Category Archives: Fossil Fuels

Oil Spill in Yakima River Tributary

About 1,500 gallons of used motor oil leaked from an aboveground storage tank into Sulphur Creek and the Yakima River March 1, 2015. Crews from Yakama Nation, EPA and Washington departments of Ecology and Fish and Wildlife are trying to contain the spilled oil with booms and  vacuums.

The spill happened in a region that according to Washington’s Department of Ecology is “home to hundreds of species of fish and wildlife,” including river otters, beavers, fish, muskrats, as well as wintering and migrating birds.

Read more from Climate Progress here.

Kwel Hoy’: A Totem Pole Journey

Lummi Nation launched the Totem Pole Journey on Sunday, August 17 to bring together tribes across the U.S. and Canada and to expose the environmental and cultural impacts of coal and oil transportation. The Lummi Nation has galvanized resistance to the Gateway Pacific coal export terminal proposed for Cherry Point, WA. The Gateway Pacific Terminal would export 48 million tons of coal a year from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming. The terminal threatens the Lummi way of life and the area’s ecological integrity. Read more from Grist here.Capture.

Tribes Fight to Protect Fish from Coal Train Terminals

The Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation were joined by Lummi, Quinault, and other tribes in their protest against a proposed coal terminal at Port of Morrow, Oregon. The coal terminal would result in the annual transport of nine million tons of coal aboard trains a mile and half long—much more than local ecological systems can bear and too close to the Yakama Nation’s historic treaty fishing sites on the Columbia River.

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber firmly opposed the coal export terminal in a speech to the League of Conservation Voters in April.

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Public Hearing in Spokane on Oil Transport Last Week

This article in Spokane’s Spokesman-Review describes a public hearing held by members of the state Senate Committee on Energy, Environment and Telecommunications on a bill that would regulate trains carrying crude oil across Washington. The “Spill Prevention and Response Act” would require companies to disclose the amount and type of crude oil they’re shipping. It would also levy a 5-cent-per-barrel “oil spill response tax” to fund training for first responders. The safety of transporting oil from North Dakota’s Bakken fields to refineries in western Washington and Oregon is of great concern to many, particulalry in light of several major derailment accidents, including in Quebec and Virginia.

Native Americans and First Nations Protest Keystone XL Pipeline

A recent article from Grist describes a week-long action in Washington D.C. calling on President Obama to reject construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Native American and First Nations activists were central to last week’s protest, including Idle No More, a Canadian First Nations organization that is dedicated to this vision: “Idle No More calls on all people to join in a peaceful revolution, to honour Indigenous sovereignty, and to protect the land and water.”