Cager Clabaugh isn’t the first person you’d expect to see in front of a large crowd of activists at the State Capitol. Although he’s been a longshoreman for 25 years, he’s in avid opposition to Tesoro Savage’s plan to build a massive oil terminal in his home of Vancouver.
“Would we benefit from that project being there?” he asked at the rally in Olympia this spring, “Monetarily – yes. But the risk outweighs the reward. One spill, one explosion, shuts down our port and shuts down our river. It doesn’t just affect us, it affects our community.”
On that drizzly day in May, Cager and dozens of other community leaders and activists delivered over one million signatures to Governor Inslee in opposition to coal and oil projects. Residents along railroad lines, near ports, and throughout Washington know that building more fossil fuel infrastructure is not a smart choice for our state.
“I went door to door in Vancouver neighborhoods, in between the coal train tracks and the oil terminal,” shared Glicerio Zurita-Pinacho, a community organizer with OneAmerica. “One man told me their home shakes when the trains pass by. And half of the people are immigrants, most of them are Latinos, and many of these people do not have a voice but they have to breathe polluted air.”
Glicerio and others across the state have been listening to, and amplifying, these voices of community members. And with the united efforts of the Stand Up To Oil and Power Past Coal coalitions, our one million petition delivery brings us one step closer to saying no to these proposed terminals and yes to community safety and clean energy.
Additionally, our coalitions continue to focus energy to fortify our region against President Trump’s fossil fuel agenda. Our community-driven work is strengthening our local land use codes against fossil fuels, building relationships with unlikely allies, and connecting the dots between stopping new fossil fuel infrastructure and pivoting toward clean energy solutions.
“We’ve got longshoremen – and women – we’ve got firefighters, tree huggers, and environmentalists all together, that’s an impressive bunch,” Cager said. “We will fight this to the end!”
The Stand Up To Oil and Power Past Coal coalitions represent environmental, labor, public health, first responder, faith, fishing, and business groups – together they collected and presented one million public comments against the proposed coal and oil terminals in the Pacific Northwest. Read more here.
Oil train terminals are major sources of toxic air pollution. Tesoro would release smog-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs), diesel exhaust, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and other pollutants linked to increased cancer rates. Tesoro Savage is tries to downplay this impact.