February 13, 2017
SPOKANE, Wash. (CN) — Residents of Spokane have sued the federal government for the right to ban railroads from carrying fossil fuels through the city, an initiative the city placed on the ballot last year, then removed as legally indefensible because of federal pre-emption.
Dr. Gunnar Holmquist, who sponsored the initiative petition, is the lead plaintiff in the Jan. 31 federal lawsuit against the United States. All of his six plaintiffs were arrested and charged with trespassing on BNSF property in two protests last year. Holmquist submitted two proposed citizen’s initiatives to the City Council last year, which, if approved by voters, would prohibit “the transportation of coal or crude oil by rail within the City of Spokane, as a violation of the right of the people of Spokane to a healthy climate.”