Oct 7, 2016 - Victory! Coalition of Tribes and Environmentalists Defeat Proposed Shell Oil by Rail Facility in Washington State
On October 6th, Shell Oil announced that they will be suspending their permit for a planned Bakken crude-by-rail project that was slated to be built at March Point in Anacortes, WA, ancestral lands of the Swinomish Indian Nation. The proposal sought to bring an additional estimated 60,000 barrels of crude oil a day to its refinery.
“March Point is the ancestral territory of the Swinomish peoples. March Point was taken from the Swinomish in 1873 by President Ulysses Grant, in an Executive Order, that diminished the size of the Indian reservation. This action opened up the land to be occupied by settler colonists and later occupied by oil corporations.” Shelly Vendiola (Swinomish)
This is a major victory for Northwest Tribes who, along with a broad coalition of environmentalists, have been actively opposing the proposed facility by engaging in public hearings, holding mass demonstrations, and engaging in non-violent direct action.
Last May, thousands descended upon March Point for traditional canoe landings, massive demonstrations, and occupying the rail road tracks to block oil trains. 52 people were arrested.
Break Free Indigenous Peoples march at March Point photo by Alex Garland
“All of these proposals, from Shell’s to the other proposed oil-by-rail facilities along Tribal lands on the coast and out to the Dakota Access pipeline, are nothing more than the legacy of colonization. These battles against environmental degradation, protecting water, protecting all of creation, protecting Ina Maka [Mother Earth], is our fight against legacy of colonization and colonialism.” Matt Remle (Lakota)
Shell’s proposed facility was one of six proposed train-to-ship oil facilities along the coast of Washington.
Map of proposed and pre -existing oil-by-rail facilities.
The coalition of Tribes and environmentalists are activity opposing the remaining proposed oil-by-rail facilities.
by Wakíƞyaƞ Waánataƞ (Matt Remle- Lakota)