Voices of Resistance

Marcela Gara News, perspectives

Washington State denied yet another critical permit for Millennium’s (MBT) proposed coal export terminal! The decision marks the third time the state gave the thumbs down to MBT’s scheme which would be the largest coal export terminal in North America and ship an estimated 44 million tons of coal per year by rail, posing significant risks to impacted communities, habitats, waterways, and the climate.

From the mines in Montana to the ports in Longview, Washington, people are leading us to victory against fossil fuels like coal exports. Here are some of their stories.

Bud and Mary Robertson, Highlands Neighborhood, Longview, WA

“We’ve been married for 34 years and moved to the Highlands Neighborhood 12 years ago to be closer to our kids. The coal export terminal threatens our way of life. I know the job situation is bad. People need work. People say it will bring jobs and of course I’m up for anything that brings jobs, but I’m not up for anything that pollutes the air, water or the land. We have to have that to live. My wife and I have COPD, and we don’t need anything like a coal terminal to help it along. I go outside and sit on the front porch every day with a cup of coffee and good fresh air. I don’t want coal dust threatening our way of life or our nice morning breeze”

Sydney Mallory, St. Helens Neighborhood, Longview, WA 

“I’ve lived in Longview my entire life. I grew up on the Old West Side but now live in St. Helens Neighborhood near the Highlands Neighborhood. I love my neighbors and my home.  I’m speaking out against Millennium coal export project because the pollutants that would come from the terminal are dangerous. Our health,  the fish, and the Columbia River are at stake.

Making our voices heard is essential to protecting our planet. I want to speak out for everything that can’t speak for themselves, like the land, animals, and trees, but especially the water.

The very idea of a coal terminal in my backyard is sad, especially for the people who cannot afford to move out of the neighborhood. I worry about any accident or derailment. I worry about my kids and my grandkids. We have the technology to bring more environmentally friendly projects to Longview. That is the future I hope to our community.”

Cindy Reeves, Highlands Neighborhood, Longview, WA  

Cindy Reeves“I’ve lived in the neighborhood for 18 years where we consider each other family.  That’s why I’d fight to protect my pets, my neighbors, the air, the water, my vegetables, and my fruit trees. I love the community and our beautiful environment.

My fiancee passed away in April of this year, and I promised I would speak out for him. He grew up in Oklahoma where the coal trains would come through, and it was black as the ace of spades. The pollution from the proposed terminal would force us out of our homes. The air is free, and the water is our lifeblood, and I cannot see coal coming through to ruin it. I won’t let it happen. ”

Mark Fix, Tongue River rancher/irrigator and past chair of Northern Plains Resource Council, Montana 

“Coal exports are personal to me.  A company originally behind the proposed Longview coal port wanted to condemn part of my ranch, and my neighbors’ ranches, to build a new railroad to ship coal to the port and then to Asia. It would have industrialized a pristine agricultural valley, spread wildfires, cut cattle off from water, and made ranching a lot less viable.

On top of that, in southeastern Montana, coal seams are aquifers. More mining for export would further disrupt our watersheds and pollute the rivers and streams we rely on. If we don’t have water, we don’t have anything.”

Rev. John Boonstra and Rev. Vicky Stifter, Hood River 

“We moved to the Gorge eleven years ago to pastor congregations in Hood River and White Salmon. We are parents of two daughters who have shared our experience of witnessing escalating coal trains that service a dying industry.  With each passing train, we recognize that the greed of Big Coal reveals a total disregard for the well-being of our community and the integrity of our environment.  We are opposed to the Longview Coal Terminal because it would exchange our future for the short-term profits of a few.  We do not need coal as an energy source, as a base for jobs, or as a means for economic growth.  We know that a new way of sustainable living is possible!  Coal dependency is morally and economically bankrupt.  We can do better!”

The Rt. Rev. Gregory Rickel

Rev. Gregory Rickel “As Bishop of the Diocese of Olympia (the Episcopal Church in Western Washington) for the past 10 years, I have worked with Earth Ministry and parishes across the region to raise the moral voice of concern about coal export.

Many Episcopalians believe that God calls us to be stewards of Earth’s diverse community of life. Coal terminals, like the one proposed in Longview, do not promote the conservation of God’s creation and threaten the health, sanctity, and livelihood of our communities and future generations.

Faith compels us to be good stewards of natural resources, to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to speak up for justice. That’s why people of faith are speaking out against coal in Longview. The recent permit denials support our contention that this project is not sustainable, and our faith calls us to work for cleaner, safer, and more earth-friendly modes of fuel. I pray we move beyond coal and move into the clean energy future that aligns with our shared values.”

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