The manuevers to date have been no more than a series of visits from the warg riders. A concern mostly as a harbinger of what is to come, slinking away or filibustering when confronted directly. But now they come with the dreaded AESOP. That's right, Assault Engaging Stacks Of Paper. Wielding their papers, they intend to force a community, and by extension our country and the world, to accept the unconscionable.
In parallel, the attackers spread fables to paper over the fact that it is an assault at all. Rather, it's just a kind of helpful "development" assistance. From nearby hills, traditional allies simply think the castle is getting remodeled. They get emissaries from the attackers, with paper samples so they too can choose their color scheme.
A conventional defense is the counter-AESOP, piling defensive papers even higher to make unscaleable walls. One alternative defense is to change the rules in mid-seige to undermine the very foundation of the stacks of paper so they topple of their own weight. Sometimes sallying forth into the realm of the financiers can help to dry up the attacker's ability to gather ever more stacks of paper to be piled against the walls. These are all good methods.
This Monday March 19th, we expect that the permit application for the Gateway Pacific Terminal coal export scheme will plop down on to the county office. Buried deep in the thicket of numbers and diagrams, it will be difficult to grasp the scale of the swath of destruction whose purpose is to make a few more billion for those who already have their billions but want more.
The rally will be followed by a meeting from 6 to 8 at the same venue, where the county and other permitting agencies will present information about the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process related to the permit application.
[Update: Changed acronym to AESOP, better narrative]
In a nutshell, the plan is to export up to 48 million tons of coal from Wyoming and Montana to China, via a proposed coal export terminal in Cherry Point, WA. This is just one of several proposed export terminals, whose total scale of carbon exports and resulting pollution would exceed even the higher profile tar sand export plans [h/t Lefty Coaster].
- 2+ Gigatons of CO2 emissions over 20 years
- Thousands of people in China killed directly by pollution
- Diesel PM2.5 emissions; heart attacks, lung cancer, stroke
- Groundwater contamination
- Blocked rail crossings
- Screaming noise all hours of day and night
- Coal Dust
- People killed at crossings (yes, it will happen)
- Invasive species arriving in the bilge water
- Herring spawning grounds destroyed
- Orcas possibly driven to extinction
- Oil spills - not if, but when
- Huge increase in marine noise, known to harm marine life
- Sea lanes congested with hundred of huge ships
- Wetland habitat destroyed
- Lost clean development potential
- Loss of rail capacity for cleaner projects
(Partial list - edited since it was getting too long)
This scheme can and will be stopped. We have multiple opportunities, and only one needs to work. For scientists, just think of the series permeability equation. For baseball fans: We only need to pitch one strikeout.
1) The primary permitting process, as informed by the EIS that is about to start
2) A ban on coal transport through Bellingham, which will be on the city ballot this November.
3) Coal transport bans in other jurisdictions including Whatcom County
4) WA Lands commission also needs to approve the use of state land
5) During the permit time, the coal market could change and make it just an Emily Litella moment for the big boys
The world needs to see that a locality, and then a state, and then an entire coast, can reject big carbon projects entirely because that's what they are.
We can establish the possibility that we really are smart enough to make the smart choices. Caring enough to make the caring choices. That we won't be paralyzed by the defeatism that the project proponents have tried so hard to sow. We can continue to lead the way to a clean and healthy future.
Years from now, when historians write about what we did, or didn't do, as a country and as a world to protect our own habitat, perhaps they'll identify a turning point for the better. A moment when people chose to stop making things much, much worse. Perhaps they'll point to a community that said:
Not Any More.
Any time you think that you don't have a choice, you actually do.
Any time you think you have to do something that's wrong, you don't.
Photos by permission from Paul Anderson.