B.C. anti-coal group to block coal trains May 5

Published on Wed, May 2, 2012 by Jeremy Schwartz

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An anti-coal group based in British Columbia is planning to peacefully block coal trains traveling past White Rock on May 5.

British Columbians for Climate Action (BCCA) has planned the protest as part a national day of events design to call attention to the dangers of climate change, BCCA spokesperson Bruce Mohun said in a phone interview. The climate change activism group 350.org has marked May 5 as an international day meant to “connect the dots” of the myriad negative consequences global climate change will have.

Mohun said the BCCA plans to peacefully block coal trains running north or south on the rail lines directly adjacent to White Rock, B.C. The group will not block freight or Amtrak traffic, but plans to stay in place to block coal trains as long as necessary from 12:01 a.m. to midnight on May 5.

“We would have to be arrested and removed from the tracks,” Mohun said. "A bunch of want to be able to say we did something about clime change, [and] that we’re willing to break the law."

The BCCA has notified BNSF of their plans to block the trains, Mohun said, so the rail company should have time to delay or reroute trains. Local police also know about the protest, and Mohun said the group is not planning anything that will put lives or property in danger.

“Nobody’s going to be chaining themselves to the tracks,” Mohun said. “The police just have to walk up to one of us and say ‘You’re under arrest,’ and we’ll go with them.”

The protest will focus on the railroad crossing at White Rock Pier. The group plans to post spotters farther down the tracks on either side to inform the main group of an approaching train, Mohun explained.

On December 12 of last year, between 80 and 100 protesters showed up to a railroad crossing in Bellingham to block trains from passing. Bellingham police ended up arresting about a dozen people who refused to unlink their arms and leave the tracks when ordered to do so.

For more information on the May 5 protest, visit BCCA’s website here.


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