April 2012 Meeting Notes

Notes from April 8, 2012 SEA Meeting:   The April Meeting of the Seattle Environmental Activists covered upcoming activities on Tar Sands, a discussion of coal-related activities, Earth Day participation, and a summer “recruitment” party, as well as also including an excellent tutorial on meeting facilitation by Mike D.  See below for updates and details upcoming activities.  A lot has been happening!

Tar Sands:  (Mike)  The SEA Tar Sands Working Group has been coordinating with Forest Ethics, Sierra Club and others to pursue a Seattle City Council resolution against having Tar Sand oil being shipped through Puget Sound from British Columbia to Washington refineries or resulting vehicle fuel used by the Seattle fleet.  The crude oil from Tar Sands is heavier than water and if there were to be a spill would be particularly damaging to the benthic ecosystem of the Puget Sound, as well as extremely difficult to clean up.  Following are actions underway:

    • Partners Meeting with Seattle Councilmember O’Brien:  Mike D has spoken to Councilmember O’Brien’s office to set up a meeting with him in his capacity as Chair of the Environment and Land Use Committee.  The staffer was going to speak with O’Brien’s scheduler to set up a meeting for a representative from SEA, Sierra Club, Forest Ethics and People for Puget Sound within the next couple of weeks to discuss the proposed Tar Sands resolution.
    • Letters from Businesses Opposing Tar Sands Oil Shipments in Puget Sound:  Letters are being sent out to 60 or so businesses in the Puget Sound region inquiring if they would like to sign a letter in opposition to shipping of heavy and toxic Tar Sands oil through Puget Sound.  The SEA Tar Sands Working group plans to follow up on these letters with calls to the businesses to see if they have questions and are willing to sign the letters, which will then be made available to the Council.  Anyone interested in helping with this follow-up are invited to do so.
    • Expert Testimony:  When the proposed resolution is brought before the City Council it will be important that experts are available to testify as to the health, economic, marine, air quality, and other risks that Tar Sands oil poses.   Anyone who knows of experts who would be either willing to testify or provide written statements are asked to let Mike or the Working Group know.  
    • Letters to the Editor:  Letters to the editor continue to be important.  Letters can be shared by posting them to the SEA Change Blog and Face Book page.  Those who attended the letter writing session at Janet’s were provided with guidance and examples of letters to the editor.  If anyone needs the guidance information and addresses for news publications, they can email seactivists@google.com.

Coal:  (Mark)  The possibility of SEA creating a page on its Blog that would be an external source of information for others about current coal trains actions in the Seattle area and sources for good information was discussed. We decided not to pursue it at this time.

Coal (Mary):  There are two upcoming meetings (details below) that would be great to have SEA members at to learn what others are doing about plans to export US coal through Washington State ports (i.e. Bellingham and Longview) and opportunities for SEA to play a role.  SEA Members are encouraged to attend, either or both:

Ballard Coal Hard Truth Forum  – Wednesday, April 18, 2012 ,7:00 – 9:00 pm  For questions or to RSVP for the Coal Hard Truth Forum, please contact robin.everett@sierraclub.org or call 206-378-0114 x308.  For more information:  http://cascade.sierraclub.org/node/2857

Coal Free Seattle Volunteer Meeting – Thursday, April 19, 6:00-8:00 pm  Sierra Club office, 180 Nickerson St #202, Seattle.  For more information: http://cascade.sierraclub.org/node/2856

Note:  Coal Scientific Research and EIA:  Karen was unable to attend the meeting due to illness and so no update on the scientific research effort in re Coal export through Cherry Point was available.

Earth Day:  The plan to participate in volunteer activities for Earth Day on April 21st was reviewed.  Bruce has coordinated on the Carkeek Park site for trail maintenance and Mary D on the Burke-Gilman Trail.  At Carkeek volunteers should meet at the road end off of NW 110th Street at 9AM.  They will provide gloves and water and it is important to be prompt because they will disperse through the woods after that.

There may be a social gathering afterwards to which all are invited.  Details will be sent via email to the SEA-Alert listserve.  Those who have not signed up and wish to participate should contact Bruce, Mark or Mary D.

OtherIn connection with environmental and park clean up work, Bruce passed on the suggestion that folks can contact the Legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 to express their support for cutting corporate tax loopholes rather than money for schools, parks, health care, and the environment.  The budget is pending and calls now could have an impact.  Just give your zip code and the hotline will refer you to the appropriate legislator.

Summer Recruitment Meeting:  The June 10th meeting will be a potluck/picnic and “recruitment” meeting.  SEA members will be able invite friends and others who they know who are likely to be interested to join in the work we do.  It will be planned for the June meeting and held in Mary M’s garden.  Planning for it will be on the agenda for the May meeting.

May Meeting:  The May meeting will be held on the third Sunday, May 20th, rather than the second due to Mother’s Day.  A location for the meeting is still to be determined.   Agenda items should be sent to Mark, who will be facilitator for the meeting.

Thanks to Bruce for hosting the meeting and Mike for the excellent insights into effective facilitation!

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