The thin green line: fighting fossil fuel exports in the Pacific Northwest

There is an effort afoot to use the US Pacific Northwest as conveyor belt for fossil fuels, carrying them from mines and wells in the interior to the coast, to be shipped overseas.

Atop a region known for natural beauty, sustainability, quality of life, tourism, and advanced-technology jobs, fossil fuel industries propose to lay a skein of heavy new rail lines, pipelines, and export terminals. Millions of tons of coal and millions of gallons of tar sands oil would flow through one of America’s most beautiful places, amidst one of its most environmentally concerned populations, destined to become millions of tons of new carbon emissions, putting climate safety further out of reach.

But just as the coal rush sparked resistance, so has the rush to make the PNW a major hub for carbon energy export. Environmentalists have made common cause with local community and tribal groups to fight the proposals on all fronts: in city council meetings, in courts, in legislatures, and in the media.

This new movement is called “the thin green line,” and given how fast it’s had to scramble, the power and number of its enemies, and its chronic lack of resources, it has been remarkably successful so far.

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