Posted by: coalfreewa | March 1, 2010

Rally in Olympia – big success

Our rally in Olympia on Saturday was a huge success! We had around 200 people show up to demand an end to coal in Washington. This despite the cold, rainy weather.

Image courtesy of the Centralia Chronicle/Holly Pederson

We started things off on the Capitol lawn. Luckily we had a tent for everyone to crowd under. We heard from Brooks Berndt, a UCC minister from Vancouver and one of our most active volunteers, Doug Howell, the Coal Free NW director, Jessie Dye of Earth Ministry, Maritess Zurbano a really great writer and small business owner who talked about her concerns over coal as an expecting mother, and finally, Andrew Rose, a grad student at UW, environmental leader, and hard-core Coal Free Washington volunteer.

Afterwards, we trooped over to one of the hearing rooms for a panel discussion, moderated by Jessie Dye and featuring presentations by Nancy Hirsch of the NW Energy Coalition and Doug Howell.

Things got interesting during the Q&A session. There were about a dozen people from the Boilermakers Local, one of the unions represented at the plant, who asked some really good questions about the future of their jobs. It’s obviously something everyone is concerned about, and the discussion could have gotten ugly, but everyone remained respectful and there was a very lively, back-and-forth conversation about Centralia, green jobs and what should be done to make sure that we meet our climate goals while also protecting jobs.

And even after the Q&A ended, the discussion continued, with clumps of Sierra Club activists and union members talking for a good hour, until we finally had to clear the room.

Hopefully I’ll soon have some video to post. In the meantime, here are a few pictures, taken by Roger Cole, one of our great volunteers:

Four volunteers holding signs on the stage during our wet rally!

Brooks getting the crowd inspired.



  1. I could have left this alone after reading your account of what transpired the day of your rally had I not been there . Your perception of the event and the interactions between the sierra followers and our boilermaker representative group ” WORKING FAMILIES FOR CLEAN COAL TECHNOLOGY ” was only accurate in one respect .We remained respectful of all persons involved in the rally and the propaganda presentation and following ” back and forth conversation ” .The rest was just another S.C. fabrication to support an extremist agenda that has no place in a realistic and acceptible change that should serve the greater good for all parties affected . Our concerns reach far beyond our own employment ,to mention a few , the local economy ,i.e. local vendors that have a huge client in Trans Alta ,the areas other small business’s that are patronized by the employees and contractors that cycle through the area each year,the school district that will see reduced funding due to a diminishing tax base as business incomes and property values drop ,is the sierra club going to support this community if they should succeed in closing down Trans Alta . Probably not , but creating the campain to make Washington the most advanced clean coal power state by using the newest technolgy available to protect the enivronment and the community must seem far to hard to accept. Consider the possibilties presentable to not only the coal users in this nation but the others world wide . I do hope that you all will take the time to read this with an open mind consider the trickle down disaster that you support and conclude that we as a forward thinking state are able to direct our efforts toward a much larger and more equitable goal. Respectfully suggested by a Boilermaker and concerned resident of this Earth , James Shine

  2. Mr. Shine uses the phrase “extremist agenda” to describe the Sierra Club campaign against coal generation. Is it extremist to try to protect everyone’s health and living standards? Climate change will, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and international bodies, threaten our health and wealth in profound ways in the not too distant future. Coal is the most polluting method of generating electricity; many good alternatives are available. The welfare of workers and others in Centralia is important, but so is the welfare of all residents of Washington.

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