TRULY…SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE!
- Lisa Arkin, Beyond Toxics Executive Director, leads a rally near the Oct. 8th 2012 City Council hearing on coal exports
Did you hear the news? The threat of coal trains rumbling through Lane County is over!
We know that all the grassroots protests organized by Beyond Toxics, our allies and our supporters made a big difference in building a public outcry of opposition to dirty coal trains in our part of Oregon. Indeed, public opinion and the vote against coal trains by the Eugene City Council all helped dissuade the final energy investor from joining the Port of Coos Bay’s plans to build a coal terminal.
We worked together to stop a common threat to all of us in Lane County: to our health, to our environment and to the economic viability of our local farms.
Sierra Club wins records ruling on Coos Bay coal export plans BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS – January 31, 2013
On October 23rd the Eugene City Council voted 5-3 in favor of Councilor Alan Zelenka’s resolution to restrict the export of coal by train through Eugene’s rail yard and our neighborhoods in West Eugene* | (OPB report)
In favor (our advocated position): Councilors Brown, Ortiz, Pryor, Taylor and Zelenka
Opposed: Councilors Clark, Farr and Poling
Please contact your elected leaders to let them know your gratitude or disappointment with their vote: Eugene’s Mayor and City Council contact information.
*More detail: (from the R-G story) “The resolution directs city attorneys to research whether the city could use state and federal public health and safety laws to prevent the transport of coal in its boundaries. It also supports the request by Gov. John Kitzhaber for the federal government to conduct a comprehensive environmental review of how coal exports and the burning of coal in Asia would affect the Northwest.” ALSO: “The city’s resolution will be sent to state and federal elected officials, including Kitzhaber, U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and appointed U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.”
Coal companies, seeing little future growth domestically, have a new plan: strip-mine coal in Montana and Wyoming, transport it on long coal trains and massive cargo ships through Washington and Oregon, and sell it to Asia.
The Powder River Basin is one of the largest coal reserves in the world, and the easiest gateway to get that strip-mined coal to Asia is through West Coast ports, especially Washington and Oregon.
Currently, the nation’s two largest coal companies, Arch Coal and Peabody, and the Australian-based Ambre Energy, are working on massive coal export terminals at Longview, WA and Cherry Point, north of Bellingham, WA. There are also potential proposals for many other communities, including two along the Columbia River at St. Helens, OR and Boardman, OR and another at Coos Bay, OR. Recently, RailAmerica shelved plans for a coal export terminal at Grays Harbor, WA.
Coal is the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fossil fuel. Being a gateway for coal export would fly in the face of our region’s leadership in the clean energy economy. Shipping up to a hundred million tons of coal a year to Asia through West Coast ports would spread toxic coal dust in dozens of the rail communities, clog our railroads and ports, risk our families’ health, pollute our air and water, and stoke the climate crisis.
It’s a simple decision for many of us in the Northwest. Do you want you, your family and your community’s health and safety threatened so that an industry in it’s last dying days can squeeze out a little more profit before becoming a distant memory in the world’s transition to a clean, green energy future? We at Beyond Toxics believe we speak for a great many concerned citizens in Oregon when we say, “No Thanks!” to coal transit through Oregon and the Northwest.
- TAKE ACTION
- News and Resources
- Safety Issues and Concerns of Coal Train Transit
- Economics of Coal and Coal Trains
Coal: Road to riches or the wrong track?
Eugene City Council plans to hear both sides of the train debate by EDWARD RUSSO, Eugene Register-Guard (September 16, 2012)
TAKE ACTION FOR CITY OF EUGENE Resolution…Tell your elected representatives that we need to protect local residents from dirty coal exports!
MORE Background – Stop Coal in Oregon
One pound of coal dust expelled for every mile a train car loaded with coal travels – that is the estimated amount of air pollution expected from transporting coal through the Columbia Gorge, down the Willamette Valley and into the Eugene rail yard. Beyond Toxics is battling to help communities living near rail tracks stop coal trains from rumbling and polluting throughout their neighborhoods.
A brief video, “Coal Export Threatens the Northwest” which sums up the dangers to all of us in the Northwest who live near the path of these trains:
As an advocacy group working to end environmental injustice, we are concerned about the harm from coal dust accumulation from shipping massive volumes of coal. That is why Beyond Toxics filed a public records request with the Port of Coos Bay to find out what the real plans are to transport coal through our state. We were sent a bill for nearly $22,000! That is how a coal company chills the public’s right to know and stifles our ability to take action. These charges were appealed; read about how we won!
We won’t give in. You and I know that the coal industry is corrupt and their scheme to mine coal here and ship it overseas is destructive and unnecessary.
Stopping coal is about a number of issues that are at the top of an environmentalist’s worst nightmares: destruction of mountains and streams, fossil fuel dependence, air and water pollution, devastation to our coastal estuaries, global warming, climate justice, and the health consequences of exposure to coal dust and diesel particulate.
Oregon must stand up to Big Coal with a Big “NO!” We will be an active player to stop this new threat to our environment. When you become a member of Beyond Toxics, you give us the clout to stop these corporate plans to use our lungs as the dumping ground for coal dust. Let’s work together to stop coal, and put renewable energy and children’s health first.
See more photos from the Eugene Celebration Parade entry, “King Coal and the Fossil Fools” on our Facebook page.
Beyond Toxics is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all contributions are fully tax-deductible. Please consider giving a gift of a Beyond Toxics membership to a friend or family member!