latest from Solutionary Rail

Dear friends, current and potential just transition allies.
The possibility that electrification of freight rail is being considered in the 116th Congress  is exciting news. I am adding a number of folks to this email thread (via BCC for this round – listed at the bottom of this email)
If rail electrification is truly on the agenda, I believe it is absolutely essential and urgent that its advocates and those potentially impacted understand a few of the not immediately obvious things we’ve learned in the last few years.  [I will assume that all those receiving this have viewed the 3 minute intro video here.] 
If you and your organization is interested in participating in a Solutionary Rail Stakeholder Strategy Conference/Symposium or joint briefing, PLEASE  do reply to this email.
Lessons Learned and Strategic Opportunities:
Rail Electrification WITHOUT shifting of the current railroad service/business model is only minimally impactful. Rail’s contribution to carbon pollution is a small fraction of that of trucks. The biggest climate, public health, economic and environmental justice benefits are only realized IF we simultaneously shift the business model of rail toward one that draws freight off of trucks – especially long haul trucks – so that the trucking fleet can be decarbonized/electrified more rapidly (and affordably). This business model shift will inherently include a number of ancillary benefits.  But cross sector solidarity and our intentional engagement on the public interest deliverables will exponentially increase the potential for us to accomplish a number of other IMPORTANT goals.
If we can build and sustain such solidarity amongst a broad and unconventional alliance, we will deliver significant victories that make a material difference in the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
Public investment in this infrastructure improvement needs to come with public benefit mandates.  We need to guard against the temptation to merely bail out the railroad companies, using public funds and access to inexpensive financing to inflate private profits by reducing fuel expenses and expanding marketshare. That would be a wasted opportunity, irresponsible/corrupt policy, and a historically tragic mistake.
The railroads are our first regulated monopolies.  They are common carriers allowed to exist as private providers of critical infrastructural functionality as long as they serve the public interest.  Their current business model/trajectory of longer, less frequent trains, making fewer stops, with smaller crews is not consistent with the current public interests. It concentrates damages, underutilizes critical clean, efficient infrastructure, and robs communities of economic and cultural opportunity.  It clogs tracks impeding passenger trains and clogs freeways with polluting vehicles, especially dangerous trucks that spew diesel, kill thousands of drivers a year and disproportionately wear out our already neglected infrastructure.

Thus, it is essential that we update our public interest expectations of these regulated monopolies/common carriers.  I submit that public interest includes this list of items (and likely others): 

  • worker and community safety, (minimum crew sizes, regular work schedules, removal of systemic causes of chronic fatigue, etc.)
  • return service and access to communities along the tracks for vibrant local economies and reversing trend and impacts from concentrated warehouses/hubs,
  • utilization of the RoW for renewable energy transmission to meet renewable energy goals by addressing transmission and balancing variability of renewable energy generation across many weather patterns,
  • guaranteed load/customer for surplus electricity created by renewable energy generation sources along the corridors,
  • critical support for decarbonizing freight transport from port to rail yard to warehouse to store/customer,
  • making way for faster passenger service to draw people away from air and vehicle travel,
  • resolving historical right of way justice wrongs committed against indigenous communities along the corridors, and
  • habitat protections especially where rail beds harm treaty protected fisheries or impede access to usual and accustomed gathering sites.
I would be honored to come to DC and bring others more expert than I to help communicate this critical message.  
Solutionary Rail project would like to co-produce a stakeholder symposium on the Solutionary Rail approach to just transition and decarbonization. I have proposed to Green New Deal allies that we consider working together to harness the support from members of Congress to reserve contiguous space at the Capitol Visitors Center auditorium for a series of just transition/Green New Deal briefings. I haven’t heard back about that proposition. Perhaps Congressman DeFazio or Congresswoman Jayapal or others would help us reserve space at the capitol.
If you and your organization is interested in participating in a Stakeholder Strategy Conference/Symposium or joint briefing, PLEASE reply to this email.
In solidarity, gratitude, and collaboration to make 2019 exceed expectations,

Bill Moyer
Executive Director
Backbone Campaign
Solutionary Rail campaign lead
o. 206-408-8058
c. 206-356-9980

Included in this email: 
Steve Shafarman, Fritz Edler, Joel Segal, Rep. Phil Barnhart, Winona LaDuke, Karen Dolan, John Cavanagh, Will Maus, Tom Goldtooth, Steve Chrismer, Angelo Logan, Jim Hoecker, Carol Werner, Janet Redman, Howie Klein, Mustafa Ali, Bob Fertik, Michelle Romero, Ron Kaminkow, Varshini Prakash, Wenonah Hauter, David Levine, Daphne Wysham, Samuel Golding, Jacqui Patterson, Gar Alperovitz, Roger Hickey, Holmes Hummel, Alexander MacDonald, Dan Kammen, Sierra Club electrification folks, the Solutionary Rail technical and campaign teams, and more.

