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Let’s Fight For A Fossil Free KC

by Jess Wallach

Across the US, local governments are banning new fossil fuel infrastructure. Next month, King County Councilmember Upthegrove will introduce an ordinance that we expect will see King County implement the strongest prohibition on new fossil fuel infrastructure anywhere in the United States. We need your help to make sure it passes.

Two years ago, Portland became the first city in the US to ban new fossil fuel infrastructure.

Recognizing that local governments have constitutional power to protect the health and safety of their residents, Portland changed its land use zoning codes to prohibit new bulk fossil fuel storage facilities (i.e. large storage tanks for coal, oil and gas). Other communities under threat from the fossil fuel industry – Vancouver, Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Tacoma, Whatcom County and Baltimore, MD – soon followed with similar ordinances. Together, these communities have established a proven legal pathway for municipal governments to protect residents from toxic air, water and climate pollution.

King County is poised to be next.

In January 2019, King County Councilmember Upthegrove will introduce an ordinance that we expect will prohibit major new fossil fuel infrastructure, which would effectively prohibit significant expansions to existing gas infrastructure and ban new fossil fuel storage facilities in King County. To be more exact, the anticipated ordinance will do two things:

  1. Direct County staff to study and recommend changes to County land use and other regulatory frameworks to prohibit all new fossil fuel infrastructure to the greatest extent legally possible; and
  2. Establish a common-sense moratorium that freezes all new fossil fuel infrastructure development while these changes are being made.

By making changes to land use zoning code, King County can prohibit new fossil fuel bulk storage terminals, blocking any new refinery or export projects on unincorporated County land. By strengthening County permitting criteria to protect local communities from health, safety and financial risks, King County can critically slow down – and perhaps effectively stop – the buildout of existing fossil fuel infrastructure like fracked gas pipelines and oil-by-rail. And by proactively prohibiting new fossil fuel infrastructure, King County can become the next brick in the wall of West Coast communities prohibiting the expansion of dangerous fossil fuel infrastructure.

Undoubtedly, the fossil fuel industry and fossil fuel-hungry utilities like Puget Sound Energy will do everything in their power to fight this ordinance. That’s where you come in – we need your help to build powerful community support that resonates more loudly than fossil fuel industry money.

We’ll win by generating phone calls and emails to Council members, showing up to King County Council meetings, and ensuring that King County Council members know that their communities support bold climate action.

Will you join us? There are 3 things you can do right now to help:

  1. Take 30 seconds and sign our petition to King County leaders in support of a Fossil Free Future.
  2. Sign up here for the Fossil Free KC mailing list to get campaign updates and action opportunities.
  3. Join our next Fossil Free KC Action Meeting on December 13th! 6:30-7:30pm at 1919 E Prospect St, Seattle WA 98122

We know that the first step to getting out of a hole is to stop digging. Yet the fossil fuel industry is continuing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year on looking for new fossil fuels, and will do everything in its power to extract them and bring them to market ― even if it means the whole world burns.

This January, we have the chance to pass meaningful local legislation in King County that will help prevent the fossil fuel industry from digging the climate hole even deeper. But it will take all of us to ensure that this ordinance passes.

If you have questions, or want to jump in and help us win a Fossil Free Future please contact jess@350seattle.org. And if you want to read more about the campaign you can do that here.

Together, we can win.

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Unis’to’ten Camp: Heal the People Heal the Land

by Andrew Eckels

(photo credit: itsgoingdown.org)

For nearly ten years, the Unist’ot’en Camp has been a leader in indigenous anti-colonial resistance and the movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Now, they are asking for help.  

Located in Northern (so-called) British Columbia in the unceded territories of the Wet’suwet’en nation, a cabin, bunkhouse, and three-story healing center sit in the direct path of TransCanada’s Coastal Gaslink Pipeline, Chevron’s Pacific Trails Pipeline, and the former route of the now dead Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline. The pipelines would link BC’s ports (and thus Asian markets) to its fracking industry—and later, potentially, to Alberta’s tar sands; the gas pipeline contracts stipulate that after 5 years they can carry tar sands  to brand new export terminals.

The Unis’to’ten camp sits on the shore of the Wedzin Kwa, a salmon-bearing glacial river that provides clean drinking water and is surrounded by forests with plentiful wildlife. The only way to access the Unist’ot’en Clan’s mountainous territory, and a significant portion of the proposed pipeline route, is by crossing a one-lane bridge. At the bridge the Unist’ot’en have installed a gate and a checkpoint, where they enforce their right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent, and all visitors must answer questions about the nature of their visit to be granted access to their territory.

