July 2012 Meeting Notes

The July meeting at Karen and David’s was well attended and included two new participants: Isa and Karin.  Mike facilitated and Mark kept the meeting on schedule.  The following summarizes the topics, outcomes, and action items.

Coal Trains:  

Mark and Mary reported on the Magnolia Coal Hard Truth Forum and the Coal Free Washington Task Force Meeting.  (click to see detailed notes from these events).  They  encouraged people to attend the next Forum on Queen Anne on Tuesday, July 24th from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Community Center to have an opportunity to meet and hear from others involved in this issue from a variety of organizations.  Also, attending the Coal Free Washington Task Force meeting the third Thursday of each  month at the Sierra Club is an excellent way to learn about the latest news on coal trains, the environmental impact analysis and the related NEPA process.  Next meeting is August 16th from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at Sierra Club offices, 180 Nickerson, #220.

The Task Force is also looking for people to get involved on the coal export issues to raise awareness such as through tabling at summer events, farmers’ markets, community fairs, etc.  Call Robin Everett (206-378-0114 x308) if you’d like information on how you can help on the coal trains issue.

Tar Sands:  

Mike said that there are two opportunities coming up to help on preventing the oil from Alberta tar sands being shipped out through Puget Sound ports.   The risks from shipments of this oil and its products is that due to its heaviness any spill will lead to the oil being deposited on the bottom of the Sound where it will be extremely difficult to clean up, if not impossible, likely causing irreparable damage to the benthic ecosystems.

Opportunity No. 1:   There is a group of which SEA has been an active participant who has moved to get the Seattle City Council to pass a resolution opposing Tar Sands Oil from being refined and shipped through Puget Sound.   Mike O’Brien with co sponsor Nick Licatta has agreed to sponsor this resolution through the Seattle City Council.  The target date for this action is August and there will be a need to get people out to show their support for the Council taking this action.  As soon as the resolution is ready for action the five groups involved will be alerting their members.

Opportunity No. 2:   The second anniversary of the spill of Alberta Tar Sands oil into the Kalamazoo river will be coming up on July 25th.  The oil settled on the bottom of the river where it has done enormous damage and may be leading to the reported adverse health impacts.   There are events planned in other cities, but what may be planned for Seattle is not yet clear.  Watch for opportunities to speak out about this issue.  Janet suggested that letters to the editor may be a way to raise awareness around this issue.  David and Bruce have been successful in getting letters on Tar Sands published; this is another opportunity to get the press’ attention on the issue.

Involvement in Fall Elections:   

The group agreed that we should watch for opportunities for SEA members to provide support for candidates who can be counted on to support environmental causes.  Where we can go together as representatives of SEA, we should do so.  Candidates that we should support in particular are Jay Inslee for Governor and Barack Obama for President.

New City/County Energy Action Idea:

 Janet suggested that the Mayor and County Executive should be approached with the idea of having a day (or days) identified around which the public, employees and customers, can make suggestions for how private employers and public agencies can save energy.  There was enthusiastic support for the idea and it was agreed that the group will continue to work on it.  Janet will post a Blog entry describing this idea and asking others to use the Comments block to add their ideas for how to go about describing the idea and taking it to the Mayor and County Executive.  It will be on the agenda for the next meeting for further discussion.

Positive (Legal) Action on Climate Change by Youth:  

Mike heard about a legal action filed in New Mexico against the State to make them take action on Climate Change under the Public Trust Doctrine.   He contacted the attorney representing the plaintiffs and learned that there is another similar case here in Washington.  Last Monday there was a hearing on the case and whether it should go forward.  He is waiting to hear back from the attorney to see if there is any way that SEA can be of help.

Future Meetings:

Some logistical ideas were raised in regard to the monthly meetings.

  • Biking to Meetings:  If the meetings were early enough in the day such that people would be able to get home before dark, more people would bike, which would be more consistent with our efforts to reduce fossil fuel use.  The location of the meeting would also influence whether people could feasibly bike, with many of the bikers more in the northwest area rather than the northeast area of the city.   There were several people who could not come to a meeting that was earlier in the day on Sunday, however, so it may be something that can only be done during the summer months.  The group will continue to look for opportunities to reduce the fossil fuel used in coming to the monthly meetings.
  • August Meeting:  It was proposed the the August meeting be skipped because several people could not come to a meeting on the regularly scheduled day, which would have been the 12th, however, it was felt that there is a value in having a meeting every month, so the meeting was moved to the 19th – the third Sunday, and Janet volunteered her home for the meeting.  Mark agreed to facilitate the meeting.
  • September Meeting:  Mike raised the need to have a meeting at which the group could discuss any underlying discouragement, cynicism and despair about where we are in regard to addressing climate change, as well as things around which we have optimism and energy.   A meeting that would allow for some “stepping back” to look at where we are and what we want to be doing would allow for some of this to be shared.  After some discussion, it was agreed that a description of how the meeting would flow would help people decide whether they wanted something like that.
  • Movie and Discussion Meeting:  Jack raised the idea of having a meeting that set aside a half hour or so for a movie and then time for discussion which would be a way to educate ourselves on relevant issues.   The Last Mountain (about mountain top removal in West Virginia) was one suggestion.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:00 pm.

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