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Stop Coal Exports

Coal Exports and Oil by Rail

The recent oil train derailment in La Salle, CO and the oil train explosion in Lynchburg, VA are stark reminders that a similar, maybe even more devastating, accident could occur here in Washington State. 

As of now an average of one to two trains per day carry crude oil through Washington State.

There are two proposed oil terminals in Grays Harbor. If approved, that would mean up to 23 trains per week, each up to 1.3 miles long, would cut through downtown Spokane.

Additional rail traffic in Spokane raises numerous concerns, especially because the rail cars would carry dangerous crude oil and have been proven to be unsafe. In just the past ten months we've seen the dangers that come from transporting crude oil by rail in which derailments have led to explosions, fires, pollution, and in the sad case in Quebec, 47 deaths.

Blessings for the Journey

protecting the land, the water, and the peoples from fossil fuels

August 26, 2014  11:00 am

Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, 127 East 12th Ave, Spokane

Please join friends of faith and environment at the Spokane stop of this journey. Help bless the totem pole and stand with native peoples for the protection of creation. For more information, go to 


Sign Petition to put a moratorium on all new oil-by-rail permits

Yesterday, another train carrying crude oil derailed, this time in Virginia, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of residents. At least three cars caught fire and spilled for hours into the James River, which is the capital Richmond's main water supply. It was the sixth oil train accident in North America since the derailment that killed 47 people in Quebec last July.

Spokane and other towns on the rail line are carrying increasing amounts of Bakken crude oil - a derailment in Spokane could contaminate the river and impact thousands of residents.  Given the flammability of Bakken crude oil, and the increased number of derailments as more trains transport oil, I believe this needs to be studied and addressed before allowing more oil-by-rail trains to travel through Washington state. 

The Lands Council has been involved in calling for a hard look at the safety and environmental health issues of oil trains travelling our region, and we think this petition will help raise awareness.  The petition asks Governor Inslee for a moratorium on all new oil-by-rail permits until thorough, cumulative studies are conducted on all safety, health, and environmental impacts from transporting oil by rail through our communities.

When you click on this link , the petition comes up for you to sign:


I encourage you to consider signing the petition.

Mike Petersen, Executive Director

Imagine 40 -70 coal trains a day added to the trains now moving through Spokane.

The Powder River Basin in Eastern Montana and Wyoming holds billions of tons of coal, owned or leased by Arch Coal, Peabody Energy and others. The companies are pushing for huge new coastal terminals to be built near Bellingham and Longview to handle increased shipments primarily bound for China.

This would add over 8,000 coal trains per year on Washington State's rail system. Coal would be hauled on BNSF Railway right through downtown Spokane.

Those who live along the rail lines that would carry the coal through Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington share concerns about the hidden costs to health, safety, the environment and pocketbook.

Railroad engines burn diesel. Documented health effects of diesel emissions near busy rail yards include chronic heart and lung disease, and asthma. The very young and elderly are most affected. Cancer is also implicated.

The rail industry says 500 pounds or more of coal dust per car is lost in transit. That can destabilize rail beds, contributing to derailments.

Keep up to date and for more information visit 

Power Past Coal or  Coal Free Washington

Please contact Mike Petersen if you have questions - mpetersen (at) landscouncil.org


The Lands Council - 25 W. Main, Suite 222 - Spokane, WA 99201 - (509) 838-4912
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