For almost ten years, oil and gas workers who have attempted to cross the bridge have been turned away, and work crews who have landed in the territory via helicopter have been told to leave. In 2014, during the height of the Idle No More movement, video of the Unist’to’en evicting industry helicopters from their territory went viral and was an inspiration to land defenders around the world. For me, it was an inspiration to visit the camp and find out how I could lend support.

While opposition to pipelines was the impetus for the camp and an attraction for many visitors, the larger vision for the Unist’ot’en has been for the camp to play a central role in healing their community from the impact of generations of colonialism, and to assert their sovereignty over the little remaining territory where they can still hunt and gather medicine and foods. For the Unist’ot’en, connection to the land and culture is central to the process of healing, and the construction of pipelines threatens to take that away from them.

Unsurrendered Land

Like most land in British Columbia, Unist’ot’en territory is unceded, meaning they never signed any treaties with the Canadian government, never sold their land, nor lost it in war. The Unist’ot’en are unique in that they and the other clans of the Wet’suwet’en nation won the first major land claims case in the Supreme Court of Canada: Delgamuux vs The Queen. In that case, the courts acknowledged that the Hereditary Chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en and Gixtsan nations held title over all of their traditional territories encompassing 58,000 square kilometers.

All the Hereditary chiefs of the Wets’suwet’en nation have stood in firm opposition to all proposed pipelines, and have been exercising their own pre-colonial laws to prevent construction. Freda Huson, spokesperson for the camp, has been clear that the camp is not a protest or demonstration, it is an occupation of their traditional homelands. Industry and the pipeline-supporting Canadian government have been trying to circumvent the authority of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs by signing agreements with band councils, but the Canadian government’s own legal precedent compels it to gain the consent of pre-colonial indigenous governing bodies.

Movement Solidarity

Over the years, the outpouring of solidarity for the camp has been impressive. Thousands of visitors have spent time at the camp, holding the frontline and helping to fundraise and build multiple significant structures. When pressure from industry and government mounted on the camp in 2015 and police threatened to violently evict its peaceful residents, grassroots groups mobilized to the frontline and organized solidarity actions at banks, industry offices, and embassies including the Canadian Embassy in Seattle. In that moment, the international pressure was enough to give the state pause, and they backed off from a raid.

Now, after a couple years of quiet, the fossil fuel industry has won  final investment in its LNG Canada export terminal, and is launching another offensive against the camp. Last week, TransCanada filed for both an injunction and a SLAPP suit against leaders of the camp. They have a court hearing scheduled for Monday, December 10th and could have an injunction granted as early as the next day that could allow police to evict the camp.

It appears the fossil fuel industry’s strategy is to try to push through in the dead of winter while people and media are distracted with the holidays, and leaders of the camp are caring for ailing relatives ― one of the two camp leaders, Hereditary Chief Smogelgem, is currently caring for his sick mother in palliative care. We cannot let them get away with this. The camp is calling for people to show solidarity. You can do that by…

  • Donating.

    Make a donation directly to the camp here: Unistoten.Camp/Donate
  • Joining the Camp.

    The camp has put out a call for people to travel to the camp and to stand with them. And here in Coast Salish Territory, it’s not far—Vancouver and Seattle are the only big metropolitan areas near to the camp. If you are in a position to do so, please consider going to camp. If going to camp you MUST register here first.

  • Organizing a fundraiser for the camp.

    The camp requests that all fundraising is done with their consent, and that consent is given before fundraising begins. You can contact the camp through their Facebook page.
  • Organizing a Solidarity Action

    The camp has called for solidarity actions around Turtle Island and so-called Canada. Possible targets include the Canadian Consulate and Chase, the largest funder of TransCanada. If organizing your own action, please seek consent before organizing a solidarity action by making contact with camp leaders through Facebook.

  • Spreading the Word on Social Media

    Please share this social media post to help us spread the word.

The Unist’ot’en Camp has been a key leader in the movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground, and a critical inspiration for indigenous anti-colonial resistance and healing. For nearly ten years, they have been living on the frontline and preventing one of the largest expansions of the fossil fuel industry in North America, fighting a fight that has received little attention or resistance from NGOs since the defeat of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline.  

