The Pacific Northwest has faced an onslaught of new fossil fuel projects. In response, communities across the entire state and region have been standing up together, speaking out against these plans, and working to forge a path toward a stronger clean energy future. Together, we have stopped 8 out of 8 new oil terminals and are on our way to stopping the last remaining coal terminal proposed!
We are making an impact because we work to mobilize communities, engage decision makers, deploy legal tools, and elevate the issue in public to stand up against the fossil fuel companies and prevent the expansion of coal export and oil transport facilities through the Northwest. Additionally, the Trump Administration is rolling back protections and pushing ahead dirty energy projects. We must continue to work together to stay no to coal, oil and fracked gas and work alongside communities to reduce the risk of these proposals.
Standing Up To Oil
Oil transported by train, pipeline, and tanker vessels impacts all of Washington – from Spokane to Vancouver to Grays Harbor to Bellingham. And right now, Washington continues to be in the cross-hairs of an oil industry working to extract and move more oil through our region at all cost.
WEC is a founding member of Stand Up to Oil, a growing coalition of groups opposed to new oil terminals and an increase in oil transport through the Northwest, while at the same time working to improve safety measures for the oil currently traveling through the region. As a statewide organization, WEC is working with our partner groups to fight back against the oil industry and to build the coalition needed to transition away from these dangerous projects.
After stopping 8 out of 8 terminals, WEC and the Stand Up To Oil campaign is continuing our work across the region to address ongoing threats of oil transportation, proactively put in place protection measures to stop new terminals before they are proposed, stay on top of new threats, and support the work of others in the fight against the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project in British Columbia along with the corresponding Puget Sound pipeline spur that feeds Washington’s four northern refineries.
Key areas of work
- Stopping new projects: Our region is the fastest, cheapest way out to the Asian markets which means we are continually at risk of new projects. The oil industry continues to seek ways to move their product out and we are in their target. We have five refineries in our state that have the potential to become export terminals. At the same time, a massive pipeline expansion is being proposed in our backyard, with a potential for an additional and related project. The Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project in British Columbia would result in more heavy oil traveling through the Salish Sea, more than doubling the crude oil flowing through the pipeline: 890,000 barrels of heavy Alberta tar sands every day. This project has diverse and broad opposition and the Stand Up To Oil campaign works to support the leadership of First Nations and the work of communities in British Columbia. In addition to the current project on the table, there is a potential that the Puget Sound Pipeline could be targeted for expansion.
- Preventing oil spills and ensuring safe transport of what is already here: WEC has been working for many years to pass protection measures at the state level that increase our state’s ability to prevent and prepare for oil spills.
- Protecting the health and safety of communities: WEC and our partners are working locally to pass protection measures that ban new fossil fuel projects before they are proposed. Key communities include Tacoma, Whatcom County, and Vancouver.
- Ensuring full and thorough evaluation of impacts: In collaboration with our partners and Earthjustice, WEC is ensuring that each of the terminals receive a full and thorough review, with ample opportunities for public input. WEC is also working on local, state, and federal policies to both make it more difficult to build terminals and to ensure the safe transport of the oil already coming into our region to the Washington’s five refineries. We are working in the legislature, educating the public on these issues, and providing citizens with the opportunity to speak up.
Powering Past Coal
Americans have turned to cleaner energy, and we are moving beyond the dirty, outdated fossil fuels of the past. WEC is a founding member of the Power Past Coal coalition, which helps communities stand up against plans to build massive coal export terminals in the region and look to a better, cleaner future for our children and communities.
Coal is the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fossil fuel. Becoming 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 communities all along the rail line, clog our railroads and ports, risk our families’ health, pollute our air and water, and stoke the climate crisis.
We can do better than coal export to build our region’s economy. Washington and Oregon have a long and proud history of economic innovation, and our region already supports thousands of high-tech and clean energy jobs. We should focus on building those industries – not supporting and becoming a middleman in the world’s industries of the past like dirty coal.
We need to power past coal. We can do better, keeping our local economies strong and the places we love intact for our families. The costs to our health, quality of life, and our home towns are too high.