Things are getting hot in the Northwest.
This past weekend, youth and radical activists took to the streets in what will become an increasing escalation of actions to stop western coal port expansion and exports.
In Missoula, MT, Olympia, WA and Eugene and Portland, OR, activists associated with the Cascade Climate Network and Rising Tide North America made their presence known. At Rocky Mountain Powershift in Missoula, a march traveled to the offices of pro-coal legislators, pro-coal banks, and rail yards used to transport coal to coastal cities. In Olympia, students met with state legislators over proposed coal export terminals. In Eugene, “No Coal Eugene” dropped a banner from a multi-story parking garage that read “Stop the Coal Train.” In Portland, the Cascade Climate Network and Portland Rising Tide liberated a billboard with anti-coal port messaging.
Coal companies operating in the intermountain west states of Montana and Wyoming have teamed up with shipping companies to seek permitting to build coal export terminals on the Washington and Oregon coasts. The coal industry has seen their coal burning markets in the U.S. shrink due to competitive natural gas markets (we also don’t like that), increased green house gas regulations, and aggressive environmental campaigns to shut down coal plants. Now they plan to mine the coal from the Powder River Basin and ship it via the West Coast coal terminals to Asian markets for profit.
The youth on the ground aren’t buying it. In fact they are fighting back.
From this weekend’s actions came a call to action for a Coal Exports Action in Helena Montana targeting the Montana Land Board and their impending decision to further open up coal reserves in the Powder River Basin (the “Saudi Arabia of Coal.”)
The ten day action is planned for later this summer in August.