The time for solidarity is now. As a young person with my heart in the fight for climate justice I call on all of my peers and comrades to mobilize in solidarity with the Unist’ot’en camp in their time of need in whatever way you can.


~~~

 

Andrew, who just finished 7 months working as an organizer for 1631, has spent time at camp every year since 2014 and has been in contact with camp leaders since TransCanada’s recent move to have the camp evicted.

 

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Today, We’re Stronger

We won’t mince words. Locally, last night sucked. Despite the largest, most diverse coalition in WA state history, and despite the heroic efforts of 6,500 volunteers, I-1631 probably lost. But if we broaden our view to take in the rest of the country, it’s important to understand what we gained:

  • Democrats won 7 governorships held by Republicans ― in IL, KS, ME, MI, NM, NV, WI.

    This is the most governships that have changed party since 1994. It means that a majority of Americans now live in states that support the U.S. commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement. Most of these seven new Governors ran on platforms promising swift transitions to clean energy and aggressive climate pollution reduction measures. Their positions in Governor’s mansions gives them the power to follow through on their promises. (The fact that Kansas is no longer governed by monstrous climate denier and vote suppressor Kris Kobach but instead by Laura Kelly, a strong champion of climate action and democracy, is particularly notable.)

  • Democrats now control the state legislature and the governorships in fossil fuel-heavy states Illinois and Colorado

    Illinois is one the country’s major coal producers. Colorado one of the largest oil and gas states. In both states, the governorships and state legislatures and now solidly controlled by Democrats, making regulation and managed decline of these industries more likely than ever.

  • Stephanie Garcia Richard won the Land Commissioner race in New Mexico.

    This might seem like an odd one to hold up ― but it’s huge. New Mexico’s Land Commissioner essentially has sole control over public lands in the state. And New Mexico’s public lands are home to the Permian Basin, which is the largest new potential carbon bomb in the world today. Stephanie Garcia Richard won running on a platform to stop the expansion of fracking and drilling for oil and gas in the Basin. Chevron, the top leaseholder in the Permian, spent many millions to defeat her, but lost.

  • Portland passed the Portland Clean Energy Fund by an overwhelming margin.

    The Portland Clean Energy Fund passed with a whopping 64% of the vote. This ballot measure creates a 1% surcharge on retailers with over $1 billion in annual nationwide revenue and over $500,000 in annual Portland revenue. The resultant funds ― of at least $30 million a year ― will be spent on local clean energy projects such as rooftop solar, energy efficiency weatherization, job training in clean energy trades, community gardens, tree canopy planting, and more. In all projects, priority will be given to low-income households and communities of color, since these communities are disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change.

  • Nevada passed a ballot initiative mandating a vastly improved renewable energy standard.

    Nevada will now have at least 50% of its electricity coming from renewable energy by 2030.

  • 19 of the likely 54 new Democrats in the House of Representatives have taken the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge

    As we have seen in WA, fossil fuel money is a diabolical influence on our political system. The fact that nineteen congressional candidates won after pledging to refuse all fossil fuel industry contributions is real validation for rejecting industry money and influence. In addition, it looks like this is a trend set to continue: Preliminary analysis of campaign finance data from the Center for Responsive Politics indicates that fossil fuel industry money was less than ¼ of one percent of all money raised by Democrats running for the House in 2018. The time is now ripe for Democratic leadership to take a stance fully rejecting all fossil fuel industry donations.

  • Congress is going from zero Native American congresswomen and zero Muslim women to two Native American women and two Muslim women.

    New Mexican voters elected Native American Deb Haaland to Congress. Haaland has pledged to vote against all new fossil fuel infrastructure, in line with climate science and the Paris climate goals. She is a strong advocate for Indigenous rights and climate justice. Meanwhile, Minnesotans elected Ilhan Omar, who ran a proudly fossil-free campaign and vocally opposing the Line 3 tar sands pipeline, voters in Kansas elected Native American woman Sharice Davids and Michigan proudly elected Rashida Tlaib.

If it holds, the defeat of I-1631 is still a tragedy—yet, the truth is that even in defeat we have accomplished a lot. For a start, Yes on 1631 focused the country’s attention on the need for urgent climate action: USA Today and the New York Times were just two of the major national papers that endorsed Yes on 1631; here in Washington, we’ve helped influence the national conversation in a real, lasting way.

