Happy New Year! May 2018 be a year of progress for climate activism. Please join us on January 18, at 6:00pm, at the Columbia City Library. Stacey Oaks, organizer for 350 Seattle, will come to talk about the protest actions against the Tacoma LNG plant and their collaboration with the Puyallup Tribe (see more below). We will also talk about the Taming Bigfoot Campaign (kick-off on January 21) — multiple teams are starting up to see who can do best at lowering their carbon footprint! Look forward to seeing you.
And now some history… Tacoma’s Commencement Bay has a Salish name, Shubahlup, or sheltered place, and years ago the Puyallup gathered clams along its shores. In 1854, as Europeans arrived, the United States signed Medicine Creek treaty with nine tribes of the Puget Sound, including the Puyallup, which, among other things, granted the tribes on-going use of their usual and accustomed hunting and fishing lands. Today, on the edge of the Puyallup’s reservation, and on those same tide flats the Puyallup used for clamming, PSE are constructing their massive Liquified Natural Gas plant. The Puyallup has opposed the plant. See here.
Marilyn Kimmerling and Cynthia Linet, in protest to the plant’s construction attached themselves to equipment at the site on May 17, and were arrested for criminal trespass. Recently they were found not guilty. Ramona Bennett, former chair of the Puyallup Tribal Council, gave testimony that may have been decisive. According to a witness at the trial, “the court in this case agreed that she, Ramona Bennett, is an expert on tribal property ownership…In that status she testified very effectively to the jury that this is in fact tribal property and that litigation continues over the property rights that the tribe has lost.” Because the protesters were guests of the Puyallup on their ancestral lands, the court may have concluded that the prosecutor could not establish the crime of trespass beyond a reasonable doubt. Read more here
The Medicine Creek Treaty has been, and will continue to be, heavily litigated — pages upon pages of complex legal text have been produced in the Boldt decisions alone — but the truth here is simple. Shubhahlup’s shores were used for millennia by the Salish tribes, and they maintained those lands in a natural state that produced abundant, healthy food. The newly arrived Europeans, in a relatively short period of time, filled in the tide flats, built a modern port and what can only be called an industrial waste land, and are now poised to build a facility that will significantly contribute to greenhouse gas emissions for decades into the future. In light of this truth, the moral, ethical, and environmental arguments against PSE’s LNG plant become even more decisive.
In other news… looks like we’re headed for a Carbon Pricing Mash-up! The Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy is close to releasing the text for their initiative next fall. Meanwhile, carbon tax proposals will likely be part of the legislative session. The legislature has done virtually nothing on climate for years, and with democratic majorities the legislature may be emboldened to work for a carbon tax (it also seems clear that no carbon tax will pass without some level of bi-partisan support). At a recent seminar, which you can see here, Sen Pulombo stated that he saw an “incredible head of steam” about the carbon pricing issue. He also argued that legislative action was more appropriate for the very complex carbon pricing issue, compared with an initiative process which he described as a “blunt instrument.” The legislative route would be fine, but, in due respect to the Alliance’s long efforts to build a coalition, they have honed something a bit more precise than a blunt instrument.
Big day in Olympia! Last week 350 Seattle launched their Climate Countdown campaign which will kick off with a major mobilization on day one of the legislature in Olympia. Please join us on January 8th in the Capitol Rotunda. The Climate Countdown campaign is asking two things of the legislature: that they ban all new fossil fuel projects and commit to a rapid transition to 100% renewable energy. It’s time for fast and bold action. To stay in the loop, check in with the Facebook event page, where 350 Seattle will post updates. If you are keen for a more involved role, the mobilization, political strategy and logistics teams are still in need of people, so e-mail here if you want to help.
And if you want to keep engaged in legislative works, join WWCAN for Lobby Day Jan 22. See here for more info.
Finally, save the date, on January 27 SSCAN is co-sponsoring a training by Riki Ott on Ultimate Civics, lessons for recruiting and building our movement. We will send details in a separate e-mail soon.