Keep it in the Ground

Keep it in the Ground


In order to have even a 50/50 chance of keeping global average temperatures from rising more than 1.5º Celsius, we can’t burn more than about a third of the fossil fuels in existing mines and wells…and that means we have to keep it in the ground. We need to start with coal, tar sands, fracked gas, and Bakken crude. These “extreme energy” sources not only produce more greenhouse gases, they also have devastating consequences on the lands, water, and air at the point of extraction, and on downstream/downwind communities.

Overview: the Thin Green Line

Since Washington State and the Pacific Northwest have become a key transport route for these fuels, we are in a unique position to keep them in the ground—by defeating the proposed new export infrastructure, and, ultimately, by restricting even existing traffic in fossil fuel (starting with what’s most unsafe and environmentally destructive).

All five of WA’s refineries are already taking tar sands to produce transportation fuels, and Washington refineries are connected directly to the Alberta tar sands via the Trans Mountain pipeline. In addition, Washingtonians could see up to seven times as many tar sands tankers per year in the Salish Sea if the proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline in B.C. goes through.

In September 2012, oil trains started coming through Seattle loaded with dangerous Bakken crude from North Dakota, where hydraulic fracturing is used to extract unconventional oil from shale deposits. The number of these oil trains passing through and under Seattle on their way to refineries up in Skagit and Whatcom counties has gone from an average of 3 per week in 2013, to an average of 14 per week in 2014. We defeated the oil-by-rail spur in at the Shell Refinery in Anacortes this fall, but , we could still see a serious increase in oil train traffic once the Philips 66 refinery in Ferndale finishes building its oil-by-rail-unloading facility.

Check out this great report and map concerning all crude by rail across North America.

Join us in the Keep it in the Ground workgroup to work on all levels to stop this onslaught of dirty energy!

Questions? Contact Jess Wallach.