Yet more importantly, we are stronger today because of what we have experienced together. No one organization can even begin to meaningfully take on the challenge of confronting climate change alone. This is history’s greatest problem, and it will take all of us to confront it. Here in Washington we are in a better place than ever to do that. Our coalition has never been stronger, more determined, or more unified. As our friend Ahmed Gaya, the Yes on 1631 Field Director, wrote today: “This problem isn’t going anywhere and neither are we.”

As we look toward tomorrow, we look forward to what comes next ― and we look forward to seeing you there.

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October Newsletter!

Say No to Fracked Gas in Tacoma

This is going to be a big month for Tacoma LNG, with comment trainings, teach-ins, and a public hearing that could kill the project. But before we get to all that, it’s our last chance to say:

YES ON 1631

We’re not going to lie: We’re in the fight of our lives here—and it could go either way. Big Oil has already spent over $21 million against us, making their disinformation campaign against I-1631 the most expensive political campaign in Washington state history. It really is going to take all of us to overcome that kind of money.

Now is the time for Washingtonians who care about clean air, clean water, and climate justice to step up. Now is the time to put other things aside, hobbies and work, and get out there knocking on doors, making phone calls, and talking to voters. Here are four things that you can do to help us beat Big Oil this November:

Join a canvass or phone bank party near you!

Sign up to phone bank from home!

Sign up for a text bank here.

Spread the word by emailing your contacts using Voter Circle.

With less than 30 days to go until the election, now is the time to get involved and help pass 1631.

TIME FOR ACTION ON TACOMA LNG

October is a huge month for the fight against Puget Sound Energy’s (PSE) proposed Tacoma LNG project! This project violates Puyallup treaty rights and would lock us into decades of continued fossil fuel dependence. This LNG facility will cause health issues at British Columbia extraction sites, as well as from toxic facility emissions here in our local Salish Sea region. It poses a physical threat to thousands in the event of an accident or natural disaster, with a huge chunk of the bill being paid for by residential PSE customers even though the main stated purpose of the project is fueling commercial vessels.

All hands on deck for a public hearing on the afternoon & evening of Tuesday, October 30th in Tacoma.The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) holds the power to approve or deny the last major permit for this project. They ordered a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) be done concerning air emissions from extraction to point of burning. We need massive public turnout to help the PSCAA make bold choices that protect our future.

Public Hearing: Say NO to LNG!
Tuesday, October 30, 1:00–9:00pm
Tacoma, WA; exact event location will be updated on this event page.
Need a ride from Seattle or elsewhere? Here’s a carpool sign up.

Submitting a public comment is another important way to push for the strongest SEIS possible!
(You may submit multiple comments.)

Help prepare strategy and art for some actions leading up to the hearing. It’s a great way to get up to speed:

No LNG Action Meeting!
Thursday, October 11, 6:00–8:00pm
350 Seattle, 1919 E. Prospect St., Seattle 98112
Starts with a potluck supper!
Shareable event page here

Help us spread awareness about the hearing to neighborhoods in the danger zone of this project! We’ll be ringing doorbells and collecting comments. No need to be an expert about the LNG – we’ll make sure you’re prepared before we head out!

Doorbelling in the PSE Danger Zone
Saturday, October 13, 10:00am–2:00pm
Bluebeard Coffee Roasters, 2201 6th Ave, Tacoma 98403
Invite friends with this event page!

Then come create beautiful imagery for NO PSE-LNG public testimony and other upcoming events! No skills needed, dress for mess.

Art Build!
Sunday, October 14, 1:00–6:00pm
Fremont Powerhouse, 3940 Fremont Ave N. Seattle 98103

Want to learn more details about the risks of having an 8-million-gallon tank of fracked gas on the Tacoma Tideflats?

LNG in Tacoma: Risks for Our Region
Saturday, October 20, 2:00–3:30pm
Shoreline Library, 345 NE 175th Street, Shoreline 98155
Shareable event page here

Or contact Mary to arrange a presentation for your group or organization.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

Treaties should be honored
Construction of this project should be halted while permit and legal issues are being resolved. Call Gov. Inslee and urge him to take his responsibility to the Puyallup tribe seriously. The number to call: (360) 902-4111.

The Puyallup Tribe has also submitted formal requests for an SEIS of the entire project, citing huge safety and environmental concerns, backed up by independent reports on the inadequacy of the original document. Please sign this petition to stand in solidarity with the Puyallup nation and urge the City of Tacoma to take a more complete look at the impacts this project will have.

Gas: the most dangerous fossil fuel of all?
Did you know that fracked gas is just as climate-polluting as coal? Fracked gas expansion is the greatest fossil fuel threat to our region—and here in King County, we have a huge opportunity to stop it. Check out our latest blog post to learn more about how fracked gas threatens our region and what we can do about it.

What happens to the air and water in Tacoma affects our air and water in Seattle
