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CCN Activists Scale Billboard, Expose Local Coal Threats

CCN Activists Scale Billboard, Expose Local Coal Threats

Portland, Ore. Three activists with Cascade Climate Network and Portland Rising Tide occupied a billboard at the corner of SE 12th and Sandy Blvd Sunday afternoon to protest proposals for coal export terminals across the Northwest. The activists altered the billboard with a giant banner that listed five potential coal export sites along the Oregon and Washington coast, while around forty protestors gathered below and spelled “no coal exports” with oversized letters.

Coal corporations including Peabody and Arch Energy are seeking to export up to 100 million tons of coal annually from six separate sites in Oregon and Washington. Last month, with minimal public input, the Port of St Helens approved an option to lease the port to coal companies Ambre Energy and Kinder Morgan. This comes nearly a year after Millennium Bulk Logistics temporarily withdrew an application to export coal from Longview, Washington after internal documents revealed inconsistent figures regarding the intended volume of coal for export.

“Big coal knowingly poisons our land, water and communities for the sake of their bottom line. Coal is the biggest contributor to global climate change, and as we teeter on the threshold of climate chaos we must reject all coal infrastructure,” said Chelsea Thaw, an activist with Cascade Climate Network.

This event was part of a regional day of coordinated action against Northwest Coal Exports. Actions occurred across Oregon and Washington near sites of proposed export and in Montana near the coalfields of the Powder River Basin. This is just a pre-cursor to increased efforts to prevent the exportation of coal in our region.

There is a call going out to anyone and everyone who wishes to participate in a mass civil disobedience action in Montana this summer. The goal of the action will be to stop the State Land Board giving permits to coal companies to mine coal that would then travel across the Northwest in trains and be exported across the Pacific Ocean.

Eric Jensen, one of the activists participating in the action remarked, “It was really meaningful for me to have this opportunity to partner with coal activists across the region.  The Coal Export Action this summer in Helena is going to be critical for fostering the type of regional solidarity we need to protect our communities from coal.”

The Cascade Climate Network has been working on the Beyond Coal campaign since its beginning nearly five years ago and will continue to lead the Pacific Northwest to a clean energy future. Stay tuned for details about a mass action in Montana this summer!


CCN Site Goes Black for SOPA Protest

CCN Site Goes Black for SOPA Protest

Tonight the CCN Core Team decided to join what’s being touted as the largest internet protest in history: the fight against online censorship.

If you haven’t heard yet, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) will be voted on in the House and Senate, respectively, next week. The Huffington Post says “SOPA would give both the government and major corporations the power to shut down entire websites accused of copyright infringement with neither a trial nor a traditional court hearing … The proposed legislation has startled tech experts and free speech advocates, who warn that the anti-piracy tactics envisioned by the bill would bring about widespread censorship of legitimate content and hamper important cybersecurity measures.”

The article says Oregon senator Jeff Merkley has officially opposed PIPA, while Ron Wyden plans to filibuster; I’m unsure about Washington’s senators think about it. Regardless, the next seven days are your chance to speak up on SOPA and PIPA.

Here are some easy actions to take (in order of importance and greatest impact):

  1. CALL YOUR CONGRESSPEOPLE! Here are contact lists for Washington and Oregon – tell your representatives to oppose internet censorship!
  2. Spread the word on your social media outlets: post on Twitter, Facebook and other sites to let your networks know about SOPA and how they can help.
  3. If you have a website, make it go black tomorrow for the online SOPA protest. WordPress has quite a few anti-SOPA plugins, which are really easy to install. (More ways to strike online can be found here.)

The CCN’s website will be black tomorrow in solidarity with Wikipedia, Google, WordPress and many other sites protesting SOPA and PIPA. Please do what you can to oppose internet censorship!


BIG WIN for the Climate! Obama Delays Keystone XL Pipeline!

BIG WIN for the Climate! Obama Delays Keystone XL Pipeline!

Today, the Obama administration delayed the Keystone XL Pipeline!!!

This is a huge win for the climate. For more information, see the links below.

NYTimes article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/11/us/politics/administration-to-delay-pipeline-decision-past-12-election.html?_r=1&ref=global-home

Tar Sands Action letter from Bill McKibben announcing win: http://www.tarsandsaction.org/big-news-won-won/

Power Shift West 2011 Kicks Off!

