Coal Trains Blocked by Local Protestors

Permalink +

Sun, Aug 28, 2016, 4:56 pm  //  John Servais

Map view of protest site. Railroad crosses the north end of Chuckanut Bay on a stone rubble causeway. Tripod was setup just before entrance to tunnel.

Update:  Mon, Aug 29, 8:30 a.m.

In this morning's Bellingham Herald, not a single use of the words "coal" or "oil" in their article on the protest.  The Herald referred to the stopped train as a "freight" train - twice.  It is a coal train, of course.  The entire protest was focused on oil and coal.  This lack of accuracy - really a lack of honesty - is the result of careful editing by the Herald. Why?  This is a common practice of the Herald and daily newspapers everywhere - and always has been. Their article will be cited by other news publications about this event because the Herald is the daily paper where the protest took place.  Thus other news outlets in the nation and world will not even know that oil and coal were the issues of this protest.  It diminishes the protest to not make sense.  Only in the very last sentence, in a quote from Deep Green, is the words "fossil fuels" used, without being specific. Why stop a freight train?  Well, so the Herald will continue to receive institutional ads from oil and coal interests as well as favorable news feeds from local government leaders who are in favor of exporting coal and oil from Cherry Point.  

One can say that I am speculating on motivation.  And I am, but based on many years in the news game and talking with reporters on why their stories got edited to meaningless status.  I first started working for a daily newspaper in 1962 as a news photogrpaher accompanying reporters. Over the decades, I've seen first-hand how this works.  The Herald editors did not forget to note this was a protest against oil and coal trains and the fossil fuel industry. For decades, the Herald protected Georgia Pacific's toxic polluion on our Bellingham waterfront.  It did not exist as far as the Herald was concerned.  

Now it is the local oil and coal protests that do not exist.  Last year, the Herald decided not to even cover Chiara's protest of hanging from the anchor chain of the Shell Oil ship that was docked in Bellingham on its way to the Arctic oil exploration fields. It was only after the story became too big - and she stayed up there for almost three days - that the Herald was forced to provide some coverage.  And the same happened this weekend. On Sunday, the Herald ran a news story about the Saturday mud fun event in the county - complete with video and photos.  But not a word on this 11-hour, very effective protest stopping all coal and oil trains up and down Puget Sound.  This morning it is a small, dishonest, page two article. The page one story this morning?  An article about National Parks by the Associated Press.  Nothing local.  

Original post: Sunday 5 p.m.

For almost 12 hours this weekend, all trains were blocked at Chuckanut Bay by protestors.  From 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon until 3 a.m. Sunday morning, when police removed the last protestor, all train movement was stopped. This included the coal train that first stopped on the bridge across Mud Bay on Bellingham's south side, and probably additional coal and oil trains that may have been forced to wait to the south and north.  It also included Amtrak service, although protestors said they informed Amtrak of the stoppage so passengers could be bussed.

Basically, as can be seen in the photo, the protester sat in a sling near the top of a metal-legged tripod that was maybe 20 feet high.  This made it difficult for law enforcement to bring him down without injuring him. 

To clarify, Mud Bay is the name of the small, shallow bay on the north end of, and part of, Chuckanut Bay.  

Seattle news has been reporting this, but as of 5 p.m. Sunday the Bellingham Herald has not.  You can find more news at KIRO news and KOMO news.  There is also more detailed information at the Deep Green news website. Deep Green is taking credit as the organization behind the protest and train blockage. 

By 3 a.m. today, Sunday, the tripod had been sawed down and the protester arrested.  Some report that several other protest supporters were also arrested.  There is also a report that as the tripod was being removed, a second protester set up and more time was required to remove them.  As of Sunday, the backlog of trains are streaming through Bellingham.  

Update:  8 am Monday

The sign that 

Protester on 20 foot tripod with stopped coal trail at other end of bridge over Chuckanut Bay.

Tip Johnson  //  Sun, Aug 28, 2016, 7:40 pm

I wonder who took them into custody?  Is that even in the City Limits?


Tim Paxton  //  Mon, Aug 29, 2016, 5:22 am

It was nice and quiet near downtown on Saturday.  I don’t think anyone is going to miss the coal trains.  What did the sign say by the way?


