Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

May 11, 2016

Lummi Victory! No Coal Terminal at Cherry Point!

By Lummi Nation
Censored News
May 9, 2016 

Lummi Nation responds to U.S. Army Corps’ decision on Gateway Pacific coal terminal Tribe praises Corps’ decision to uphold treaty rights by denying permit Bellingham, Wash.— The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) announced its decision today to deny Pacific International Terminals' application to build North America’s largest coal export terminal in the Lummi Nation’s treaty-protected fishing waters off Cherry Point. The statement below from Tim Ballew II, chairman of the Lummi Indian Business Council, can be quoted in full or in part. 

This is a historic victory for treaty rights and the constitution. It is a historic victory for the Lummi Nation and our entire region. We are pleased to see that the Corps has honored the treaty and the constitution by providing a decision that recognizes the terminal’s impacts to our fishing rights. This decision is a win for the treaty and protects our sacred site.
Our ancient ones at Xwe'chieXen, Cherry Point, will rest protected. Because of this decision, the water we rely on to feed our families, for our ceremonies and for commercial purposes remains protected. But this is more than a victory for our people; it’s a victory for treaty rights. Treaty rights shape our region and nation.
As tribes across the United States face pressures from development and resource extraction, we’ll continue to see tribes lead the fight to defend their treaty rights and protect and manage their lands and waters for future generations.
The impact of a coal terminal on our treaty fishing rights would be severe, irreparable and impossible to mitigate. Today’s victory is monumental and the Corps followed a fair process defined by law to make the right decision. The Corps has honored the treaty between Lummi and the United States. We will always fight to protect Xwe'chieXen.

Published on

Army Corps Denies Permits for Biggest Proposed Coal Export Terminal in North America

This is big—for our climate, for clean air and water, for our future. It’s also big because the U.S. government is honoring its treaty obligations. After a five-year struggle that engaged hundreds of thousands of people, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a landmark decision Monday to deny federal permits for the biggest proposed coal export terminal in North America—the SSA Marine’s proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal, a coal export facility at Xwe’chi’eXen (also known as Cherry Point), Washington.
In January 2015, the Lummi Nation asked the Army Corps to reject the project because it would violate U.S. treaty obligations to project the tribe’s fisheries and ancestral lands. This is a huge win for the Lummi Nation and its Northwest community allies over the coal companies
The Army Corps made the right choice and did its duty by upholding treaty rights and honoring the U.S. government’s commitment to those treaties. Time and again, Pacific International Terminals has shown disregard for the Lummi Nation and its allies, who have for years voiced concerns about the project’s public health, economic and environmental impacts.
I have had the great honor of joining tribal leaders in the Northwest and the Power Past Coalcoalition over the many years of this struggle. The Sierra Club is proud and honored to stand in solidarity with these Tribal Nations and community partners in the fight against coal exports in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve been inspired and electrified by the hundreds of thousands of activists across the region who have spoken out at public hearings, written letters, submitted comments and rallied for clean energy instead of coal exports.
It’s encouraging to see this fossil fuel project that poses great risks and harm to communities, the environment and local economies, receiving the thorough scrutiny it deserves. Northwest families deserve and will accept nothing less than this kind of leadership that protects our health, safety, local economy and climate.
This decision comes on the heels of the recent bankruptcy of Peabody Coal and the news last week that the U.S. crossed the milestone of 100,000 megawatts of coal plant retirements since 2010. Peabody was banking on this project as a major customer for its coal and this announcement deals another blow to promises by coal executives that they have a revival on the horizon—claims that we recently challenged in this open letter to the coal industry and industry analysts.
This is a historic win, but there is a lot more work to do. We will continue to fight until our communities are no longer threatened by these dangerous coal export proposals. Specifically, we will maintain our opposition to this project as long as the developers continue pursuing it and we will leave no stone unturned in our opposition to Millennium Bulk Logistics in Longview, which will have public hearings and a comment period this month and the Fraser Surrey project in British Columbia.
We will continue to fight Arch Coal, Cloud Peak, Peabody Energy and other coal companies that would jeopardize our health, safety, local economies and natural resources—like Lighthouse Resources’, Millennium Bulk Terminals, which wants to force a coal export facility into Longview.
These dirty and dangerous projects will not move forward and we will strive to pursue pathways for justice for all communities as justice was upheld today.
Mary Anne Hitt is director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, which is working to eliminate coal's contribution to global warming and repower the nation with clean


Lloyd Vivola said...

After hundreds of years of misguided policy, acquisitive lifestyles, and ecological insanity, much of the North American settler community may be shocked to learn that the treaties they once signed with First Nations people, those legal agreements so often abused and recklessly broken, were not simply a means toward exploitation and accumulation of colonial wealth, but also a subconsciously self-imposed limit, a bewildering nemesis, a near-death alarm, and a belated guarantee of survival in the context of the tragic economic designs and misconstrued societal values they brought from distant lands and cultures. The Lummi victory at Cherry Point may be yet another auspicious sign that an inspiring change is taking place as regards the relations of indigenous and settler communities who now share a life-giving homeland as inhabitants and neighbors. That said, the sacrifice and endurance of the First Nations must continue to be recognized with heart-felt gratitude; new channels of wisdom-exchange pursued; wounds further healed and past injustice remedied. The future - a future - for all our relations may depend on no less.

Unknown said...

My heart is gladdened and lifted at this good news for the Lummi Nation, other Puget Sound indigenous peoples and the rest of us looking to survive climate chaos. Let us keep our vigil of fossil folly barons alive everywhere. And lets keep envisioning a future we can depend on! Beth, ISCO

Unknown said...

Well said.