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Demonstrators block train tracks in Everett

- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 2, 2014

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — About a dozen demonstrators blocked railroad tracks Tuesday morning at a Burlington Northern Santa Fe yard to protest train shipments of oil and coal and proposed export terminals in the Northwest.

Protesters included one person sitting atop a tripod over the tracks, according to organizers with the group Rising Tide Seattle. Others are locked to the legs of the tripod.

"People in the Pacific Northwest are forming a thin green line that will keep oil, coal and gas in the ground," spokeswoman Abby Brockway said in a statement. "Just one of these proposed terminals would process enough carbon to push us past the global warming tipping point - we won't let that happen."

The demonstration started about 6 a.m. and blocked an oil train and freight trains at the yard near Interstate 5, said railroad spokesman Gus Melonas. The main line remained open at the scene, about 30 miles north of Seattle.

Everett police were standing by and letting Burlington Northern Santa Fe police handle the situation because it's a trespassing issue, said Officer Aaron Snell. BNSF police are commissioned officers with authority to issue citations or make arrests for trespassing or other criminal activity on railroad property, Melonas said.

Rising Tide Seattle says it's an all-volunteer collective dedicated to taking direct action to confront the causes of climate change.

About two-dozen demonstrators on a nearby overpass carried signs that said, "Coal-oil-gas. None shall pass" and "Cut oil trains, not conductors."

Trains carrying coal from northern Plains states as well as oil trains from the Bakken Fields of North Dakota have drawn increasing opposition from environmentalists because of plans for terminals in Washington, Oregon and along the Columbia River to export fossil fuels to Asia. Oil trains already are serving refineries at Tacoma, Anacortes and Ferndale.

Coal terminals have been proposed at Longview and Bellingham and oil terminals at Vancouver and Grays Harbor.

In Washington, crude oil shipments went from zero in 2011 to 17 million barrels in 2013, according to rough state estimates.

More than 20 new or expanded coal, oil and gas terminals are proposed between British Columbia, Washington and Oregon, said Rising Tide Seattle.

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