Stronger Together: The Cross-Cultural Coalition to Stop a Fossil Fuel Export Terminal in the Salish Sea
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Indigenous and non-indigenous coalitions have the potential to both empower communities and affect the policy agenda. These relationships, however, are often complicated by differing worldviews and varying levels of power in legal, social, and political matters. As a case study, this thesis analyzes the coalition and advocacy alliances formed to stop the Gateway Pacific Terminal, a proposed coal export facility at Cherry Point, Washington, near the indigenous Lummi Nation. Interviews provide insight into the various environmental and faith-based actors that formed a relationship with the Lummi Nation. The results of these interviews show the Lummi Nation’s desire for community capacity building against potential exploitation and colonialism. Applying the Advocacy Coalition Framework to this case study demonstrates: 1) how this alliance has formed, 2) how it is affecting policy, and 3) what power imbalances may exist. Further analysis of this qualitative data provides guidance to indigenous groups and potential advocates on gathering their resources and uniting their core beliefs to successfully form future coalitions. On May 9, 2016, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied the construction commencement permit of the Gateway Pacific Terminal project. This was the result of the Lummi Nation’s legal right to access their fishing grounds; however, the advocacy of the coalition brought additional pressure and influenced the permit process. This successful coalition highlights the ability of advocacy groups and indigenous communities to strengthen relationships and impact the policy process.
- Marine affairs