Our energy choices directly affect the health of the air and climate. The byproduct of energy derived from burning fossil-fuel is carbon dioxide (CO2), a powerful greenhouse gas. As individuals and as a society, we must choose to reduce carbon emissions. The most important steps are to use energy more efficiently, replace fossil fuels with clean energy sources such as sun and wind, and protect forests. By taking these steps we will not only stem global warming – We will also provide secure energy supplies and generate new jobs and prosperity in clean technologies. In our Power Past Coal advocacy, we work towards moving the world away from dirty coal that poisons our communities, waters, and climate to a new, clean energy economy.
Our energy choices not only effect the health of our climate, they also effect the health of our communities and natural resources. Today we are facing an unprecedented increase in the volume of oil being shipped by rail, pipeline, and tanker. Our waters face unprecedented risk from oil spills and rail accidents. Our communities are threatened by the risk of exploding oil trains in our neighborhoods. As people of faith who work for strong, safe communities and a healthy, clean economy that leaves a better world for our children, we are speaking out against risky oil transportation that threatens our safety and way of life.
You can read more about oil transportation in the Pacific Northwest in the Sightline Report: The Northwest's Pipeline on Rails.
Earth Ministry supported these bills during the January 2014 legislative session:
Oil Transportation Safety Act (HB 2347): Throughout the nation, we are hearing about dangerous accidents and fires caused by oil transport. Recent oil train derailments in Canada and the United States highlight the risky business of moving oil through our cities. Yet local governments, first responders, and the public lack basic information on how much, what type, and how oil is moving through their towns. HB 2347 will require this disclosure.
At the same time, Washington faces new proposals to move more oil through our state. It is more urgent than ever to improve safety by evaluating existing emergency response plans, identifying our most vulnerable communities, and developing approaches to reduce risk. We are also working to enhance tug escort requirements to protect our waterways and coasts. See our fact sheet: People of Faith Support the Oil Transportation Safety Act.
Closing the Big Oil Tax Loophole (HB 2465): Oil companies like BP and Shell should be paying to clean up their pollution, not profiting from a state tax loophole that was never meant for them. The Legislature created this “accidental loophole” in 1949, before any oil refineries operated in Washington. Now, Big Oil profits from the system and avoids paying $59 million of their fair share of taxes. Earth Ministry worked in partnership with the Environmental Priorities Coalition to try and close this loophole and reallocate this tax revenue for education.
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