May 25, 2016

McKibben-Organized Protesters Leave A “Literal Ton Of Trash” Near Railroad


Earlier this month, Bill McKibben’s 350.org organized a “Break Free” protest event near railroad tracks in Washington state. According to a new report, the protesters left a “literal ton of trash” in their wake.

Heat Street’s Jillian Kay Melchior interviewed a spokeswoman for Washington’s Skagit County. The county estimated the McKibben-organized protesters left around “2,300 pounds of litter,” or “between 10 and 20 percent of their garbage” according to a railroad spokesman.

Apparently, the railroad even “volunteered to cover the full costs of removal”:

In the end, BNFS volunteered to cover the full costs of removal. Given the lag in invoicing, Melonas says, the railroad doesn’t yet know the total cost. “Any time you shut down a rail line—how do you value expense?” Melonas says. “There’s overtime for employees. You have all that support that was there. It’s overall effort—it’s costly. It takes people away from doing what they typically do from work. There was a large amount of people involved, from the cleanup to the security.”

Over 50 people were arrested during the protest for blocking the train tracks. A 350 Seattle blog post added that “Shell and Tesoro officials are still at large” for their “responsib[ility] for the climate crisis.”

At the time of writing, neither McKibben nor 350.org had discussed the incident or accepted responsibility for a ton of pollution in Skagit County.