Last weekend I went to Astoria, a small city at the mouth of the Columbia River, for a party celebrating what seems like a final victory over the forces that wanted to develop Liquefied Natural Gas infrastructure in the town and the area nearby. It’s a big deal- local organizations like Columbia Riverkeeper fought for more than ten years to keep Oregon LNG from developing a massive tank farm and facility that would have spurred a huge increase in fracking across the West. I took with me the big prints from our We Agree: No LNG project, a collaboration with Indonesian print cooperative Taring Padi, and showed them to the joyous, capacity crowd in Astoria’s event center. It was interesting to note that when we (Pete Railand, Alec “Icky” Dunn and I) made our collaborative prints- addressing dangerous gas development on the Indonesian side and equally dangerous gasification terminals at the mouth of the Columbia- LNG in Oregon was being sold as an IMPORT project, although many of the activists involved (like colleague Amy Harwood, an amazing anti-pipeline organizer and forest defender) had suspicions, later confirmed, that the tables would be turned and that the real goal was export.
This victory shows the power and importance of local struggles against development of infrastructure for fossil-fuel projects- when people refuse to give up and lose every tool in the toolbox, they can keep bad projects out of the lands that they love and live in. Fossil-fuel projects continue to lose in the Pacific Northwest, from the Jordan Cove LNG terminal in Coos Bay to the recent victory over the Gateway Pacific coal terminal, an effort spearheaded by the indigenous Lummi Nation whose fishing rights would have been drastically affected by the terminal. When we fight, we win. Check out the victory cake, featuring a couple of storage tanks already being carved up by the partygoers.