Busy neighbors




New year, same old climate disaster… Whoops! We resolved to be positive: Hey kids, here’s something to get stoked up about!!!


On January 28, King County Councilmember Upthegrove will introduce a #FossilFreeKC ordinance that prohibits all new major fossil fuel infrastructure in King County, like new oil storage terminals or expanded gas pipelines. It’s up to us to make sure it passes—so let’s build a groundswell of community support that resonates more loudly than fossil fuel money!

Here are three ways you can help us win a Fossil Free Future:

Sign and share our petition to King County leaders!

Learn more about the campaign and get plugged in!
Thursday, January 10, 6:30–8:00pm
1919 E Prospect St, Seattle 98122.
More info and RSVP here.

Art Build! Art Build!
Saturday, January 19, 12:00–4:00pm
Fremont Powerhouse, 3940 Fremont Ave N, Seattle 98103
Details here.


Just two weeks until this year’s session starts in the state legislature, January 14th. The Governor has a climatepackage and the big greens have priorities. There are other climate bills coming forward, too. With more climate-aware legislators than ever before, is this the year we finally make progress?

Find the town hall nearest you and ask your legislators! Better yet, sign up for Lobby Day and ask them in their offices:

Lobby Day for Climate
Tuesday, January 29, 8:30am–5:00pm
United Churches, 110 11th Ave SE, Olympia, WA 98501
Click here to sign up.

And if your fingers are already itching to make calls and write emails to support strong bills, join our rapid-response Civic Action Team! New to town and don’t know who your state legislators are? Look them up here.


35th Ave NE
Thanks to everyone who wrote asking the Mayor to complete the 35th Avenue portion of Seattle’s Basic Bike Network as promised. We expected an announcement right before the holidays, and we hear that the reason the Mayor is holding off is that she is doing “more business outreach,” which means we citizens clearly need to do more Mayoral outreach: Please keep the pressure up and send this email to the Mayor now.

Moving through the #SeattleSqueeze
On December 11th MASS (Move all Seattle Sustainably) used the one-month-from-Seattle-Squeeze date to generate press for our transportation proposals. Expect more noise from us as #SeattleSqueeze begins in January. A small group of us are analyzing bus real-time data in order to be able to make informed proposals for transit improvements, and we are thinking of additional fun stuff, like real-time experiments testing and publicizing how fast biking is relative to cars during #SeattleSqueeze. Contact Alice if interested.

Transportation Team Monthly Meeting
Monday, January 14, 4:15–5:45pm
Room 330, Vance building, 1402 3rd Ave, Seattle 98101


The housing fight at the city level is quiet this month… but things are starting to move at the state level, and we’re tracking a few interesting bills. To stay in the loop, email Emily.


Frontline Allies welcomes your participation in everything from organizing trainings on undoing oppressive systems, to supporting our allies in climate justice work. To join, contact Kara. More information is available here, including upcoming support and education opportunities.

Our monthly meeting is a great place to learn about our work, including our new project focused on economic justice and just transition, the upcoming Our People Gonna Rise Workshop Series, and more.

Frontline Allies Monthly Meeting
Monday, January 14, 7:00pm
RSVP to Kara for the address of a home in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood.

Frontline Allies study group on What It Means To Be White by Robin DiAngelo
All welcome! Barbara (350 Seattle Book Club) and Karen (Breaking White Silence) will co-facilitate using Robin DiAngelo’s curriculum. Tentatively scheduled to start the second Sunday in February (Feb 10) at 2:00pm. Location to be determined based on feedback. We have some copies of the book for folks to borrow. Questions, RSVP’s—write to bookclub@350Seattle.org.

