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!