A Mexican childhood farmworker’s perspective: Highlights from the Pasco Coal Train Hearing

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Tomás Madrigal & Daughter. Photo by Star Murray.

Tomas Alberto Madrigal. Walla Walla County, childhood farmworker.

Transcript:

Hello, my name is Tomás Alberto Madrigal, I was born in Walla Walla and I graduated from Pasco High School. I am finishing my Ph.D. at UC Santa Barbara.

I am also a farmworker. I grew up in this area worked in an apple orchard as a child and from that experience and from my graduate studies I have found that industrial agriculture and other types of resource extractive industries are not sustainable.

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There is another transportation development project that has proven to be unsustainable in the region, that is the river’s lock and dam system. Not only has it been unsustainable for agriculture, as watersheds have been running dry [due to irrigation], Salmon must be grown in hatcheries now at great cost and crops have changed from wheat, which used to be transported on the barges, to vegetables [and fruit] which require a different type of transportation [due to their perishability]. So, we outgrew those development projects.

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White folks are no longer the majority here. I represent the new generation of this region, the new stewards.

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Washington state county map Coal Train line. Map by countymapsofwashington.com

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Races in Adams County, Washington. Chart by City-Data.com

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Races in Franklin County, Washington. Chart by City-Data.com

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Races in Benton County, Washington. Chart by City-Data.com

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Races in Yakima County, Washington. Chart by City-Data.com

Who do you think is going to work these dirty jobs that people are fighting for? It won’t be you. It won’t be your children who are put at risk, but once again [it will be Mexican workers], such as I was [exposed] to pesticides.

Their vision was short sighted. This is why we need a global environmental study that addresses all of the workers concerns that will be working these jobs and their families and future generations.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Map by EPA.gov

Enough is enough! Hanford is already the most contaminated site on the western hemisphere. We have a chemical depot just south of us, and the rivers run with pesticide run off. We don’t need to add coal to that mix. Thank you.

For more information see:

Power Past Coal
Wild Idaho Rising Tide
Washington Environmental Council
Community to Community Development

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