Ralph Schwartz  //  Mon, Aug 29, 2016, 4:39 pm

John, I don’t buy your conclusion that the Herald referred to the stopped train as a “freight train” in order to keep selling ads to fossil-fuel interests. I can report with extreme confidence, having worked in newsrooms for more than a decade, that this sort of careful word selection for the benefit of advertisers just doesn’t happen very often. Any reporter worth his salt wouldn’t put his name on a story with such ad-friendly word play. I’ve had to explain this to people before, but I’ll repeat it here: The Herald doesn’t do a good job of covering events that happen on weekends because they aren’t staffed on weekends. (At least they weren’t when I was there. Since I left in November 2015, the Herald hired a new managing editor. I don’t even know who that person is, but it is conceivable they instituted a “staff the weekends” policy. I highly doubt it.)

Here’s an insider’s take on why the term “freight train” was used. The reporter, Kyle Mittan, never went to the scene of the action to determine for himself what type of train it was. Mittan (don’t know the guy—hired since I left) relied on BNSF for his information. BNSF will not tell you what their trains are carrying. BNSF communications department is a great oxymoron because these people get paid to *not* communicate.

What we have here is some inexperienced reporter getting called in to do a story on a Sunday, and he chose to write something without doing much reporting. The editor—like I said, also new, don’t know them—presumably read it and deemed it adequate. So the only conspiracy here is between a reporter and an editor who schemed to exert minimal effort on what was supposed to be their day off.

The Herald has a hard enough time maintaining credibility in our community of “we-know-better-than-you” players. I don’t like to see accusations of the Herald pandering to advertisers—a grave breach of ethics in the profession—tossed around so blithely. You have no facts to back up your claim.

Respectfully,

-Ralph


Coal Trains Blocked by Local Protestors

Updated on Monday. An elaborate tripod was erected over the railroad tracks on the bridge over Chuckanut Bay and protestors sat in a sling. 11 hour train stoppage.

John Servais
Sun, Aug 28, 2016, 4:56 pm
3 comments; last on Aug 29, 2016

Ferndale volunteers build kids playground

Over 2,000 volunteers have just built a new playground in six days. We do a photo story.

John Servais
Sun, Jun 05, 2016, 8:29 pm
1 comments; last on Jun 06, 2016

Greenways may reverse heron colony buffer purchase this evening

The Greenways Advisory Committee meets this evening and may reverse their May decision to purchase the heron colony buffer woods.

John Servais
Fri, Jun 03, 2016, 12:29 am
10 comments; last on Jun 07, 2016

Reader paid for ads. Click to see all choices.

We need to protect our Great Blue Heron colony

Bellingham's only heron colony needs forested buffer - and the land owner is willing to sell. Greenways has voted to buy it, but our city council must act.

John Servais
Tue, May 31, 2016, 9:51 pm
5 comments; last on Jun 01, 2016

Proposed over-water walkway is dead

The planned concrete walkway from Boulevard Park to the Cornwall landfill, using millions in Greenway funds, has been abandoned by Bellingham. We again thank the Lummi.

John Servais
Sat, May 21, 2016, 4:32 pm
11 comments; last on May 26, 2016

Herons or Oil: Which are long term?

The March Point protestors this weekend will hopefully show serious concern and not disturb the heron colony near the refineries.

John Servais
Sat, May 14, 2016, 9:34 am
2 comments; last on May 15, 2016

No Coal Terminal at Cherry Point - Final

The Seattle office of the Army Corps of Engineers has formally denied a permit for building a coal terminal at Cherry Point in Whatcom County. Updated at 4pm.

John Servais
Mon, May 09, 2016, 12:10 pm
4 comments; last on May 09, 2016

Unanimous Yes vote for 5 county council districts

GOP vote for Democratic plan to prevent locked committee and then county council becoming decision makers of districting boundaries

John Servais
Wed, Apr 20, 2016, 8:01 pm
1 comments; last on Apr 21, 2016

OregonLNG quits: Cherry Point may be new target

Liquid natural gas terminal is rumored to be in planning stages for Cherry Point as the Oregon proposed LNG plan is abandoned.

