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Arrests Follow Oil Train Blockade Done in Name of Environment, Communities

“If federal and state regulators won’t stand up to the fossil fuel companies endangering our communities, then we, the people of those communities, will do so.”

Activists locked to cement-filled barrels blocking oil trains from reaching an oil refinery in Washington state. (Photo: @Seattle Activist)

Demanding an immediate halt to trains carrying Bakken crude oil through their communities, three demonstrators were arrested on Monday after blockading train tracks outside of the Tesoro oil refinery in northwest Washington state.

According to witnesses, the community members were locked to cement-filled barrels for four hours before being taken into custody. As of Monday afternoon,  the barrels remained blocking the tracks. Those taking part in the demonstration continued to provide updates online.

The blockade was held on the tracks in Anacortes, Washington where on Thursday an oil train headed to the refinery derailed.

"Thursday's derailment was the last straw," said Jan Woodruff, an Anacortes resident who was taken into custody after locking herself to the tracks. “If federal and state regulators won’t stand up to the fossil fuel companies endangering our communities, then we, the people of those communities, will do so.”

The derailment occurred days after the Obama administration announced new oil-by-rail regulations, which environmentalists decried as being too weak considering the hazards posed to communities and the environment by these dangerous "bomb trains."

Despite the known risks, regional governments continue to allow fossil fuel companies to press ahead with developing more oil-by-rail. In Washington, three oil-by-rail terminals have been permitted without full environmental review.

“It’s no surprise that an industry willing to sacrifice the entire planet to catastrophic climate change doesn’t see a few vaporized towns and cities as significant,” said Adam Gaya, one of the blockaders and a member of Rising Tide Seattle. “With recent disasters and the accelerating climate crisis we shouldn’t even be considering new oil infrastructure.”

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