Want to keep fossil fuel and heavy industry expansion at the port of Tacoma in check? Help stop projects like the LNG before they get started!

Interim Regulations for the Port of Tacoma
Tuesday, October 23, 5:00–8:00pm
Tacoma Council Chambers, 747 Market St, Tacoma 98402
Shareable event page here

Can you hear us, PSE? You keep promising you’re going to hold an executive listening session this fall. Wouldn’t Tacoma be the ideal location? Click here to oh-so-politely nominate Tacoma.

And finally, have you ever wanted to spend an entire week day in a windowless room listening to Puget Sound Energy’s technical experts explain carbon pricing and where their fracked gas comes from? Well, have we got a meeting for you!

How Does PSE Price Carbon and Gas?
(Technical Advisory Group Meeting #2)
Thursday, October 11, 9:00am–5:30pm
Meydenbauer Center, 11100 NE 6th St, Bellevue 98004

Yes, there will be a brief comment opportunity at the end of the day, but not until after all the gory details. Come watch technical stakeholders attempt to steer our state’s largest investor-owned utility toward a decarbonized electrical grid by 2039. More info here, and if online meeting access is provided, this event page will be updated with the details.

NECESSITY ON TRIAL

The trial of valve turners Emily Johnston, Annette Klapstein, and Ben Joldersma begins Monday, October 8th. They will argue their actions were necessary because of the total failure of ordinary political processes to prevent catastrophic climate change. Will the jury acquit? Find out this week! This page has links to social media with trial updates, information about the necessity defense, and how to sign up for email updates.

TRIAL OF THE CENTURY

The #youthvgov plaintiffs in Juliana v. United States allege that the U.S. government has knowingly violated their constitutional rights for over 50 years by contributing to climate change. On October 29 they will march into court—with America standing behind them—to demand a science-based National Climate Recovery Plan. This plan would end the reign of fossil fuels and require the United States government to do its part to stop dangerous climate change for young people and all future generations.

Washington Rally for the #TrialoftheCentury!
Monday, October 29, 10:00am–12:00pm
US Courthouse, 700 Stewart St, Seattle 98101
Event page here. Questions? Email Sue.

To win their case, these brave youths need your help. We want the world to know that it’s not just these 21 young people demanding a Climate Recovery Plan, it’s all of us!

Organize and mentor Climate Youth! Plant for the Planet is looking for key volunteer mentor roles and paid leadership positions. Contact Sue if you’re interested in organizing events like these: Youth Lead the Way and Zero Hour Youth Climate March.

CHASE, LINE 3 AND CLIMATE JUSTICE

On October 16th, JPMorgan Chase will decide whether or not to renew a $1.48 billion loan to Enbridge Energy, the corporation trying to build Line 3 despite the fact that doing so would violate the treaty rights of the Ojibwe and our moral obligation to pass on a livable climate to future generations. To help send the message that JPMorgan Chase should dump Enbridge, we joined Honor the Earth, Rainforest Action Network, Sierra Club and 59 other organizations in sending this letter to Chase executives.

Later this week, we will be asking you to call and email Chase to make sure the message gets heard. If you want to make a call now, you can call Jamie Dimon’s office at: 212-270-1111.

If Chase decides to keep funding Enbridge, we intend to host a Customer’s Day of Action. If you are a JPMorgan Chase customer (large or small!) and would be interested in participating, please fill out this form and we’ll be in touch!

TRADE

Last week brought us Trump’s proposed new NAFTA—the United States Mexico Canada Agreement. Not sure how to pronounce the acronym—USMCA—but the deal, as expected, includes a myriad of terms harmful to climate. Sierra Club’s excellent summary can be found here.

Although the deal curtails some of the overreaching corporate rights in NAFTA’s “investor-state dispute settlement” (ISDS) system (which allows corporate legal challenges to local laws, using corporate non-governmental trade tribunals), it still offers those same egregious rights to all U.S. oil and gas corporations operating in Mexico. That means, for example, that Chevron and ExxonMobil—the two largest corporate climate polluters in history and repeat users of ISDS—could challenge environmental protections in Mexico by relying on the same broad corporate rights that they have used to successfully challenge public interest policies from Ecuador to Canada.

Please tell your Congressional representatives and senators to vote no on USMCA unless this and other protections for the oil and gas industry are removed.

To get more involved fighting this new trade agreement, including attending Congressional office meetings, contact Selden.

AMAZON

Are you a shareholder of Amazon stock? Do you or someone you know work at Amazon? Because of its reliance on diesel delivery vehicles, Amazon has a particularly big carbon footprint and public health impact. But it could lead the industry on the shift to fossil-free transportation. Contact Rebecca to learn more about how we can push for science-based targets to reduce pollution.

CIVIC ACTION TEAM

We’re hearing that the Governor and some big green groups will be taking a new version of 100% Clean Energy back to the legislature next year. But will it have appropriate target dates and be aggressive enough?