John Servais
Mon, Apr 18, 2016, 11:55 am
6 comments; last on Apr 19, 2016

Bellingham Planning tries to sneak one through

The Sunnyland residents have just learned they have only today to comment on a huge impacting building project in their neighborhood.

John Servais
Mon, Apr 11, 2016, 1:06 am
11 comments; last on Apr 23, 2016

Proposed redistricting map for your review

The Districting Master (the official title) has submitted his map for review by the Districting Committee this evening. Here it is for your review.

John Servais
Wed, Apr 06, 2016, 1:14 pm
5 comments; last on Apr 07, 2016

BNSF: A casual approach to railroad safety

At Clayton Beach, we have tracked increasing erosion under railroad tracks and written to the railroads and federal inspectors. To no avail.

John Servais
Mon, Apr 04, 2016, 8:17 pm
2 comments; last on Apr 05, 2016

Cherry Point coal port development put on ice

Work on EIS put on hold as coal companies wait for Army Corps of Engineers decision. Well, it was not in March. This is not an April 1…

John Servais
Fri, Apr 01, 2016, 3:49 pm
3 comments; last on Apr 02, 2016

Voting guide for Whatcom Conservation District

Updated Wed, Mar 16. Tuesday, March 15, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., any registered voter of Whatcom County can vote in person at the conservation district office.

John Servais
Wed, Mar 16, 2016, 8:26 pm
0 comments

Will Cherry Point coal port be denied this week?

Updated 4:30pm. Helena, Montana newspaper says GPT may be denied this week by Army Corps of Engineers. US Rep Zinke panics and accuses Army of politics.

John Servais
Wed, Mar 16, 2016, 12:19 am
4 comments; last on Mar 24, 2016

Districting maps E and F for reference

We post the next two maps to be discussed at the Districting Committee today, March 14. For the few who might study them and later contribute perspectives.

John Servais
Mon, Mar 14, 2016, 1:53 am
0 comments

Democrats threaten legal action on districting

Legally threatening letter sent by Seattle law firm retained by prominent leading Democratic Party leaders.

John Servais
Sun, Mar 13, 2016, 1:06 pm
1 comments; last on Mar 14, 2016

Harriet Spanel has passed on

Harriet Spanel was many years our representative in the state legislature and served Whatcom County and Bellingham very well.

John Servais
Wed, Feb 03, 2016, 5:49 pm
4 comments; last on Feb 04, 2016

Eagles on the Nooksack

They are less famous than the eagles on the Skagit but closer to Bellingham, fewer people and still lots of eagles. A great January afternoon outing.

John Servais
Tue, Jan 12, 2016, 12:18 am
1 comments; last on Jan 13, 2016

Earthquake lightly shakes Bellingham

Earthquake near San Juan Island felt in Bellingham late Tuesday night

John Servais
Wed, Dec 30, 2015, 1:15 am
0 comments

Bye Bye

Shell Polar Pioneer floating oil drill rig left the Pacific Northwest for Norway today. Nice holiday gift for all of us.

John Servais
Fri, Dec 25, 2015, 11:31 am
2 comments; last on Dec 25, 2015

Tax incentives proposed for Fairhaven apartments - Updated

Council to allow three weeks for written comments on tax exemption proposal for high density buildings in quiet Fairhaven neighborhood

John Servais
Mon, Nov 16, 2015, 11:41 pm
9 comments; last on Nov 19, 2015

Final Election Returns: Jail Tax Rejected

Satpal Sidhu wins council seat. Virtually all the ballots are now counted. Challenges and a few special are left.

John Servais
Fri, Nov 06, 2015, 5:37 pm
1 comments; last on Nov 07, 2015

Thursday Voting Update

Jail sales tax is being rejected - and the NO vote is increasing. Sidhu - Kerschner still undecided. Props 2, 3, 9 and 10 all should pass.

John Servais
Thu, Nov 05, 2015, 10:17 pm
1 comments; last on Nov 06, 2015

Wednesday Vote Changes

Second tally of 10,000 more ballots is in. Jail sales tax is now being rejected. Probably 15,000 or more ballots to go.