Power Shift West 2011 Kicks Off!

After months of planning, Power Shift West 2011 is finally here! The event kicked off Friday afternoon with three keynote speakers who motivated the hundreds of students who traveled from Washington, Idaho, Montana, California and beyond to attend this grassroots environmental activism conference.

CCN co-organizers Emma Newman and Lauren Ressler introduced the first two speakers, Dave Cobb of Move To Amend and Rob Dietz of Center for the Advancement of the Steady-State Economy, and also talked about the CCN and Sierra Student Coalition during breaks between the speakers. The last keynote speaker, Cylvia Hayes (first lady of Oregon with decades of sustainable energy experience), was introduced by ASUO president (and proud NW SPROG 2011 alum) Ben Eckstein.

All three keynotes addressed the frustration caused by environmentally-degrading lifestyles and industries, as well as the opportunity – and the responsibility – to change them. If anything, Power Shift West will show our regional communities that we are ready and willing to accept that challenge. As Dave Cobb said, “what we know is the global climate crisis is the issue to solve,” and the systemic change we need is possible, but only if we work together to achieve it.

So get your hard hats on, Power Shifters – it’s going to be a long, action-filled weekend!

For all the latest updates, check out CCN’s Twitter account.

Take Action to Protect the NW from Dirty Energy

Take Action to Protect the NW from Dirty Energy


The CCN proudly supports the following action described below by our Coalitions facilitator Natalie Eberts:

3 Targets . . . 2 Issues . . . 1 All-Out Action!

Join the Energy Action Coalition, Rainforest Action Network, ForestEthics, and Coal Action Network for an amazing march after Powershift to put all the amazing energy from the weekend into action for the crucial issues of TarSands and Coal Exports!

Here’s a snapshot:

  • “Returning” Grocery Bags of Tar Sands Destruction at Safeway, a giant corporate buyer of Tarsands Oil
  • A “Die-In” and Street Theater at the Bank of America, the single largest funder of Coal Exports, on the weekend of “Move Your Money Day”
  • A mock Clean Energy Campaign office at the Lane County Democrats HQ in solidarity with the Tar Sands Action at the White House
This march will be unique because there will be many ways for you all to participate beyond just holding signs and chanting– from carrying “oily” Safeway bags, to being outlined in chalk in the die-in, to being a “volunteer” at the mock campaign office.
That’s not all though, if you want to be more involved in this exciting action, there are lots of roles we need you to fill! These include: Media (photo/video, social media, bloggers, spokespeople), March leaders, Chant leaders, Police Liasons, Volunteers Coordinators, Set-up Crew, and musicians! Let us know if you’re interested–if you’d like to help but aren’t sure how,  we’ll figure it out. We’re also looking for a set of drums, other instruments, a truck, folding tables, 1-2 dress suits to borrow, Obama T-shirts and pins, and bullhorns, so let us know if you can lend any of these.Even if you’re not able to get directly involved beforehand, here’s two simple things you all can do to help make this action the huge success it’s shaping out to be:

  1. Spread the Word BEFORE the Conference by inviting friends in the area to this Facebook Event, Tweeting and reTweeting wth the hastag #pswaction, and reposting this email to any listserves you’re on.
  2. Spread the Word AT the Conference by recruiting people to come and passing around fliers available from our tables.
This is going to be an creative hundreds-strong action propelled from all the momentum of Powershift, so we’re excited to have you be a part!
Thank you for helping make this happen!
In solidarity,
Chelsea Thaw, Natalie Eberts, Nick Engelfield, and Adam Gaya
Action Organizers
Natalie Eberts– [email protected]  |  #734-476-1310
Nick Engelfried [email protected]  |  #503-737-7666
#Occupy I-5: A Revolutionary Roadtrip

#Occupy I-5: A Revolutionary Roadtrip

Lauren Ressler, CCN interim Washington co-director and Sierra Student Coalition coordinator for the Pacific NW, wrote this blog about her trip to CCN-affiliated communities in Oregon and Washington. This post was originally featured on WeArePowerShift.org

