Army Corps of Engineers Relieved of Duty, for being AWOL on Climate and Cumulative Impacts

After a week of training in nonviolent direct action and artful activism, attendees of the Backbone Campaign’s Localize This! 2013 action camp executed a bold, beautiful, and timely action to stop plans to turn the Pacific NW into a fossil fuel corridor to Asia. Click on image below or view and share on Facebook. Find press release, action photos and more news clips HERE.

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On the morning of August 5, 2013, residents from across the Northwest converged on the Seattle offices of the Army Corps of Engineers to demand stronger federal environmental oversight of proposed export facilities for coal, oil and gas, transforming the Pacific Northwest and Salish Sea into a fossil fuel corridor to Asia.

Residents are upset that despite tens of thousands of public comments requesting a comprehensive environmental review of these projects the Corps testified in June that public concern over impacts from burning fossil fuels overseas or increased rail and shipping traffic were “outside the Corps’ control and responsibility.”

“By refusing to consider the most important and concerning environmental impacts of these projects, the Corps has gone AWOL,” said Bill Moyer, Executive Director of the Backbone Campaign. “Since the Corps is incapable address the real concerns of the people, we the people are relieving them of duty.” Sit-in at the Army Corps of Engineers

A flotilla of kayaks and canoes approached the Seattle HQ of the Army Corps of Engineers from across the Duwamish river, flying a giant “Coal No!” with helium-filled weather balloons. A hundred people rallied and marched to take over the courtyard of the Corps offices with giant props including a thirty-two foot mock coal train.

“If the human and environmental health of our region and planet is outside the scope of the Corps process, we need a new process,” said Carlo Voli an Edmonds resident helping to carry a banner that read “Army Corps of Engineers Relieved of Duty”.

In contrast to the Corps’ decision the Washington State Department of Ecology announced last week that they would be considering rail, shipping and climate change impacts in a much broader environmental review. Some participants in the event carried signs thanking the Department of Ecology for their decision. But organizers stressed that last week’s announcement emphasizes the Federal Government’s failure by showing that a comprehensive review is possible.

“Leaving the real environmental issues in these projects to be reviewed by state agencies is a dereliction of duty by the Federal Government” Said Seattle Resident, Lisa Marcus.

Next month the Army Corps of Engineers will begin scoping hearings on another proposed coal export facility in Longview, WA.

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