John Servais
Wed, Nov 04, 2015, 7:45 pm
2 comments; last on Nov 05, 2015

Important Election Issues Undecided

The first returns - probably 60% of the final vote - shows contradictory propositions passing and most candidate races decided.

John Servais
Wed, Nov 04, 2015, 1:05 am
7 comments; last on Nov 04, 2015

More on Propositions 1 and 9

Where more substantial evidence is presented against proposition 9 - and why you should vote REJECTED on it.

John Servais
Sun, Nov 01, 2015, 10:31 am
24 comments; last on Nov 04, 2015

NWCitizen Publisher’s Voting Choices

As an independent citizen and political junkie, here is how I am voting - with brief reasons for my choices.

John Servais
Sat, Oct 31, 2015, 3:02 am
8 comments; last on Nov 03, 2015

Effort to Stop Bakken Oil Trains

Whatcom group plans meeting workshop to submit comments to Washington Dept of Ecology against Skagit/Bakken oil trains.

John Servais
Sat, Oct 24, 2015, 2:26 pm
6 comments; last on Oct 26, 2015

Fairhaven Pharmacy Closes Today - For Real

After 126 years in business, Fairhaven Pharmacy closes for the last time at 6 p.m. today. Historic Fairhaven Association to do Halloween photos.

John Servais
Tue, Oct 20, 2015, 3:53 pm
1 comments; last on Oct 21, 2015

Louws Regrets Jail Mailer

County Executive - and candidate for reelection -Jack Louws has written county officials with his regrets over jail mailer.

John Servais
Tue, Oct 20, 2015, 10:25 am
8 comments; last on Oct 24, 2015

Let’s not squander the next 30 years

The jail sales tax proposition is a road to perdition for our county. It is a waste and has been deceptively promoted.

John Servais
Sun, Oct 18, 2015, 12:37 pm
4 comments; last on Oct 20, 2015

James King Resigns as Bellingham Parks Director

James King to return to Alaska and take job with U.S. Forest Service. Mayor will appoint a new parks director.

John Servais
Sat, Oct 03, 2015, 3:47 pm
1 comments; last on Oct 04, 2015

Alternative Jail Proposal for City Center

There is a good alternative for a decent jail - but we first must vote down the jail sales tax proposal in November.

John Servais
Tue, Sep 22, 2015, 5:54 pm
5 comments; last on Sep 25, 2015

Wendy DeFreest is Opening a ‘Burger Joint’

Wendy DeFreest, of Avenue Bread, will open a new "burger joint" called The Filling Station by late October in Fairhaven. It will not be a sandwich cafe.

John Servais
Sat, Sep 19, 2015, 4:37 pm
0 comments

A Learning Moment - Hopefully

Beware walking RR tracks on the Fairhaven waterfront in the event of unexpected encounter with a high speed train

John Servais
Sun, Sep 13, 2015, 9:42 am
2 comments; last on Sep 18, 2015

Homeowner to city: Please buy me out

Padden Creek daylighting project strays far from city promises to homeowner that his property would remain intact.

John Servais
Wed, Aug 26, 2015, 10:17 am
4 comments; last on Sep 05, 2015

Gunfight at Cornwall Park on Wednesday

Nothing in the Herald this morning, so NWCitizen is informing citizens of shootout at Cornwall Park.

John Servais
Thu, Aug 13, 2015, 11:29 am
1 comments; last on Aug 13, 2015

Election Results - Aug 4 Primary

9:52 - final post for tonight. A running blog about the election results on this August evening. Feel free to comment.

John Servais
Tue, Aug 04, 2015, 8:09 pm
8 comments; last on Aug 06, 2015

Lois Garlick was our hero

Lois Garlick has died. For many decades, she and George served as environmental stewards and leaders in preserving wildlife and nature.

John Servais
Thu, Jul 09, 2015, 8:27 am
2 comments; last on Jul 10, 2015

Whatcom County Council adds ballot measure

Last minute political maneuvering by liberal council seeks to counter conservative review commission ballot proposals.

