Monday, August 25, 2014

Guest Post

My report on the 
Oil Summit @ Evergreen, 8/22-23:

I was at the Oil Summit at Evergreen this past week-end; along with Citizens for a Clean Harbor/Grays Harbor Citizens, and many other brilliant, knowledgeable and interesting participants, (too numerous to mention but read your 3-ring binder)...some from as far away as Lac Megantic, Quebec and Northern Alberta, Canada. As you well know, Grays Harbor is currently fighting 3 proposed crude oil tank farms: Westway, Imperium and U.S Development; we face a possible 110  trains per month through our communities carrying 2.7 billion gallons of crude oil for storage, then by barge to tankers and export. With that being said, I relate train watch to our battle.

What I took away from the related "Train Watch" strategizing was overwhelming. Not realizing so much was in the works--I was naive enough to think we would get directions about standing in our back yard by the tracks and counting rail cars--an activity I participate in already (when I feel like blowing off steam). This last 4th of July, The Ron Figlar-Barnes family spent the day with us, at our house on The Chehalis River in our front yard. Low and behold, before the day was over--we all had the opportunity to run to the backyard and count our own little rail cars in our own blast zone on the Chehalis.

Well, let me tell you--this session was not about that! Whew--those almost 3 hours, with 18 other comrades, in a small, stuffy, oxygen deprived room was so far beyond that! First-logistics. We were instructed in the current way to facilitate a group: using words like stack, direct, vibration check. It was foreign to me but I caught on fairly quickly, having previously managed large groups where everyone wants to talk. My comrade to the right did not catch on as quickly. This method of directing a meeting was a spin off of the "occupy" meetings. At least I was told that by Nancy, the facilitor/stacker(?). Matt, the group leader is a train watcher and recorder via Twitter out of Vancouver.
At this break out strategy session time, I serendipiteously sat next to Dean Smith, of Snohomish/Everett. (He also shared his little computer-- amazing MAC Book Air--and I want one!  We looked at what he had developed for train watch recording. Later, I read a writing on his train watch in Everett. You will find that in the workshop binder. Real grass roots--with real possibilities for pushing local awareness. He is a previous NSA employee and actually a "genius" to my way of thinking. 

What he said about evacuation in a community really hit home with me! Something certainly to bring to the attention of Hoquiam, Aberdeen, Grays Harbor! Safety first--Sounds like something for Al Smith to explore. Just kidding--but you have to admit, Al gets out there and asks the right questions. Good job at question asking, Al. What is our evacuation route in Hoquiam if there is a derailment explosion at Gateway Mall and a Tsunami from the West?

That's where I am--at this time I am not expecting to twitter in train reports, but I did manage to get on more emailing lists. Forest Ethics for one...and more. Just what I need, but we'll see how it goes. At the bottom of this email I have included the contact email for Forest Ethics--also in the binder.

What Grays Harbor needs is a shot in the arm for public commenting; public commenting for rail safety and maybe some guidance on "What to Say?" Speak out more, now on rail safety, to make ourselves heard. while the EIS is bubbling for the oil tank farms; while the appeals on ORMA, as R.D said, moves through the courts.

The idea of making our presence known at Governor Inslee's press conferences is something worth considering for our grass roots group, too. I am leaving on Sept. 1st for road trip but will try to get a press conference list--food for thought.

So, that's it. There's more but it's probably in your 3 ring binder. WE are all surely in agreement that The Summit, the  binder and the organization of the entire affair--simply remarkable. Food and pie, too. A lesson in networking. However, at 6:30 pm--possibly earlier--I hit the wall. A ten hour day proved to be overwhelming for this old lady. Brain dead at one end; plain tired at the other end. If you know what I mean; although I tried to stay alert and did not feel the need to bounce and skip until the very end.

Finally, thank you so much, Jude, for the fine foods at our table. You are amazing and Arnie's gallery of the victims at Lac Megantic should have been more duly noted at the microphone. Was it? Maybe I missed it.

The "off the rail car" mad me feel at home, Tammy. Fantastic you ALL--people of The Harbor.

I am anxious to hear reports back from others on ideas to explore from their "strategy groups."

We plan to be at Grays Harbor Coalition Thursday, Furford, 5:30 pm.
Hope to see you there.

Carol Seaman
Grays Harbor
Chehalis River
In the blast zone

Special Thanks to Kathy Rosenmeyer for generously sharing her pictures.

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