Residents of Anacortes, Washington are furious with environmental activists for littering their town with more than one ton of trash left behind from recent anti-fossil fuel protests ostensibly held in the name of protecting the Earth.
Eco-activists held protests on a BNSF railroad line over the weekend to prevent oil trains from reaching a nearby Royal Dutch Shell refinery. The 150 or so protesters claimed they were fighting for the environment, but the activists left behind some 2,300 pounds of trash when the police cleared them out.
That didn’t sit well with local residents who saw mounds of trash bordering their properties.
“None of us want to harm the environment. But what they’re doing is causing a lot of problems,” Norman Dahlstedt, told K5 News.
Others took to Facebook to bash environmentalists for leaving behind more than one ton of trash.
“They are hypocrites,” one user wrote, and another said the protesters “should be arrested for dumping and littering and fined.”
Skagit County officials said the 2,300 pounds of trash was hauled off by workers and disposed of. Environmentalists, however, argued most of what was left behind wasn’t trash at all but their personal belongings.
Bob Barnes, an activist with Break Free Pacific Northwest, said the police came in “guns drawn” and removed the protesters before they could grab all their belongings. The group claimed on their Facebook page they left the site cleaner than they found it.
[Note: When Barnes says the police had their “guns drawn,” he likely means paintball guns, and not regular guns that can kill people. The only photos The Daily Caller News Foundation found of protesters’ encounters with police shows officers with paintball guns. You can see the photos here and here.]
“The fact that we would randomly throw stuff up and leave it there, it just ain’t right,” Barnes told K5 News.
Railroad officials, however, said only about 10 percent of the waste left behind was protesters’ belongings. Environmentalists didn’t later clean the site themselves — railroad and county workers hauled all the trash away about four hours after the police removed protesters.
This isn’t the first time environmentalists harmed the very environment they claim to fight for. Activists protesting Shell’s Arctic drilling platform in May 2015 damaged a popular Seattle diving spot.
Activists riding kayaks used a barge, called “The People’s Platform,” to protest Shell’s oil rig, but that barge was parked over the popular dive spot. After the barge was moved, state officials “found cement blocks, cables and chains used to anchor the barge” had caused some damage.
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