John Servais
Wed, Jul 08, 2015, 9:27 am
1 comments; last on Aug 12, 2015

Charter amendments approved

The Charter Review Commission made Monday evening's meeting their last - and forwarded 8 charter amendments to the County Council

John Servais
Tue, Jul 07, 2015, 9:13 am
3 comments; last on Jul 08, 2015

Charter Commission Tricks

Two dirty tricks by the uber-conservative minority on the Charter Review Commission aimed to put their agenda before the council.

John Servais
Mon, Jul 06, 2015, 4:30 pm
3 comments; last on Jul 07, 2015

County prosecutor plays cruel games

Updated at 6 pm. Our county justice system has spent 6 years trying to teach Luba Pekisheva that she should not defend herself. Justice denied and miscarried.

John Servais
Thu, Jun 25, 2015, 6:00 pm
8 comments; last on Jul 23, 2015

Chiara D’Angelo comes down from anchor chain

Young Chiara spent 3 nights hanging from the anchor chain of Shell Oil's Arctic Challenger as a protest to arctic oil drilling.

John Servais
Mon, May 25, 2015, 8:17 pm
0 comments

Joy Gilfilen Declares for County Executive

Joy Gilfilen is challenging incumbent Jack Louws for County Executive.

John Servais
Mon, May 18, 2015, 11:17 pm
4 comments; last on May 20, 2015

85 County Single Candidate Elections

Running update of who is filing for office in Whatcom County. Posts during day Friday and final update Friday evening.

John Servais
Fri, May 15, 2015, 6:10 pm
4 comments; last on May 18, 2015

Updated:  Ski to Sea Tries to Bully Bellingham

Updated | Ski to Sea race does not need to race through sensitive Chuckanut Community Forest Park for special mountain bike leg. City did not renege.

John Servais
Wed, May 13, 2015, 5:30 pm
10 comments; last on May 15, 2015

A Perspective on Port Politics

The port's latest bone-headed deal calls for the good citizens of Whatcom County to consider the options...unless we're enjoying our Groundhog Day.

John Servais
Sat, Apr 04, 2015, 1:15 pm
3 comments; last on Apr 07, 2015

Port Gives Away Our Bellingham Waterfront

Port of Bellingham today sold out our public waterfront to a foreign shell company formed 6 days ago. Sold it cheap and with a screwy arrangement.

John Servais
Wed, Apr 01, 2015, 12:20 am
32 comments; last on Apr 05, 2015

Robyn du Pre` Has Passed On

Add your thoughts and remembrances. Robyn du Pre` was a stalwart and true environmental advocate for Bellingham and Whatcom County. She died this week.

John Servais
Thu, Mar 12, 2015, 1:06 pm
9 comments; last on Mar 23, 2015

Riley Sweeney to Receive Paul deArmond Award

The second annual award for Citizen Journalism will be to The Political Junkie himself who runs the Sweeney Politics blog, Riley Sweeney.

John Servais
Fri, Jan 23, 2015, 12:13 am
2 comments; last on Jan 25, 2015

Coal Ship Collisions Study Is Released

One part of the environmental study for the proposed Cherry Point mega coal terminal has been completed and released. It deals with ship collisions - they call it…

John Servais
Thu, Dec 18, 2014, 5:04 pm
2 comments; last on Dec 22, 2014

Twas the Week Before Christmas…

Bellingham Public Works shows how tone deaf they can be to business concerns. They insisted on street work that takes away up to 80 parking spaces in Fairhaven…

John Servais
Thu, Dec 18, 2014, 12:26 pm
0 comments

Ship Breaks Loose at Port of Bellingham

The Horizon Lines ship - the many year resident of the Port of Bellingham - broke loose this morning due to failure of some system. A few photos.

John Servais
Tue, Dec 09, 2014, 1:31 pm
3 comments; last on Dec 10, 2014

Howard Harris Dies - More Testimonials Added

Updated Nov 12. Howard Harris, the founder of the Bellingham silent peace vigil at the Federal Building in Bellingham, has died. He and Rosemary were leaders in our…

John Servais
Wed, Nov 12, 2014, 1:51 pm
0 comments

A Veterans Day Note

On this Veterans Day, a note about how vets need our government to step up - as has never been done. And a personal note on the power…

John Servais
Tue, Nov 11, 2014, 2:34 pm
3 comments; last on Nov 13, 2014

Doug Ericksen’s Tax Lien

While smearing Seth Fleetwood over a common tax arrangement, we discover Doug Ericksen also has a benign tax lien - one he denied.