Undoing Racism: Our People Gonna Rise Workshop Series
Offered again in early 2019! This 3-part series (Allies to Immigrants, Black Liberation, Solidarity with Natives) is facilitated by the Mangrove Collective. Each 6-hr workshop creates a safe space for difficult conversations as we come together and commit to ending racism in our work. The format mixes short presentations on how racism and other oppressions work, and how individual experiences intersect with different oppressions; small-group storytelling (with opportunities for deeper sharing and listening); large-group sharing (with highlights from small group discussions); and time for individual reflection. To be notified when registration is open, email Kara.There will be one workshop per month in March, April, and May. Take one or all three! It’s designed as a series, so to get the most out of it, all three are encouraged.

Solidarity with Unist’ot’en Camp
Update: The Gitdumt’en Clan of the Wet’suwet’en have erected an access point about 20 km away on the same logging road in support of the Unist’ot’en. The injunction filed by TransCanada against the Unist’ot’en has been updated to include the Gitdumt’en. Please donate if you can. To learn more about the Unist’ot’en and to donate, go to http://unistoten.camp/. You can also follow Unist’ot’en Camp and Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gidumt’en Territory on Facebook for the most recent information.


Was your New Year’s Resolution to learn a new skill? How about learning the art of keeping the peace at demos, rallies, and marches! We only have a handful of spots left in the Peacekeeper Training, part of our Pledge of Resistance Training Series. Peacekeepers at demonstrations, marches, and actions help organizers to achieve their goals. Come learn and hone your skills in being alert to situations and intervening appropriately, de-escalation, and communicating with participants. In this interactive workshop we’ll look at the role of peacekeepers, practice together, and examine the specific issues that a peacekeeper coordinator needs to think about. Whether you work with 350 Seattle and want to be an active participant for upcoming actions, or if you’re planning on being in the streets on MLK Day or for the Women’s March—come have fun and practice useful skills.

Peacekeeper Training
January 12, 1:00pm
Rainier Beach Library, 9125 Rainier Ave S, Seattle 98118
Suggested donation of $10-$50 but any amount is welcome, no one turned away for lack of funds. Space is limited, so register here today!


Check out our new Tacoma LNG info page to learn more and stay connected to the fight!

Public money for corporate profit
As currently outlined, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) has been authorized to pass on 43% of its construction costs to residential rate-paying customers—even though customers will receive less than 2% of the project’s output. The majority of this fracked gas refinery and storage facility will be used to sell the gas for a profit to industrial and maritime customers; a small fraction will be used to provide backup power to residential ratepayers on the coldest days of the year, a practice called “peak shaving.” How is that fair to rate-payers?

What’s more, the Tacoma LNG project would lock us into decades of climate destructive fossil fuel use and create health and safety issues for local residents, and is currently being built in violation of the Medicine Creek Treaty. This project is clearly not in the public interest!

Please sign this petition to tell PSE and local decision-makers that we won’t pay millions for this disastrous fracked gas project!

Shipping fuel alternatives
Puget Sound Energy and TOTE Maritime suggest that we need LNG as a cleaner fueling option for the shipping industry. While it’s true that LNG is a cleaner fuel at point of burning, when all the methane emissions from the fracking extraction, transportation and storage are taken into account, LNG is as bad as coal! We are past the point of using “bridge fuels” instead of real green solutions.

We would like to highlight the recent climate strategy announced by Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, as an example of a corporation that is taking the climate crisis seriously and investing in the new technologies needed to have carbon neutral, commercially available vessels by 2030, with additional goals of making the entire company carbon neutral by 2050.

That type of approach needs to be taken by TOTE and the rest of the shipping industry, and also by the cruise ship industry, especially as the Port of Seattle invests in huge upgrades.


Speaking of corporate behemoths behind the climate curve, in December, twenty-eight current and former Amazon workers officially co-filed a shareholder resolution asking for Amazon’s plans for “reducing its company-wide dependence on fossil fuels.”

You can read the full resolution text, and while you’re at it, sign a petition supporting the worker’s action here.The size of the workers’ group makes this a first, so pile on!

The press has covered the significance of the action—the New York Times broke the story—and Amazon’s significant impact on the climate. The Seattle Times covers the climate angle, including 350 Seattle’s research!


The youth-led Sunrise Movement has transformed the national climate conversation by calling on House Dems to support a Green New Deal—a transformative plan to address climate change and inequality that’s in line with the scale and urgency of the climate crisis.

With the announcement of a “toothless” Select Committee on Climate Change that doesn’t have subpoena power, lacks a mandate to create Green New Deal legislation, and allows committee members to take fossil fuel money, we need to keep the pressure on House Dems.

Can you make three quick phone calls in support of a Green New Deal? We give you talking points and phone numbers for Speaker Pelosi, Rep. Smith and Rep. Jayapal.