If that’s a concern, or if you’re up for meeting with your state representatives or senator this fall to emphasize the need for strong climate policy, drop us a line!

STRONGER TOGETHER

Frontline Allies welcomes your participation in everything from organizing trainings on undoing racism and other oppressive systems, to supporting our allies in climate-related justice work. To join contact Kara; more information and links are available here. Our monthly meeting is the third Monday of every month. Please join us Monday, October 15 to hear more about our work and upcoming campaigns. If it is your first meeting, there is a new member orientation at 6:30 pm. The meeting begins at 7:00pm. RSVP to Kara for the address of a home in the Wallingford neighborhood.

Darigold Campaign Update
A group of us standing with Darigold workers and allies at the start of the Fast for Reconciliation on September 20th heard powerful stories from workers fired for calling attention to wage theft and sexual harassment. (Campaign details and action items here.) Outreach to retailers who purchase Darigold products alerting them to the worker abuse in their supply chain found that all were willing to listen except one: Starbucks. A company that claims to support ethical and fair treatment in their supply chain, Starbucks was unresponsive. The Darigold Campaign has a letter to Starbucks managers explaining the abuse workers are facing at Darigold member dairies. Can you bring a letter to your local Starbucks manager? There will be a coordinated campaign effort in early December, and an exciting action plan is in the works! Email Kara for a copy of the letter, or for updates on this campaign.

From our allies at NWDC Resistance
Those being held without due process at the Northwest Detention Center were required to shelter in place without protective equipment during a nearby e-waste fire that caused work stoppage at the port of Tacoma and evacuations or wearing of personal protective equipment for everyone downwind. This, and an outbreak of chicken pox that is not being properly handled, has caused extremely unsafe conditions in the detention center. Please sign this petition to tell local and state officials that ICE and the GEO Group need to be held accountable for their treatment of detainees.

Vote YES on I-940 and spread the word!
Last year, Washington had the fifth highest number of deaths from police use of force in the nation. Yes on 940 provides violence de-escalation and mental health crisis training to law enforcement officers across Washington. The focus on prevention and greater training (including first aid) will save lives and is good for the public and officers alike. This initiative, supported by a diverse array of community stakeholders, defines a good faith standard for use of deadly force and allows for fair and independent investigations when deadly force is used. For more information visit the De-escalate WA website, and this video from Sheriff Johanknecht. To help promote this important initiative, please contact Kara.

THE HOUSING CRISIS IS A CLIMATE CRISIS

The 350 Seattle Housing team continues to work in solidarity with many other pro-housing groups toward building more and greener housing here in the lower-commute, lower-carbon city.

Recent wins
An additional $165 million from King County for affordable housing (but in the same breath $135 million in corporate welfare for the Mariners).

A great resolution requiring surplus city land to be used for affordable housing or other public good was approved by full City Council on October 1st. This came out of CM Teresa Mosqueda’s office in consultation with many in the housing community, including us.

Coming up
The final EIS for the backyard cottage legislation found that making it easier to build Accessory Dwelling Units, aka backyard cottages and mother-in-law apartments, will make our neighborhoods greener and more affordable, without any of the dire negative consequences predicted by those who live in exclusive neighborhoods and want to keep it that way. This shouldn’t be a fight, but it’s gearing up to be a big one. Check out our letter to the Seattle Times, and this vituperative opposition letter to see why we need more voices to withdraw social license for opposition to affordable housing. Then write Alice to get added to our housing mailing list and hear about opportunities to make your voice heard.

HOUSING FORUM, OCTOBER 27

If we care about Seattle being a progressive, sustainable city, we need more housing, and more affordable housing—citywide, so our most vulnerable communities aren’t the only ones asked to support newcomers. How can we plan for density that’s equitable, and that makes our neighborhoods more vibrant, greener, and better able to support small business and frequent transit?

At Home in the World: Building a Livable Seattle in the Era of Climate Change
Saturday, October 27, 1:00pm
First Baptist Church, 1111 Harvard Ave., Seattle
Get your (free) tickets here and share the event page.

With Council Member Teresa Mosqueda and panelists from Got Green, Transit Riders Union, Sightline, King County Labor Council, and more. The future is coming. Who do we want to be?

FIGHTING FOR THE RIGHT OF WAY

