A Challenge to Warren Buffet: End BNSF railroad's dependence on hauling and burning fossil fuels!

The Buffett Legacy Project is our moral appeal to multi-billionaire Warren Buffett, owner of BNSF. We launched a petition on Sunday and released a series of video letters asking that Buffett: (full letter below)

“End BNSF railroad’s dependence on hauling and burning fossil fuels. Partner with Gov. Inslee to electrify BNSF, increase track speeds, and run your trains on 100% renewable energy from Seattle to Chicago.”

This “Ask” is backed up with our companion Solutionary Rail project, our policy proposal to shift the economics of rail to make it an engine for sustainable transport and renewable energy rather than an accelerator for climate and environmental catastrophe. The Solutionary Rail proposal is being created by a dedicated team from around the country which has been meeting since last October. Patrick Mazza and I outlined the Solutionary Rail proposal on Diane Horn’s Sustainability Segment on KEXP last Saturday. (Listen here).

Feeling adventurous? If you create your own respectful-yet-strong moral appeal to Mr. Buffett, we’ll add it to the campaign.

Sign onto this letter to Warren Buffett via http://BuffettLegacy.org petition:

Dear Mr. Buffett,

Please, stop “hedging your bets” with investments in further use offossil fuels that are guaranteed to harm the climate and the well beingof future generations. Your railroad, BNSF’s reliance on shipping coaland oil is not sustainable for your company, your workers, or theplanet. These fuels are causing climate disruption, oceanacidification, damaging public health, and endangering the environmentsand cultural inheritance of the communities they move through.

As the owner, you have the capacity to break the BNSF’s and the railroadindustry’s addiction to the consumption and transport of fossil fuels. You alone have the power to transform the role and impact of railroadsfrom being part of the problem to being a pivotal component of thesolution.

As you have pointed out, transportation by rail is 3-4 times more energyefficient than by truck. Electrification of the railroad would multiplythat efficiency again by 3. Investment in modernization of rail lineswill deliver higher speeds, which will draw high value freight off oftrucks on our overburdened highways and make intercity passenger servicemore attractive. Electrified rail can run on zero emissions energy fromwind, sun and other renewable sources. It is even possible for yourrailroad’s right-of-way to serve as a highly efficient HVDC transmissioncorridor for clean, renewable energy.

We call this vision Solutionary Rail. We urge you to work with Governor Jay Inslee and other regional leadersmake the Northern Transcon part of the solution for future generations. Implement the Solutionary Rail model to create a backbone forsustainable transport and renewable energy infrastructure in the regionthrough which BNSF roles. Establish your legacy as the benevolentbillionaire who had the wisdom to invest in the pivot to a sustainablefuture.


Signer… (YOU!)

For more on this topic, visit http://solutionaryrail.org/, a project of Backbone Campaign.

Backbone Campaign marked this historic weekend by being out in the streets in Seattle and New York City as well as at the Protect the Sacred rally at the US/Canada border. We used this pivotal moment to launch two new fronts in our campaign to save our beautiful Pacific NW home-bioregion Cascadia and the Salish Sea from becoming a fossil fuel corridor to Asia. I was honored to be able to address the crowd about these projects at the Seattle rally Sunday.

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