After stops at twelve universities over the course of eighteen days in a journey totaling over one thousand miles I have reached an important conclusion: students in the Pacific Northwest are taking campus climate organizing to new heights. Here is what a small fraction of these schools are doing:

Did you know the students at Western Washington University are trying to protect their community from a massive coal export facility being proposed just a few miles off campus? Their first kick off meeting garnered the participation of more than 100 students inspired by some seriously herculean outreach efforts lead by a small number of young people who don’t want to breath the harmful dust from the coal trains; who don’t want their bay to suffer from black tides as a result of the same contamination entering the waterways of Bellingham; who don’t want their city to be the lifeline between the US and Asia for one of the dirtiest industries in the world. Western student, Chelsea Thaw, commented, “The energy at the meeting was palpable. This issue has been a galvanizing force for student activists and an opportunity to learn from elders in the community who have grown up the town are fighting to keep it the way they remember it.”

Have you heard about the creative way Whitman students are showing solidarity with the global movement to stop the development of the Keystone XL pipeline? At a school of only 1500 students, they are organizing more than 50 volunteers to visually represent how all students, no matter their origin, are affected by fossil fuel consumption by creating a human map of the US. This is the launch event for a bold beyond fossil fuels campaign that is already getting significant attention.

Moving south, my visit to Portland left me thinking about food in an entirely new way. I am an urban gardener and frequenter of many a farmers market, so you might be surprised that I had an incredible time planning a Fried Food Fest with students at the University of Portland. Members of the Biodiesel club at UP are turning grease to gas that will power many campus appliances. Co-founder, Dan Browne, says, “It has been fascinating hearing everyone’s different interests in biodiesel from business to engineering this year. There are so many different facets to biodiesel that anyone can get involved; you get out what you put in.”

Eugene, OR was the southernmost point of my epic journey and it did not disappoint. The students of the University of Oregon will be hosting Power Shift West the weekend of November 4-6 and they are working tirelessly to make this the most inspiring event of the season. During my stay I witnessed late evening phone bank sessions, logistical meetings, and some serious on-campus recruitment from the members of the Climate Justice League and OSPIRG. I can’t wait to return in just a few short weeks to witness this empowering event. If you want to see the energy and amazing work of students of the Northwest in person join us for Power Shift West November 4-6 at the University of Oregon.

Power Shift West Registration Open!

Power Shift West Registration Open!

Across the country a bold movement is emerging to demand a clean and sustainable future. People of all ages and backgrounds are coming together to show industry and politicians that we will not let our country continue its dangerous addiction to fossil fuels and youth are at the forefront. Whether it is in DC resisting the disastrous Keystone XL pipeline, in Appalachia resisting the destructive process of mountaintop removal or in cities resisting the placement of toxic industries near low-income communities our generation is taking a crucial role in this process.

In the Pacific Northwest, we face numerous and complex problems. There is the export of coal to Asian markets, the expansion of clear cutting in ancient forests, the importation of tar sands equipment, unsustainable food systems, close ties between industry and politicians, and the ongoing inequity in the distribution of environmental harm in our own communities. Yet we also know how powerful we are when we come together as a movement. Youth environmental activists have been victorious in gradually phasing out coal plants, defeating LNG export terminals, and passing some of the boldest climate legislation in the country.

That is why on November 4th-6th, members of the youth environmental movement from up and down the west coast are going to Eugene for Power Shift West. The weekend long conference will have speakers, panels, skill building workshops and opportunities to network with other leaders of the youth climate movement. We gather to deepen our understanding of the systems that are destroying the environment and to develop tools to dismantle those systems and construct equitable and sustainable alternatives.

We demand a viable future where the health of our communities and our land is put above the profit of corporations. Come join us and be part of this growing movement.

Get involved today by registering to join us at Power Shift West.

Attend on Facebook & follow us on Twitter.

CCN Members are Drawn to Washington, D.C. to Stop Keystone XL Pipeline

CCN Members are Drawn to Washington, D.C. to Stop Keystone XL Pipeline

CCN Members are Drawn to Washington, D.C. to Stop Keystone XL Pipeline

On August 20, 2011, Americans of all ages, including Bill McKibben and members of the Cascade Climate Network (Chelsea Thaw and David Kellner-Rode), kicked off the largest climate civil disobedience action in U.S. history by being arrested in front of the White House in protest of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. Over 2,000 people from all 50 states have signed up to risk arrest in the next two weeks as part of the Tar Sands Action.


