220 Jewett Blvd, PO Box 218, White Salmon, WA 98672 | 509.493.2112
Coal export, climate change activities take to the streets
In downtown Hood River
March 19, 2013
Over 100 residents from both Oregon and Washington marched through Hood River on March 13 chanting slogans and ringing bells to Sound-the-Alarm on coal exports and climate change.
At issue is an upcoming decision on the first permit for a coal export terminal (Morrow-Pacific) in the Pacific Northwest -- to be granted or denied -- by the Oregon Department of State Lands and Governor Kitzhaber.
The Australian firm, Ambre Energy has proposed to ship coal through the Columbia Gorge by barge, doubling amount of industrial barge traffic on the Columbia River.
The rally was co-sponsored by the Gorge Ecumenical Ministries who see the issue of climate change as a moral/ethical issue and coal burning as an immoral way to provide electric power.
Pastor John Boonstra of Bethel Community Church, White Salmon, told the crowd that "We will not allow the business plans of the fossil fuel industry to chew us up, and spit us out, and leave us used-up on a depleted and lifeless planet...I remind us today, that our political work is our spiritual work."
Concern was expressed over impacts to the Columbia Gorge
"We cannot let the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, one of the scenic wonders of the world, become the coal chute for the nation. As baby boomers, we must take responsibility for handing off a climate viable world to younger generations before it's too late. This coal needs to stay in the ground!" according to environmental organizer Peter Cornelison of Friends of the Columbia Gorge, a member of the Power Past Coal Coalition.
Hood River Mayor Arthur Babitz stated that "There are not two sides to this question (of coal exports). Oregon will lose; the world will lose if these ill-considered plans move forward."
Reverend Anna Carmichael of St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Hood River said "When we start caring about our environment, then we realize how much we are deeply connected to one another. We have a responsibility to work for the just transformation of the world's energy beyond and away from fossil fuels and toward safe, sustainable, renewable, community controlled energy."
White Salmon High School Student Perry Knowles said that "In school, we learned something about coal-- It's dirty. When you hold it and put it down, marks are left on your hands. And that's exactly what coal does to the Earth. Coal accounts for 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. That's one fifth of all earth damaging gasses. Should we let more coal be shipped out into the world to add to this number?"
As this rally was happening an identical rally was being held in Salem, Ore., where over 450 activists delivered the same message to Oregon government on the steps of the state capital in Salem: "Deny this permit, save the Pacific Northwest from coal exports and address climate change!"