Activists hung from the I-5 Columbia River bridge and risked arrest to deploy a hundred foot banner reading “coal, oil, gas, none shall pass,” protesting the construction of fossil fuel infrastructure on the Columbia River.
The banner drop took place alongside the Summer Heat Northwest flotilla. Nearly 200 people took to the river on boats of all shapes and sizes, converging in the middle of the Columbia River under the I-5 bridge as a peaceful, symbolic blocking of the river to fossil fuel exports. Protesters also marched on the pedestrian way of the I-5 bridge to protest fossil fuels.
More than 700 people from across the Pacific Northwest gathered as part of a national series of actions against the fossil fuel industry coordinated by 350.org. The Columbia River is emerging as a critical choke point for many of the 15+ fossil fuel terminals proposed throughout the Northwest. People from across the region joined together at the Vancouver Landing to protest fossil fuel infrastructure in the Northwest and draw attention to their climate impacts. They engaged in a symbolic river blockade to demonstrate the region’s readiness to participate in peaceful civil disobedience and direct action to keep the region from becoming a fossil fuel corridor that would fuel the climate crisis.
This event comes on the heels of this week’s decision by the Port of Vancouver to approve a 360,000 barrel/day oil terminal. “The action today is the start of our region engaging in peaceful direct action to confront the climate crisis and these fossil fuel terminals,” said Rising Tide activist Trip Jennings, who participated in the banner drop. More than 200 people have already indicated to Rising Tide that they are willing to consider nonviolent civil disobedience and direct action to prevent the construction of the terminal should it go forward. Today’s event was the largest regional gathering of activists protesting coal, oil, and gas projects together with a focus on climate change.
“Our communities and our climate cannot afford any expansion in polluting fossil fuel infrastructure” said Meredith Cocks of Portland Rising Tide. “We took action today because we know it is our moral responsibility to draw the line and halt projects that aim to turn the Pacific Northwest into a fossil fuel corridor.”
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