John Servais
Tue, Nov 04, 2014, 12:28 pm
6 comments; last on Nov 11, 2014

Election Recommendations

A link to Riley's Political Junkie for excellent recommendations - and a few thoughts of my own.

John Servais
Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 2:18 am
1 comments; last on Oct 31, 2014

Bham Planning Director - Rick Sepler Chosen

Three final candidates for Bellingham Planning Director spoke today at a cozy 'meet and greet' of government employees and developers.

John Servais
Wed, Oct 08, 2014, 6:24 pm
6 comments; last on Oct 11, 2014

 

We Thank Our Sponsors

Click to See All Sponsors

About NWCitizen

Donations maintain site

Our writers
Thru the years

League of Women Voters

Calendar of Events

Home page
Videos of Districting Committee

Local Online News

Bellingham Herald

Bham Business Journal
Bham Politics & Econ
Cascadia Weekly
Coal Stop
Ferndale Record
KGMI
KPLU fm radio
Latte Republic
Lynden Tribune
Noisy Waters
Northern Light
Seattle Times
Twilight Zoning
Western Front - WWU
Whatcom Watch

Local Causes

Chuckanut C. Forest

City Club of Bellingham
Community Wise Bham
Conservation NW
Futurewise - Whatcom
Lake Whatcom
Lummi Island Quarry
N. Cascades Audubon
NW Holocaust Center
Powder River Basin R. C.
RE Sources
Salish Sea Org.
Save the Granary
Transition Whatcom
WA Conservation Voters
Whatcom Peace & Justice

Our Governments

- Whatcom County

Bellingham
Port of Bellingham
Skagit County
US House
US Senate
US Supreme Court
US The White House
WA State
Whatcom COG

NWCitizen 1995-2007

Early Northwest Citizen

Weather & Climate

Cliff Mass Weather Blog

Climate Audit
EPIC World Photos
Nat Hurricane Center
NW Radar
Two day forecast
Watts Up With That?

Local Leisure

Adventures NW

Bellingham Wins
Entertainment NNW
Recreation Northwest

Good Web Sites

Al-Jazeera online

Alaska Dispatch
AlterNet.org
Antiwar.com
Arab News
Asia Times
Atlantic, The
Change The Mascot
Common Dreams
counterpunch
Crosscut Seattle
Daily Kos
Daily Mirror
Doonesbury
Drudge Report
Edge of Sports
FiveThirtyEight
Foreign Policy in Focus
GlobalPost
Guardian
Gulf News
Haaretz
Huffington Post
Innocence Project
Irish Times
James Fallows
Jerusalem Post
Joel Connelly
Juan Cole
Julia Ioffe/New Republic
Le Diplo
Media Matters
Michael Moore
Middle East Times
MoveOn.org
Nation, The
New American Century
News Trust
NMFA
numbers
Online Journal
Palestine Daily
Palestine News
Paul Krugman
Personal bio info
Portland Indy Media
Progressive Review
Project Vote Smart
Reuters
Sea Shepherd
Slate
Stand for the Troops
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Talking Points Memo
TED
The Crisis Papers
The Intercept
the Oatmeal
Tom Paine.com
truthout
Vox
War and Piece
Washington Votes
WikiLeaks.ch
ynetnews.com

Quiet, Offline or Dead

Bellingham Register

Bhm Herald Politics Blog
Bob Sanders
Carl Weimer
Chuckanut Mountains
Citizen Ted
Citizens of Bellingham
Cordata & Meridian
David Hackworth
Facebook Port Reform
Friends of Whatcom
Get Whatcom Planning
HamsterTalk
Intrnational Herald Tribune
Jack Petree
MikeatthePort
N. Sound Conservancy
No Leaky Buckets
Northwest Review
Orcinus
Post-Oklahoman
Protect Bellingham Parks
Sweeney Politics
The American Telegraph
Wally Wonders