EUGENE, APRIL 16TH – Today at approximately 11:50AM, members of No Coal Eugene drove a massive, handcrafted “coal train” through the University of Oregon campus. The train stopped foot traffic and released “coal dust”, representing how a real coal train will interfere with people’s mobility and harm their health. This street theater was done in honor of Earth Week and to call attention to the coal trains that will be coming through Eugene.
Demonstrators included concerned students, Eugene residents and members of many different community groups. Some activists dressed as train conductors as they handed out literature about coal exports and announced “Coal Train coming though! Got a schedule to keep to. Need to keep delivering these coal related illness to your doorstep!”. Other participants held signs of coal related illnesses, such as lung cancer and emphysema, and staged a die-in.
In early December, 2011, the Port of Coos Bay announced “Project Mainstay,” a collaboration between Coos Bay and an anonymous company, to ship coal out of the harbor. Coal will be coming from the Powder River Basin in Montana through several cities, including Eugene, to be exported out of Coos Bay to Asian markets. An estimated 15,000 tons of uncovered coal will be on every train. The Sightline Institute estimates that 500 lbs to a ton of coal can escape from a single loaded car.
Other communities, like Bellingham, that are facing coal export have organized to fight “Project Mainstay” from polluting their cities. City residents in Eugene have been working together as well, “All Eugenians will be directly affected by these uncovered coal trains and it is all of our responsibility to permanently take action against these filthy industries that continue to make their profit by exploiting our resources and jeopardizing our health.”, comments Giffin Gates, co-director of the Survival Center at the UO, “Parents, activists, medical professionals, school teachers, government bodies, and all residents need to join in on the fight against all environmental injustices, especially these coal trains and the dirty industries that continue to pollute West Eugene.” Coal export is facing tremendous backlash and resistance from citizens in the Northwest.
No Coal Eugene is opposed to coal trains coming through Eugene and the use and extraction of any nonrenewable energy sources, including all fossil fuels. The group is committed to keeping the coal trains from polluting Eugene’s air, water and land. Dirty industries are not welcome in Eugene’s backyard or anyone else’s backyard.
Everyone is invited to attend the first biweekly community potluck this Thursday (4/19) at the upstairs of Grower’s Market, 454 Willamette St., from 7PM to 9PM. Learn more about the threat of coal exports, make new friends, eat tasty food and find out how we can stop the coal trains!