We’ve formed a GND team that’s organizing in solidarity with local Sunrise leaders. Reach out to Jess to learn more or get involved!


In the coming months, Congress will be asked to approve the re-negotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Despite claims it’s much improved, NAFTA 2.0 fails to repair the climate and environmental flaws of the old NAFTA. In fact, NAFTA 2.0 offers special handouts to history’s largest corporate climate polluters, allows further outsourcing of pollution and jobs, and locks in continued fossil fuel dependency. It not only fails to mention climate change—it would actively contribute to the climate crisis.

It also threatens the excitement and hope of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s push for a Green New Deal: several NAFTA provisions could allow trade challenges to key planks of a GND such as Buy Local, Buy Clean, and green subsidies. And while GND policies are geared toward reducing air, water, and climate emissions, status quo trade policies like NAFTA 2.0 allow corporations to continue emitting at high levels by transferring production to countries with weak standards.

Please call your Congressional representative, as well as Senators Murray (202-224-2621) and Cantwell (202-224-3441), and tell them you expect them to vote no on Trump’s new NAFTA.


Oh, JPMorgan Chase… what will we do with you? On the same day that we put a fifty-foot pipeline through Chase’s regional HQ, the bank not only renewed its $1.5 billion loan to TransCanada but actually increased it… by four billion dollars. Chase continues to be the number one funder of climate disaster on Wall Street—and, for as long as that is the case, we will continue to hold them accountable. One way to do that is to support Chase customers to make sure they know how to have their voices are heard. If you are a Chase customer, please sign up here to receive our Chase Customers’ Toolkit.


In slightly better news, the City of Seattle has taken the next necessary step toward creating a public bank: it funded a public bank business plan in its most recent budget. Because we know that Wall Street banks don’t have values that are aligned with our city, we’ll be continuing to track this closely. And, for the time being, please check out this recent YES! article, featuring our friends from Mazaska Talks, to learn more about why we need a public bank.


A Happy New Year to you all!! Artful Activism welcomes all skill levels in any art form, and have lots going on to jump into, from occasional participation to leadership opportunities. Join online here or come to art builds whenever you can! They are fun, no-skills-needed, community gatherings with food and good connections.

CORRECTION! The Artful pARTay is POSTPONED. Apologies friends, our schedules and venues could not align! Finding time and space in Seattle is a challenge but we hope to have an artful party in early spring!! Stay tuned for more information!

But guess what?! We have our first ART BUILD of 2019:

Create imagery for the Fossil Free King County campaign!
Saturday, January 19, 12:00–4:00pm
Fremont Powerhouse, 3940 Fremont Ave N, Seattle 98103
Click here for details.

Looking for a mural wall
We are still looking for a high visibility wall for a beautiful mural. Know of one? If you do or would like to paint bus shelters with young people, contact Doug.

Join the Deployment Team!
Ever wish you had a role during actions and events? Come learn crucial skills with us! We need you! Contact Shemona.

And if you’re a skilled artist (visual, theater, dance, music…) and want to apply your skill or show others how, please let us know! Contact Lisa.


Our event team is looking for party planning go-getters to join our team! We’ll be working on 1 or 2 big fundraising events this year and we will need all the help! Please contact Shemona for more details.


Our year end fundraising drive was a success! Thank you!
We exceeded our year end fundraising goal by $1,700—huge thanks to the 378 people who made donations and to our 3 matching gift challenge donors!

And thanks to all of you for everything you do!

350 Seattle

PS Dress for success in 2019

These People Over Pipelines shirts never go out of style—now in blue and red! Order online here.

350Seattle.org · 1919 E Prospect St, Seattle, WA 98112, United States
To stop receiving emails or to update your email preferences, click here. You can also keep up with 350 Seattle on Twitter or Facebook.Donations always appreciated and put to good use.

A Hopeful Post and a request for Donations to 350 Seattle

by Rachel McDonald

I was recently elected to 350 Seattle’s board of directors. Those of you who know me well know I’m a librarian by trade, and reading is one of the ways in which I make sense of the world. For years, I read about climate change, but I became involved in climate justice fairly recently, when I realized that we as a society can no longer expect that our elected leaders will treat this issue like the crisis it is. On some level, I’d also been looking for a community: a group of people whose values were similar to mine and who weren’t afraid to take action in all sorts of ways to live those values. Whether it’s showing up to city council budget hearings to advocate for a more liveable city for all, canvassing for a carbon fee on corporate polluters, supporting the Puyallup tribe in their fight against a fracked gas facility, or holding big banks accountable for their investments in tar sands infrastructure, I’m proud of the transformative work that this organization is engaged in.

