In Vancouver, Washington, more than 100 people formed a human blockade across railway tracks to protest the transportation of oil by rail. The action came after a Union Pacific oil train derailed in Mosier, Oregon, earlier this month, causing a massive fire and prompting evacuations. Mia Reback of Portland Rising Tide spoke as activists sat on the tracks.
Mia Reback: “Behind me right now over 100 people are sitting in on the rail tracks owned by BNSF, where oil trains are frequently sent through Vancouver, Washington. We’re responding to the recent oil train derailment in Mosier, Oregon, where an oil train derailed, catching fire, spilling oil into the Columbia River and polluting the city’s aquifer, and also calling for an immediate end to oil trains and fossil fuel infrastructure as a response to the climate crisis.”
Earlier in the day, the fire chief of Mosier, Oregon, addressed the crowd who gathered before the direct action. Chief Jim Appleton had previously defended the safety of oil by rail, but he has become an outspoken opponent of the shipments following the fiery derailment in his town.
Chief Jim Appleton: “Our community would like to see the Mosier derailment and the process of putting our community back together as both the straw that broke the camel’s back and a model for our transition to renewable, global energy. Mosier proves that those trains are too dangerous. Let’s make our policies reflect that new realization and ban those trains.”