With the support of our members and volunteers, Oregon PSR’s Healthy Climate Program has been able to participate in effective coalitions and advocacy efforts to protect a healthy climate for all Oregonians, and I would like to take a moment to update you on some of our recent efforts. July 2019 was the hottest month ever recorded, underscoring that the voice of public health in promoting a healthy, stable climate is more important than ever.
Coal, Oil, Gas: None Shall Pass!
We know that we need to halt the construction of new major fossil fuel infrastructure if we are to meet our global climate goals, and the past few months have seen a slew of inspiring victories:
- The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality denied an essential water quality permit needed by Pembina, the Canadian corporation seeking to build the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and Pacific Connector fracked gas pipeline in Southern Oregon
- Washington Governor Jay Inslee changed his position on the Tacoma LNG and Kalama methanol refinery projects after hearing numerous pleas to do so from Oregon & Washington PSR and our partners, saying that he “cannot in good conscience support” those fracked gas projects
- And, the Port of Vancouver, WA approved a resolution to not pursue new bulk fossil fuel terminals in the very same month that Oregon & Washington PSR published our Fracked Gas: A Threat to Healthy Communities report
Victories in Oregon’s Legislative Session
Despite headlines about Oregon Republican lawmakers threatening violence and abandoning their responsibilities as elected representatives, we successfully advocated for a healthy climate through the passage of new oil train safety rules, improved diesel regulations, and the blocking of subsidies and loopholes for waste incineration and nuclear power. We continue to collaborate with our community partners to bring bold, effective climate policy to Salem in upcoming legislative sessions.
The Historic Portland Clean Energy Fund Takes Shape and Sets the Standard
Our landslide victory, with the support of 65% of Portland voters, carried the Portland Clean Energy Fund from a years-long vision to fruition, and we are now working in close collaboration with the City of Portland to build a $54-71 million annual fund for renewable energy, job training, and green infrastructure investments in Portland, prioritizing the needs of communities affected first and worst by climate chaos. These funds, which will be made available by next spring, will go a long way towards correcting existing environmental health inequalities in our city and redirecting resources towards a just transition from an unhealthy fossil fuel economy to a sustainable, climate-protective one. A fund like this doesn’t exist anywhere else - cities as close as Eugene and as far away as Toronto have already expressed interest and are following our work closely.
Fond Farewells and New Beginnings at Oregon PSR
We were thrilled to hire Lluvia Merello as our Energy Justice Organizer in May, and in July Madison Arnold-Scerbo completed her Quaker Voluntary Service fellowship with a long list of significant accomplishments. We hope you got a chance to send your best wishes to Regna Merritt as she began a well-deserved retirement on July 1st. Regna spent an incredible seven years directing Oregon PSR’s Healthy Climate Program, providing leadership to secure denial after denial of dangerous fossil fuel projects throughout the Pacific Northwest. After years of working closely with Regna on a wide range of projects, I am thrilled and honored to step into this role and build on her momentum for a healthy climate for all.
We couldn’t engage in this vital work without your support. Will you please give a gift today to Oregon PSR to sustain our healthy climate work? Your tax-deductible donations to our Healthy Climate Program will help us keep the Pacific Northwest united against major fossil fuel projects and move us closer to a healthy and just clean energy future.
Damon Motz-Storey, Healthy Climate Program Director
Photo at top of article: Lluvia Merello, Oregon PSR's Energy Justice Organizer, at Portland City Council's Zenith Energy forum in July 2019.