In It To Win It: Stories from RAN’s Northwest Coal Summit

By Rainforest Action Network

Photo by Anthony Bolante © The Image ArsenalChange comes from the bottom up. Ask Grace Lee Boggs. Ask Bill McKibben. And if you can go back in time, ask pre-2008 Barack Obama.

That’s why RAN was both eager and proud to host a skill-share for Northwest coal activists who are intent on stopping the expansion of two proposed coal export terminals — the launch pads to send coal, our deadliest and dirtiest fuel source, to countries such as China and North Korea so they can develop in the same dirty way that the US did.

Activists came from as far away as Bellingham and Portland, each with a different background and story for getting involved in the No Coal movement. Here’s Emma Bee from the Beehive Collective telling her story:

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Going for the win over coal

Why are these activists (photos below) so fired up to make change? Consider these facts about the proposed coal export terminals at Cherry Point and Longview in Washington State:

  • The proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT) in Cherry Point, WA, would transport between 24-48 million tons of coal annually.
  • Along the rail line, coal dust will fly unimpeded into neighboring communities. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), coal dust has been shown to cause bronchitis, emphysema, and black lung disease in exposed coal workers.
  • We need to peak emissions by 2015 if we are to stop the climate crisis from worsening. We cannot afford to be building new mechanisms for coal to be transported and burned.

The activists who came to the camp, along with thousands of other concerned citizens, will fight tooth and nail to stop these terminals from being built. A coalition of NGOs including RAN, Climate Solutions, and the Sierra Club are proud to join them, and after the skill-share we are all a little more ready to go for the win. No more coal!