Stronger together: Strategies to protect local sovereignty, ecosystems, and place-based communities from the global fossil fuel trade

Last modified: 
February 4, 2019 - 10:49am
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2017
Date published: 06/2017
Authors: Maggie Allen, Stoney Bird, Sara Breslow, Nives Dolšak
Journal title: Marine Policy
Volume: 80
Pages: 168 - 176
ISSN: 0308597X

In the Pacific Northwest, residents are mobilizing to prevent the coastal export of fossil fuels and protect unique ecosystems and place-based communities. This paper examines the diverse groups, largely from the Bellingham area, and how they succeeded in blocking construction of what was to be the largest coal-shipping port in North America, the Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT). Tribes, environmental organizations, faith-based groups, and other citizen groups used a multitude of approaches to prevent development, both independently and in concert. This paper reviews the various ways in which the groups collaborated and supported one another to resist the neoliberalization of the coast and support local sovereignty, unique ecosystems, and place-based communities. Groups like Power Past Coal, Protect Whatcom, and Coal-Free Bellingham fought for important and protective changes and evidenced communitywide political support, but the sovereign rights of the Lummi Nation were the legal bar to constructing the coal terminal.

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