Cars and trucks continue to be our city’s biggest source of carbon pollution. To solve this we must provide clean, affordable, and practical alternatives. 350 Seattle’s Transportation team is fighting to provide more right of way for transit, bikes, and pedestrians. We are WINNING some fights, but we need MORE PEOPLE to speak up, especially in coming weeks as the Budget works its way through City Council. Many of our local electeds want to improve pedestrian, bike and transit options, but they need community support to counter the vocal residents who think driving cars is the only way to get around. We need your voice, writing letters, speaking at council and other meetings, and helping create new campaigns that we can win. If you can help contact Andrew to join the Transportation mailing list. We meet the second Monday of every month at 4:15pm. Here are some other campaigns we’re involved in:

U-W transit passes
This one we won! In solidarity with UW Unions, TRU, and other community organizations, we helped get 100% employer-paid transit passes for UW workers starting July 1, 2019. Thanks to 350 Transpo folks who attended meetings and rallies, wrote letters, made signs, and let management know that this was the right thing for the planet as well as for employees.

Key Arena planning
The new Key Arena plans were based on the idea that people would continue to get to the arena primarily in private vehicles to 2035 and beyond. Little planning went into transit, pedestrian and bike routes to the Arena. We got into the fight late, but community outcry including ours won the addition of a Council Resolution requiring better monitoring of the transportation plan for the Arena, and more opportunities for community (that’s us!) and council input.

Phase out of gas powered cars
The Transportation Team and the Citizen Action Team (CAT) are partnering with Coltura and other groups to pass legislation that would require the State to plan and prepare for our vehicles becoming zero emission. The legislation would also require that all new vehicles bought for government fleets be zero emission by 2023 for cars, and 2026 for medium and heavy-duty vehicles. Finally, after 2035 all privately owned new cars registered in the State would be zero emission vehicles. Want to help? Contact Andrew.

ARTFUL ACTIVISM

We welcome all skill levels in any art form, and have lots going on to jump into, from occasional participation to leadership opportunities. Join online here or come to art builds whenever you can! They are fun, no skills needed, community gatherings with food and good connections.

Art Build!
We’ll be creating beautiful imagery for the Housing Forum, NO PSE-LNG public testimony and our fall fundraiser, Intertwined. We’ll also use the time to fix old banners and prep bamboo poles. So much art, so little time! All are welcome, no skills needed, please dress for mess.
Sunday, October 14, 1:00–6:00pm
Fremont Powerhouse, 3940 Fremont Ave N. Seattle 98103

Looking for a mural wall
We are still looking for a high visibility wall for a beautiful mural. Know of one? If you do or would like to paint bus shelters with young people, contact Doug.

Join the Deployment Team!
Ever wish you had a role during actions and events? Come learn crucial skills with us! We need you! Contact Shemona.

And if you’re a skilled artist (visual, theater, dance, music…) and want to apply your skill or show others how, please let us know! Contact Lisa.

READ DISCUSS ENGAGE

This month the 350 Seattle Book Club begins a new book, When They Call You a Terrorist, a Black Lives Matter Memoir, by Patrisse Khan-Cullors.

The conversation starts Wednesday, October 24, 6:00 to 7:30pm at a private home in Bothell. If you’d like to join us, please RSVP for the address.

For more about this book, the 350 Seattle Book Club, and past readings, check out the 350 Seattle Book Discussions page.

SCIENCE AND RESISTANCE ON SCREEN

Young scientists from around the world addressing scientific and environmental issues in their communities present their original scientific research at the largest convening of high school scientists on the planet. Trailer here.

Inventing Tomorrow
Friday, October 12, 6:45pm
Saturday, October 13, 4:15 and 6:45pm
SIFF Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Ave N., Seattle 98109
Tickets available here.

Follow activist Ken Ward as he confronts his fears and puts himself in the direct path of the fossil fuel industry to combat climate change. If a crime is committed to prevent a greater crime, is it forgivable? Is it, in fact, necessary? Trailer here.

The Reluctant Radical
Tuesday, November 6, 7:00pm
Wednesday, November 7, 7:00pm
SIFF Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Ave N., Seattle 98109
Tickets available here.

Ken Ward, the subject of the film, will be present for Q&A.

TWO WAYS TO SUPPORT US

October is Workplace Giving month
Lots of places run workplace giving drives from October through the end of the year—Microsoft, Washington State, and more. If your workplace gives you an opportunity to donate through your paycheck, can you remember 350 Seattle? Or invite us in to speak or table during the drive. Our 501(c)3 tax ID is 46-4201865. Questions? Email info@350seattle.org.

Together we’re stronger. Come to INTERTWINED, a fundraising party for 350 Seattle, with all our wonderful supporters. There will be great company, dinner, auction items and SO MUCH MORE! Get your tickets now!

Intertwined: A Celebration of 350 Seattle’s Roots & Resolve
Friday, November 16, doors open at 6:00pm
Centilia Cultural Center at El Centro de La Raza, 2524 16th Ave S, Seattle 98144
(Close to the Beacon Hill light rail station!)
Tickets available here.

