triple purpose. It would be given to the decision-maker, it allowed us to educate the public about the issue, and it allowed us to gather the contract information from supporters.
We were able to build a data-base of thousands of supporters who received updates and action alerts from us.
In 2013, the Tesoro and Savage Companies proposed America’s largest oil train terminal at the Port of Vancouver. We volunteers began a steady drum-beat with neighborhood associations and City Council members, urging them to take a stand. In 2014, we turned out 650 people to a City Council meeting in support of a resolution opposing all projects that would increase the number of oil trains passing through Clark County.
We turned out a thousand people in freezing rain to a public hearing on January 5, 2016.
We, along with strong leadership from Washington Conservation Voters, elected two new Port Commissioners running on platforms opposing the oil terminal.
We generated hundreds of Letters to the Editor, made the arguments, and galvanized public opinion that made it easy for the Energy Facilities Site Evaluation Council to unanimously disapprove of the Tesoro Savage Oil Terminal in its recommendation to the Governor on November 28, 2017. Check.
In early January, the new Port Commission voted unanimously to notify Andeavor (formerly Tesoro), and Savage Companies that their lease would not be renewed when it expired on March 31, 2018, unless they had all the permits in place. Check.
On January 29, 2018, Governor Jay Inslee, announced his rejection of the project. The oil companies would not have time to appeal. Checkmate.
On February 27, 2018 the oil companies asked the Port to end the lease immediately.
The Port of Vancouver is the closest deep-water port between the new fracking fields and new markets.
We stopped the most powerful industry in history, in the place they most want to be.
We also stopped the smaller NuStar oil terminal, even after it had received a SEPA Determination of Non-Significance and an Air Discharge Permit.
We don’t know of anything more important, or more satisfying to be doing in retirement. We’ve made hundreds of new friends and we know that we are doing everything we can to secure a better future for our grandchildren.
When we organize and fight, we win. Our coalition has stopped every new coal, oil, and gas terminal proposed west of the Cascades. We’ve had 55 major victories along the way. The list is available from Don Steinke, [email protected]
We appreciated the leadership and support from members of the Stand Up to Oil Coalition and their allies, . . . in particular Columbia Riverkeeper, ILWU local 4, Washington Environmental Council, Washington Conservation Voters, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Association of NW Steelheaders, the Tribes, the Washington State Council of FireFighters, EarthJustice, the Clark County Natural Resources Council, the Sierra Club, Port Commissioners Eric LaBrant and Don Orange, Vancouver 101 – small businesses against the oil terminal, Taxpayers for a Responsible Public Port, the Lands Council, Climate Solutions, Evergreen Islands, Friends of the Earth, Citizens for a Clean Harbor, Resources for Sustainable Communities, Lower Columbia Stewardship Committee, and the thousands of people who showed up over and over to speak up and make the case.

John Pasqua
7 Months Ago



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