August 31, 2015 - SPOKANE, WA – Today, a group of Spokane citizens occupied railroad tracks at 2302 E. Trent in protest of fossil fuel trains. The direct action was carried out in defense of the health of people and nature locally and across the planet due to the growing impacts of climate change. The burning of fossil fuels is the leading cause of global climate change.
Trains from BNSF, Union Pacific, and Canadian Pacific that pass through the city and county of Spokane carry Bakken crude oil from North Dakota, Tar Sands crude oil from Canada, and coal from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming. The crude oil is bound for refineries in the Northwest and Canada and will eventually be burned domestically and internationally. The coal is bound for export terminals in the United States and Canada for shipment to Asia to be burned in coal-fired power plants.
“Climate change is THE most urgent issue of our time. Today, short-term profit by fossil fuel corporations is coming at the cost of environmental destruction and our children’s future,” said Margie Heller, oil train blockade protester and member of the Raging Grannies - an activist group dedicated to nonviolence in the name of social and environmental justice.
Additionally, Robert Bonnie, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment for the USDA, said in a recent interview that there is “no question” that climate change is the primary contributing factor to the intensity and quantity of wildfires seen in the last number of years.
Washington State experienced its worst wildfire season on record last summer, and Spokane is currently experiencing the very local impacts of climate change with unhealthy air quality from the smoke of nearby wildfires.
Though there has been lots of talk for years, there’s been very limited action taken to confront the climate threat caused by the transportation, storage, refinement, and burning of fossil fuels. The overall response, both in seriousness and substance, by local, state, and national authorities, has been woefully inadequate to actually confront climate change in the way the earth demands.
“There is incredible denial surrounding this issue of fossil fuels and no one is talking about the perils that await us if government and societies do not take action now,” says Deena Romoff, protester involved with the Spokane oil train blockade. “This is why I need to take action now...I can no longer wait!”
Direct Action Spokane stands in solidarity with on-going actions around the country working to stop the burning of fossil fuels. Direct Action Spokane is also committed to stopping the transport of oil and coal trains through Spokane and calls on other communities, up and down the rail line, to do the same.
Media Contact: Kai Huschke