We are also looking for more auction items and sponsorships. Can you help us out? Contact Shemona.

Still reading?? Thank you! But now get out there for 1631—and we’ll see you in Tacoma!

350 Seattle

 

Read

Gas: The Most Dangerous Fossil Fuel Of All?

If you believed everything you read, you could be forgiven for thinking that gas is a key solution to the climate crisis. Last year, The Seattle Times published an op-ed titled The Power Of Natural Gas in the War On Carbon Emissions, in which Executive Director of the NW Gas Association, Dan Kirshner, extolled the low-carbon virtues of gas — and in doing so revealed himself as nothing but a cheap con man.

Yes, gas may produce less carbon dioxide than coal or oil when burned, but that’s only part of the story.

Infographic about how natural gas and methane threaten climate

Infographic by Manya

Gas is essentially made up of methane, a devastatingly powerful greenhouse gas that is 86 times more potent in its warming potential than carbon dioxide over a 20 year period. This is an important fact, one that means that gas is only better than coal, from a climate perspective, if leakage rates are less than 3% from the overall extraction, transportation and burning processes.

Unfortunately, very few outside of the gas industry itself believe that this is being achieved.

Currently about two-thirds of the gas produced in the US comes from fracking. Even if we put aside the laundry list of other issues related to fracking — from air and water pollution to earthquakes to the destruction of important wildlife habitat to higher rates of respiratory illness and cancer at extraction sites to the fact that gas leaks have resulted in major explosions in Seattle, Bellingham, Kansas and California, as well as last month’s major Massachusetts explosions — we know that fracking is an extraction method that leaks an awful lot of methane. Preliminary results from a field study in Utah showed that 9% of the methane produced by fracking escapes into the atmosphere. And that’s just at the point of extraction. Methane escapes into the atmosphere at every stage of gas production, including from aging residential gas pipelines in major cities. A recent survey found that the City of Boston had at least 3,332 separate methane leaks; Washington D.C. had even more.

Gas flare in fracking

Credit: AP Photo/Eric Gay, File

The facts about gas leakage help explain why the rate of increasing atmospheric concentrations of methane has increased tenfold since 2007. And it also helps shine a light on just how dangerous the gas industry’s lies are.

There is also significant evidence that the boom in fracking has played a major role in suppressing the development of renewable energy, as cheap gas has flooded the market, competing against and pushing out clean energy sources like solar and wind.

In WA, too, we are under attack from the gas industry’s pollution and lies. Not only are major newspapers like The Seattle Times willing to give gas executives a platform to spread their misinformation, but some of our best-known politicians are failing to take a stance against the expansion of the gas industry. Governor Inslee has failed to oppose either the Kalama methanol refinery or the Tacoma LNG facility, and Maria Cantwell proposed a bill last year that contained significant giveaways to the gas industry.

This complicity from our politicians and mainstream media is happening at a time when the gas industry poses perhaps the most significant threat to WA’s ability to achieve its climate goals.

Take the North Seattle Lateral pipeline, a pipeline that Puget Sound Energy is currently “upgrading” in south Snohomish County. After the upgrade is complete, the pipeline will have a 63% increased carrying capacity and, according to the think-tank Sightline Institute, will be contributing a whopping additional three million metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution a year (that’s almost the same as the entire city of Seattle) and will have increased WA’s greenhouse gas pollution by 3%.

Oh, and the North Seattle Lateral upgrade is designed to keep the pipeline operational for at least another 60 years, meaning that it will have locked in fossil fuel dependency in our region for generations.

We need to understand that this is what expansion of the gas industry in WA looks like. Gas expansion won’t always come in the shape of huge new pipelines or mega facilities like the one in Tacoma. Sometimes that expansion will appear more incrementally. Upgrading a pipeline here, adding a few more miles of pipe there. Bit by bit, the gas industry will expand stealthily, in ways that fly under the radar.

But the end result will be the same: a vast increase in greenhouse gas pollution.

Fortunately, there are tools are our disposal to combat this sort of growth from the gas industry. Portland, Aberdeen, Whatcom County, and Baltimore are just a few of communities that have successfully updated their land use zoning codes to prohibit the dangerous expansion of the fossil fuel industry. And that’s a tactic we should pay attention to here in King County.

And as we are doing so, let’s also remember that a gas executive extolling the environmental virtues of gas is about as trustworthy as a McDonald’s CEO praising the health benefits of hamburgers.

Want to get the latest as we take on the gas industry? Sign up here! 



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- Naomi Klein

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