James Hansen, a world-renowned climatologist, said that using the Alberta, Canada tar sands would be “essentially game over” for the climate. The tar sands are a huge threat to the climate since estimates say that they contain at least 400 GtC (equivalent to about 200 ppm CO2) according to the International Panel on Climate Change (see IPCC Fourth Assessment Report). They also require 4 barrels of water to produce 1 barrel of oil and produce 2-4 times more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil.

While I was at the Sierra Student Coalition’s Shindig gathering in St. Louis this past week, I went to a presentation on the tar sands and the Keystone XL Pipeline. I learned that the pipeline threatens biodiversity, clean water sources for people in the western United States, and land owned by residents on the path from Alberta, Canada to the oil refineries on the Gulf of Mexico (see map of proposed pipeline route here). I was most shocked that a similar pipeline has spilled 12 times in the past year (averaging once a month) since the tar sands are incredibly thick and difficult to transport. The Keystone XL would open up the heartland of the United States to oil spills similar to the BP spill.


According to the U.S. Department of State, “the proposed Keystone XL Project would consist of approximately 1,711 miles of new, 36-inch-diameter pipeline, with approximately 327 miles of pipeline in Canada and approximately 1,384 miles in the United States” (Keystone XL Project). The miles of pipeline would destroy acres of agricultural and indigenous lands.


On Wednesday, I will be joining a cross-country caravan that is holding events in different states on their way to D.C. to take part in the action. To follow the tar sands actions and caravan, please visit http://www.tarsandsaction.org/ and http://notarsandscaravan.org/.


Sign the Tar Sands Petition here: http://www.tarsandsaction.org/obama-petition/

Please contact me, Emma Newman ([email protected]), to help with spreading the word or taking other actions in solidarity of those risking arrest in Washington, D.C.

Register for Spring Fling!

Register for Spring Fling!

Register here!

We will be hanging out with our CCN friends and reflecting on who we are as an organization and how we can move forward to be the best regional climate activism network possible. We will also be talking about new leadership for the upcoming year.

Friday, May 13th (5:00pm) – Sunday, May 15th (2:00pm)
Camp Namanu in Sandy, OR (outside of Portland – map) [probably]

We’ll have cabins rented and a lodge with a kitchen.
Please bring $20 for food and lodging (If this is prohibitive we’d still love to have you)
There will be s’mores and hugs!

Please pass this along to folks in your community, and I hope to see you all in May!

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Time to Pass the Coal Free Future for Washington Act

Time to Pass the Coal Free Future for Washington Act

In the next couple of weeks Washington state legislators have a window of opportunity in which to set this green-minded state on the path to a coal free future.  By agreeing on a timeline to phase out the TransAlta Coal Plant – Washington’s biggest source of carbon, mercury, and many other pollutants – the legislature can follow in the footsteps of neighboring Oregon, which has already committed to transition off its single coal plant.  The US Pacific Northwest can provide an example for the rest of the country to follow by phasing out its reliance on the world’s dirtiest fuel.

In the last few months student on campuses from across Washington have been organizing for the state’s coal-free future.  This school year seven student governments representing over 60,000 college and university students are passing resolutions in favor of transitioning off the TransAlta Plant.  Students have been organizing campus events to educate their peers about the impacts of coal pollution and urging elected officials to support a future powered by clean energy.  However student organizing is just part of a much broader movement to replace coal with clean energy in Washington.  A diverse coalition of environmental, faith, health, and labor groups has risen to stand up for clean energy and a just transition away from burning fossil fuels.

After months of negotiating, there is finally a bill in the Washington legislature that would end coal combustion in the state – though not nearly as fast and many activists, including myself, would like.  The Coal Free Future for Washington bill (ESSB 5769) would begin the move off coal in 2020 by requiring TransAlta Corporation end the use of one of its two coal-fired smokestacks.  The remaining smokestack would come offline in 2025.  Very importantly, the bill also secures funds to help the community where the plant is located transition to other sources of employment.

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