Crag Law Center has had a strong relationship with Columbia Riverkeeper for several years. We continue to aid in their fight to protect the Columbia River from coal and natural gas export terminals. Our partnership also works to protect water quality. In this installment of The Way We Work, we’re getting the perspective of Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky, a community organizer at CRK.
Crag has been doing a lot of work with Columbia Riverkeeper, such as efforts to enforce the Clean Water Act or to fight coal and natural gas export terminals. Can you tell us a little bit about the goals and importance of this work?
Columbia Riverkeeper protects the Columbia River from becoming a superhighway for coal, oil, propane, and liquefied natural gas. Exporting fossil fuels on the Columbia would drive climate change and bring threats of oil spills; coal dust coating our homes, schools and lungs; and dangerous explosions from crude oil and propane trains.
Columbia Riverkeeper often takes a more visible role in organizing community members and speaking to the press, but it’s Crag’s legal work that forces corporations and agencies to take notice.
What are your organization’s other priorities, goals and projects?
Columbia Riverkeeper works to protect and restore the Columbia River. We hold polluters accountable when they break the law. We sound the alarm when toxics make it into the fish and onto our dinner table. The solution is less toxics in the river, not fewer salmon bakes. We also clean up the river: our annual Love Your Columbia event draws thousands for clean ups and community gatherings.
Why is it important to protect the Columbia River?
The Columbia is the backbone of the Northwest and home to the largest salmon run in the lower-48. The river is over 1200 miles long and connects countries, states, communities and cultures. We use the Columbia for commerce, food, recreation, and drinking water.
What are your biggest concerns for the Columbia River?
Some of the largest corporations in the world have their eyes on the Columbia River. With plans to transform critical juvenile salmon habitat into fossil fuel mega-terminals, folks fighting for the Columbia River are on the frontline. Corporations may have deep pockets, but Riverkeeper’s protection of the Columbia is backed by thousands of community members and the legal support of Crag Law Center.
What services or qualities does Crag bring to your work at Columbia Riverkeeper?
Crag helps Columbia Riverkeeper deliver our promise to protect and restore the Columbia. While Riverkeeper members build a grassroots army of support for clean water and healthy communities, Crag attorneys keep corporations and government decision-makers from cutting corners and violating the laws that protect our river.
What about Crag inspires you and your work?
Crag’s attorneys and staff are smart and fun. It’s good to know that the folks representing you in court love what they do. And, Crag has the best fundraisers in town. They’re creative, very social and the music is always great.
For more information about Columbia Riverkeeper:
McKenna Ganz is a pre-law junior at Duke University. She interned with the Crag Law Center in the summer of 2015 as part of the Duke Engage Portland program. She is majoring in Global Culture, Media, and Political Conflict with minors in Economics and Global Health.