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Citizen protest against oil train ends in arrest of 5 for trespassing

Protesters block tracks of BNSF oil train in Everett, WA.
Protesters block tracks of BNSF oil train in Everett, WA.Komo news

As President Barack Obama’s climate change plan continues to limp along under executive action rather than bold carbon-curbing regulations, movements to limit greenhouse gases are being taken by some state officials and more citizens are taking action to demand their voices be heard.

According to King5 News, it was around 6:00a.m Tuesday, that a group of protestors calling themselves Rising Tide Seattle, set up a tall tripod-style rig to use in the protest over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe station tracks not far from Interstate-5 in Everett, Washington located North of Seattle.

A few dozen people carrying signs participated in the protest from nearby streets and overpasses. The standoff lasted for almost 8 hours and resulted in two women and three men being arrested for trespassing.

Protestor Abby Brockway stood on top of the tripod, while several others, including Patrick Mazza from Seattle, locked themselves to the lower section of the tripod.

For several years, residents of Washington have been fighting proposed coast-line export terminals from Bellingham and Aberdeen to Vancouver

"People in the Pacific Northwest are forming a thin green line that will keep oil, coal and gas in the ground," said spokeswoman Abby Brockway. "Just one of these proposed terminals would process enough carbon to push us past the global warming tipping point - we won't let that happen."

Mazza said he was taking action for future generations, including his 18-year-old daughter, who doesn’t deserve to inherit the results of our failure to stop burning fossil fuels.

In just the state of Washington alone, King5 News reported estimates of zero transports of oil shipments through the state in 2011 to a staggering 17 million barrels by 2013.

Groups of grassroots activists have been springing up everywhere, particularly in the environmentally conscious Northwest, where last year protesters blocked an oil train at BNSF tracks in Portland.

As crude oil transport across the nation has increased 40-fold in the past few years, so have the accidents in the US and Canada.

In June, Gov. Jay Inslee, who is regarded as one of the most environmentally astute governors in the nation, issued a directive to improve oil spill prevention and beef up response efforts.

“In any discussion about increased movement of crude oil through Washington, the safety of Washingtonians is without question my top concern,” Inslee said. “I want to know how much oil will be shipped through my state and how we can be assured the kind of tragedy that happened in Quebec won’t devastate families in our communities.”

Gus Melonas, police spokesman for BNSF defended the company’s record by saying not one fatality has occurred “as a result of a hazardous material release since 1981."

But critics claim Melonas failed to understand that "hazardous material" being transported in 100-car trains across parts of the nation to export terminals in the Pacific Northwest destined for Asian markets—was the point of the protests.