I’ve been thinking a great deal about hope in the past year. There is no denying that we are in dark times, certainly the darkest era I’ve seen in my lifetime. And that’s why hope is so vital. We can choose to succumb to cynicism and despair, we can stand idly by and wish things were different, or we can choose a path of collective action — of working together with our friends, our neighbors, in our communities, and even forming global networks of direct action, resistance, and mutual aid. Having hope is all about recognizing that, as author Arundhati Roy says, “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

If we’re willing to peer into that darkness and imagine the world in which we want to live, the world in which we want future generations to live, and then get up every morning and take small steps toward making that world a reality while acknowledging that we may not see it in our lifetimes, then we are creating a climate of hope. And that is why the work that 350 Seattle is doing is so important to me. When I think of the battles we’ve won, and the battles we’ve yet to win, it brings me hope. And as the brilliant essayist Rebecca Solnit says, “Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away.”

We have it within our power to make change. Whatever your talents and interests, there are so many ways that you can be involved in this work. I’m a bit of a theater geek, so perhaps it’s not surprising then that in the past couple years I’ve found myself dressed up in a bright yellow hazmat suit, occupying banks in Seattle, and performing street theater to bring attention to Chase’s funding of tar sands pipeline projects. And while this definitely involved me moving outside of my comfort zone, it was also really fun. I’ve made connections and friendships that I believe will last for the rest of my life. And it’s thanks to these connections and that support that I felt ready to take a risk and use my privilege to get arrested and hopefully bring more attention to the seriousness of climate chaos. (Now I’m not asking you all to get arrested, but if you’re interested in talking about it, come and find me sometime).

We have an amazing group of people from all walks of life who are engaged in this fight. Some of them have radically rearranged their priorities and sacrificed financial stability to become more involved with 350 Seattle, but they can’t do this alone. Doing this work takes a great deal of organizing, coordinating resources, and providing logistical support. And that’s where we all come in. We are spending the next few weeks trying to raise $6000 more for 350 Seattle’s work — the remainder of our original goal of $20,000 that’s being matched by an anonymous donor. I’m asking you to ask yourself what you can donate. Please donate an amount that is meaningful to you. Or become a monthly donor, of which we now have almost 200. Think about how much you pay a month for coffee, or perhaps for Netflix, or some other small indulgence. Would you be willing to match that amount with a regular donation? Or maybe give a little more? I’m asking you to make a gift that feels significant to you, as significant as the work we’re doing. We all have different financial circumstances and no amount is too small. Most of all, thank you for continuing to engage in and support the work of 350 Seattle. Without you, without us, none of this would be possible.

CCNCW Updates

Jan. 9 – TOMORROW!: The Democrats will be hosting Raquel Crowley,  Senator Patty Murray’s Central Washington Director. Join them to hear Senator Murray’s Legislative priorities. 766 S. Mission in Wenatchee. 6:30 social time / Meeting starts at 7:00.
Jan. 11 – FRIDAY!!!:Protest at Chase Bank in Wenatchee at 4:30pm Chase continues to pour more money into Fossil Fuel extraction, they are also violating their own policy. Chase finances oil pipelines transporting Tar Sand crude across traditional Unist’ot’ten tribal lands.
Jan. 14 – Monday:CCNCW meeting – Chelan Co. Fire station #11- Social time: 5:00 – Meeting starts at 6:00  If you have agenda items please send them to Sue Kane.
The New Green Deal: CCNCW has sent a letter to our Congressional Representatives to support this policy.  Please make a personal contact with them in support of this legislation.  It’s fairly easy to get addresses for Senators Murray and Cantwell and Representative Newhouse.  Here’s how you can contact Congresswoman Kim Schrier:
The Honorable Dr. Kim Schrier
1123 Longworth House Office Building
15 Independence Ave SE
Washington, DC 20515
https://schrier.house.gov/ (use the “Contact” tab).
Sue Kane – email co-editor

Next date with Chase!

Join us this coming Friday, Jan. 11th on the corner of Orondo & Mission.  We’re doing a later start and bringing the go-bo light.  Dress warm, bring signs and voices.  The fun starts at 4:30P and goes to 6P.