Ex-City Council candidate awaiting ‘consequences’ of train protest

EVERETT — When Jackie Minchew was arrested Tuesday for blocking a stretch of railroad tracks in north Everett, it wasn’t his first act of civil disobedience over an environmental issue.

It was, however, the first time he went to jail.

The former Everett City Council candidate was arrested in July 2011 outside the White House while protesting the proposed TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline that would deliver crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to Oklahoma and Texas.

In that case, he paid a $100 fine and was allowed to leave, a process he compared to “catch and release” fishing.

This time, Minchew was one of five people attached to a giant tripod erected over a Burlington Northern Santa Fe track at the Delta yard near the Highway 529 bridge. They were protesting shipments of oil, coal and gas by train and proposed shipping terminals in the Northwest.

They were trying to draw support for a petition against fossil trains and terminals.

The group wants an immediate halt to all rail shipments of fossil fuels through the Northwest and has called on Gov. Jay Inslee to reject permits for all new fossil fuel projects in Washington, including proposed coal and oil terminals.

Minchew and the other four were arrested for investigation of trespassing, obstructing a law enforcement officer and delaying a train. All are misdemeanors.

For now, he is awaiting word through the mail about his next court hearing.

“What comes, comes,” he said. “I will accept the consequences.”

Minchew spent the night in jail Tuesday. The time he spent being booked into jail and the time he spent protesting on the tracks were about equal, he said.

“It was my first time in jail,” he said. “I can’t say I’m looking forward to my second time.”

Minchew said it is hard to gauge the effectiveness of the protest because it is difficult to sway the energy industry, railroads and the political system. His hope is to nudge public opinion to encourage others to speak out.

In jail, he found a receptive audience, he said.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com.

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