You Say You Want A Resolution?
On February 8, 2009, a group of concerned citizens gathered at the Silverton Grange Hall to become informed about the proposed liquefied natural gas pipeline that, if allowed to be built, threatens many of our neighbors in Marion County and a corridor transversing the entire state of Oregon and parts of Washington state. Dan Serres of Columbia Riverkeepers presented maps and other data and explained the reasons LNG is being foisted on Oregon as well as its many dangers.
The threats are to the lives and property of those living within a 1-3 mile radius of the pipeline in case of a leak, to property that is endangered due to the oppressive force of emminent domain and there is long-term peril to the environment due to the carbon emissions in each step of the process of producing, delivering and distributing LNG.
To add insult to injury we learned that most of the LNG carried in these pipelines will be destined to California whose own citizens refused to have the processing plants in their state! We also learned that both the Washington State Grange and the National Grange have adopted resolutions against these LNG pipelines.
It seems we need to take a stand against these pipelines, as well. I say we need a resolution! One of the charges to Grangers in our Declaration of Purposes is “meeting together, talking together, working together, and in general, acting together for our mutual protection and advancement”. In order to be effective this meeting and working and talking requires more; we must “pray and move our feet.” The way this happens in Grange tradition is that one of our members (any member who is inspired may do so) writes a resolution.
Resolutions begin with the “Whereas’s” that explain the reason for the resolution and end with the “Resolved”‑‑the desired outcome of the resolution. The Resolved must be able to “stand on its own” as far as stating the outcome. More than one Resolved may be included. An example of a Resolved submitted in 2006 by Silverton Grange is this: “Resolved that the National Grange increase its efforts to be a source of outreach, leadership and education in encouraging the support of US agriculture as a part of the solution to the challenges that depleting energy resources bring to humanity.” In hindsight, we could have been more specific but our goal was to bring energy depletion issues to the forefront.
When a community Grange adopts a resolution it can be sent to either the Pomona (county Grange) for adoption or straight to the State Grange for referral to the appropriate committee at the State Grange meeting in June. At State Grange, the various committees meet and decide whether to present the resolutions to the body of delegates (two from each community Grange in the state) with a favorable or unfavorable recommendation or they may amend it before sending with a favorable recommendation to the delegates.
Regardless how the resolution is presented to the delegates, all resolutions are seen, debated and voted on by the delegates. None are ever left out of the process because someone judges them as unworthy. (And if for some reason the committee that first hears the resolution decides to give it a “report of unfavorable” the delegates can substitute hearing the resolution in place of the committees report.)
The delegates debate the resolutions on the floor and collectively adopt, amend or reject each resolution. Then the real action begins. Depending on the “resolved” the adopted resolution is sent to one of several places to be carried out. The State Master may be assigned the task of doing or communicating something, the resolution may be sent to the National Grange for adoption and action or it may end up with the Granges’ paid lobbyist for the purposes of educating the state legislature to enact a law in line with its purpose. This all gives a group “meeting together, talking together, working together, and in general, acting together for our mutual protection and advancement” way more power than any one of us has alone. Real grassroots power…”power to the people”.
This grassroots power is the reason Grange was formed in the first place. Farmers were being screwed and found that if they stood together they were stronger than if they stood alone. The same forces that were at work then are at work today. It’s the same reason folks join labor unions and the same reason we see them eroding today. It’s the same reason a group of concerned citizens gathered Friday night hear about and think about what they might do to stand up to the moneyed interests of the LNG industry.
From bringing about rural mail delivery in the 19th century to advocating for rural high speed internet today; from the Washington Grange promoting fusion voting to the Silverton Grange promoting “localvorism” there is a way to influence our community and the powers that be. We need a resolution!