21 Nov Oil Fracking Train Blockaded in Olympia
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Olympia WA – A climate justice coalition identified as Olympia Stand has staged a blockade of an oil fracking train departing from the Port of Olympia. The blockade was constructed on Friday, Nov. 17 at the intersection of 7th and Jefferson St. in downtown Olympia. The Blockade is now entering its fifth day. This action comes upon the one year anniversary of a similar action against the Port of Olympia’s transport of fracking proppants, in which all rail commerce to and from the Port was halted for a week. Olympia Stand and other participants in the action have issued the following demands upon the Port of Olympia:
- The Port of Olympia cease all fossil fuel and military infrastructure shipments.
- Democratic control of the Port of Olympia by the community as a whole.
- A Just Transition for port and rail workers to good, green jobs, and for the economy of Thurston County as a whole to transition to a cooperative, fair and sustainable economy.
During last year’s blockade, inspired by the Standing Rock water protectors, hundreds of people collaborated to construct a makeshift camp on the train tracks. The blockade was evicted on the seventh day through the joint and overwhelming force of Washington State Patrol, Olympia Police Department, Thurston County Sheriff’s Department and Union Pacific Police Department. During the eviction, twelve demonstrators were arrested and others were struck with less-lethal weapons.
This year, the blockade is a vibrant camp, host to daily meetings, a kitchen and dishwashing station, a literature table and numerous tents where many demonstrators have lived for these last five days.
In the last year, the Port of Olympia has continued to enable fracking (a resource-intensive method of extracting natural gas from underground shale formations) and other harmful fossil fuel production to continue unabated. Meanwhile, 2016, the hottest year to ever be recorded on earth, saw the brutal, militarized repression of the Stand Rock Sioux Tribe and their resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline, as well as one of the most destructive storm seasons in living memory, with thousands of lives — from Houston, to Bangladesh and Puerto Rico — lost to climate change-amplified hurricanes, typhoons and floods. In addition, the links between fracking, groundwater pollution, toxic air pollution and man-made earthquakes have grown even stronger with a series of studies released. These deadly storms especially impact the Global South, indigenous people, people of color, women, children, the working class and poor people, who are also those least responsible for causing climate change and pollution. On Thursday, Nov. 16, the Keystone pipeline was announced to have spilled over 200,000 gallons of oil near the town of Amherst, South Dakota. This is the largest spill to date from the controversial pipeline, once again proving that there are no safe methods for transporting dangerous fuels.
Additionally, according to Little Hollywood, The 2018 Port of Olympia budget proposal includes the purchase of two new log loaders costing the Port of Olympia $1.8 million if they are bought outright, but $3 million with financing over 20 years. This purchase would cost the taxpayers, hurt the longshore workers by cutting their hours, and contributes to deforestation and ecological degradation. Olympia Stand opposes the Port’s complicity in destructive logging practices.
Olympia Stand and other participants believe climate change must be stopped by engaging in nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience against fossil fuel infrastructure. Train blockades, port shutdowns, and occupations of pipeline construction sites are all tactics to shut down industries that cause pollution and natural disasters, which will cause millions of preventable deaths in the coming century. Policy-makers can continue to take no action on this issue, and doom future generations to an uninhabitable planet, or they can follow the lead of people around the world working for a Just Transition away from fossil fuels and extractive economies. Meanwhile, we will continue to fight, whether they like it or not.
Olympia Stand is calling for volunteers to join the fight against fossil fuels. Ways supporters can help include:
- Donating cash, food, building supplies, waterproof gear, warm clothes, first aid supplies to those at the blockade.
- Attending Port of Olympia and City Council meetings to voice public opposition to fossil fuel shipments.
- Joining the blockade camp to hold the line against fracking infrastructure leaving the port.
Link to Fundraiser: http://Rally.org/antifracking-olympiastand