Protest planned for Anacortes this weekend | Opinion

Washington State Ferries released the following statement regarding the planned protest: “Please be advised that several major protest activities are planned for the March’s Point Area in Anacortes on May 13 through 15. Environmental activists are planning sit-ins, road blockades, and water-based “kayaktivism” around the Shell and Tesoro oil refineries. Although most of the activity is scheduled to take place east of the Anacortes Ferry Terminal, heavy traffic is expected and customers should plan for delays. Thank you for your patience and cooperation.”

This article originally appeared in The Weekly:

By Ande Finley

For a future in which our children can thrive, world leaders warn that we have to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid radical climate destabilization. But no current policies keep the planet anywhere near this goal. Organizers on every continent are planning a global wave of mass actions in May to target the world’s 16 most dangerous fossil fuel facilities to demand that coal, oil and gas stay in the ground and to accelerate the just transition to 100 percent renewable energy, balancing the needs of workers while safeguarding our climate.

In the Pacific Northwest, has taken on the massive planning of actions around the Shell and Tesoro refineries in Anacortes on the weekend of May 13-15 where organizers say, “The fossil fuel industry is turning the Northwest into a dirty energy superhighway.”

These plants have been identified as the largest unaddressed source of carbon pollution in the Northwest, refining 47 percent of all the gas and diesel consumed in the region.

Foremost for Break Free global resistance is putting direct pressure on decision makers to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Although Tesoro already receives highly volatile Bakken crude oil, Shell has recently applied for an expansion of its operations which would increase oil-by-rail by six trains weekly. Concerns about aging rail infrastructure and effects on nearby wetlands and heron habitat are among the issues being explored in the required environmental impact statement. Shell wants to limit the EIS to the refinery land and nearby rail, while environmental groups are urging investigation of the whole chain from source to final destination.

Transitioning workers from the fossil fuel industry to other jobs with a living wage is also central to this campaign. In 2010, after an explosion at the Tesoro refinery claimed seven lives, the company fought the Labor & Industries fine of $2.4 million – the amount they take in globally in half an hour – even after it was revealed that Tesoro knowingly had avoided steps to improve safety and maintenance beforehand. With profits in decline, Shell’s CEO took an 8 percent drop in pay from his annual compensation of $32 million while laying off more than 10,000 workers globally. During last year’s strike, Shell employees on the picket line told Lopez’ Kai Sanburn, “The Company doesn’t care about the workers, safety, the environment, or anything other than profits.”

The final piece to these global actions is pointing the way toward clean, renewable solutions. An accelerated conversion from dependence on oil and gas will require shifting the $32 billion in current U.S. fossil fuel subsidies over to conservation measures and renewables to encourage investment in new projects. More economical access to public lands and a smoother permitting process will also fast-track development of new technologies.

For general information and/or to sign up for kayaktivist training, e-mail