Slowing the “Fast Track”

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The Raging Grannies listen to Elizabeth Swager of the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign (not pictured). Photo: Oregon Fair Trade Campaign 2014.

Portlanders braved the chilly winter weather on Friday, November 14th, to bring a message to Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Senator Ron Wyden: Oppose Fast Track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact.

‘Fast Track’ is an expired, Nixon-era policy-making process that allows legislation to circumvent ordinary Congressional review, amendment and debate procedures.

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership… What’s to Review?

[Our own Bonnie McKinlay spoke recently at a rally to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an international trade agreement that could be approved by Congress without any public debate. If you’re not familiar, Bonnie’s words are are great introduction to what’s at stake.]

I’m here to talk about climate and TPP.

To speak on climate I would review the most recent information — latest science, latest fossil fuel extraction plans, on-going droughts… species loss.

To speak on TPP’s effects on climate, what’s to review? Most of the contents of the TransPacific Partnership are secret. Eleven nations and the U.S. Congress are asked to sign a secret trade agreement that they are not permitted to share with their constituents. This eliminates any opportunity to voice our views on the specifics of the trade pact. The TTP is so secret that our elected representatives must approach it without recording devices of any kind, including paper and pencil.  They are permitted no open debate on the TPP. However, 600 corporate representatives, such as Monsanto and the American Petroleum Institute, have full access to the document. We don’t know much about the TPP. What we do know comes from WikiLeaks and the disastrous history of NAFTA. Read more

Kathleen Dean Moore: “If Your House Is On Fire”

350 PDX, Oregon Interfaith Power & Light, Greenpeace, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility present: Kathleen Dean Moore, distinguished Professor of Philosophy, environmental ethicist, and co-editor of Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril, speaking on climate activism. This is a FREE event.

Saturday, September 21, 2:00pm
First United Methodist Church, 1838 SW Jefferson, Portland 97201

Workshops will follow at 3:15pm. Topics include comment writing for the Longview coal export terminal scoping process, NW fossil fuel exports, and divestment.

Getting there:
– Blue and Red MAX lines stop at Goose Hollow.
– TriMet Bus lines 6, 58 and 68 stop at the church.
– Lines 51 and the 63 stop a few blocks away.
– Free parking at the Church

For more information contact Bonnie McKinlay at 350pdx@gmail or 503-705-1943.

Sun Magazine interview with Kathleen Dean Moore

Longview Terminal Comment Period Begins August 16

Cowlitz County, WA recently issued a letter announcing the beginning of a 95-day comment period, from August 16 to November 18, requesting comments on the appropriate scope of the EIS for the proposed Millenium coal terminal at Longview. This is the second largest of the three coal terminals actively under review in the Northwest. There are a variety of ways to submit your comments, detailed here. All comments will be given consideration by the agencies.

Unlike the DEQ hearing regarding the permitting of the Morrow Pacific Terminal Project in Boardman, OR, Washington’s scoping comment collection and hearing process welcomes input on all aspects of coal export. This ranges from strip mine extraction in the Powder River Basin, transportation through our region, and the effects of burning the coal in Asia.

The first in a series of scoping hearings throughout Washington will take place on Tuesday, September 17th, 5-8pm at the Cowlitz Expo Center in Longview, WA. Although the oral testimony period is limited to two minutes, you may email/send in as many comments as you like. We encourage you to attend the Longview hearing to show opposition to the development of the Longview Terminal.

For assistance on writing comments and testimonies, visit www.powerpastcoal.org or read 101 Reasons to Be Against Coal Exports.

Workshops on comment-writing will be held at the following locations:

  • Longview: Monday, August 26, 6:30pm. Cowlitz PUD, 961 12th Ave
  • Portland: Saturday, September 7, 3:00-5:00pm. First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1126 SW Park

Summer Heat / Columbia River Climate Action

Photo credit: Alex Milan Tracy

Photo credit: Alex Milan Tracy

On Saturday, July 27th, Summer Heat came on strong in the Pacific Northwest. More than 800 engaged citizens gathered at Vancouver Landing in Vancouver, WA, to make a big display, symbolically blockading the Columbia River against planned fossil fuel export terminals in the area. The Northwest is quickly becoming a hotspot in the fight against expanded usage of fossil fuels. Our region is poised to play a pivotal role with projects that could release hundreds of millions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year. If we stop these terminals that means they can’t ship it. If they can’t ship it, they can’t sell it. That means it stays in the ground.

350 PDX was one of many organizations that brought people into the action. Activists traveled from Corvallis, Eugene, and Salem in the south, and Seattle, Bellingham, Astoria, Hood River, and the Tri-Cities to the north, to have a peaceful day of workshops and speaking, culminating in a show on the river and along the I-5 bridge.

It was a beautiful and energizing day, and a great step in building this movement to quicken the end of the fossil fuel economy that threatens our way of life.