Cherry Point

This Small U.S. County Just Became a Major Roadblock for Unrefined Fossil Fuel Exports in North America

Cherry Point

Unrefined fossil fuels won’t be shipped out of a small Washington State export facility at Cherry Point any time soon, due to a temporary moratorium imposed by the Whatcom County Council.

The moratorium positions Cherry Point as a major roadblock for both U.S. and Canadian companies scrounging for export facilities to ship unprocessed oil, gas and coal to overseas markets.

We are determined to use whatever legal tools we have to address climate change and to protect good refining jobs,” Barry Buchanan, council chair in Whatcom County, told DeSmog Canada.

Amid dwindling community-level support for fossil fuel infrastructure and after the U.S. lifted a 40-year old oil export ban, Cherry Point has been flooded with export permit applications for LNG, propane, coal and bitumen.

President Obama Must Say No To Dirty Energy's Wish List

Originally published at TomDispatch.

In our globalized world, old-fashioned geography is not supposed to count for much: mountain ranges, deep-water ports, railroad grades – those seem so nineteenth century. The earth is flat, or so I remember somebody saying.

But those nostalgic for an earlier day, take heart. The Obama administration is making its biggest decisions yet on our energy future and those decisions are intimately tied to this continent’s geography. Remember those old maps from your high-school textbooks that showed each state and province’s prime economic activities? A sheaf of wheat for farm country? A little steel mill for manufacturing? These days in North America what you want to look for are the pickaxes that mean mining, and the derricks that stand for oil.

There’s a pickaxe in the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming, one of the world’s richest deposits of coal. If we’re going to have any hope of slowing climate change, that coal – and so all that future carbon dioxide – needs to stay in the ground.  In precisely the way we hope Brazil guards the Amazon rainforest, that massive sponge for carbon dioxide absorption, we need to stand sentinel over all that coal.

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