TAKE ACTION: Stop the Oregon State Senate from Defining Garbage Burning as Renewable Energy

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Bad news from the Oregon State Legislature: State Senators are trying to move forward a bill that would give Covanta Marion (pictured here, photo courtesy of The Portland Tribune) - a trash incinerator near I-5 and Salem that is the state's 20th largest single greenhouse gas emitter - renewable energy credits. Senate Bill 451 would give a major polluter money for releasing greenhouse gas emissions and air contaminants. This would set a dangerous precedent and weaken our state's renewable energy goals, making it harder to build energy that is actually clean and renewable.

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Mustafa Returns to Iraq (and Needs Our Help)

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Sixteen years ago, on March 20th, 2003, the US launched a devastating war on Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis lost their lives, were wounded, or were displaced. One of those wounded was a two-year old child named Mustafa Abed. Mustafa was critically injured when he and his mother were hit by a US bomb in Fallujah, Iraq in November of 2004. Oregon PSR members and others learned about this and organized to bring Mustafa to Portland in 2008, when he (with his father) came for badly needed medical care, which saved his life. Mustafa returned to Iraq, and to ongoing poverty and war, after several months.

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Oregon Needs a Green New Deal

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As a new crop of progressive change agents assumed office in the US House of Representatives, one simple phrase began a meteoric rise to notoriety as youth activists lined the halls of incumbent Democrats pushing for action: a Green New Deal to echo the economic successes of FDR’s signature policy with a focus on the current urgent needs for environmental and social justice. With the Green New Deal, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman ever to be elected to the US House of Representatives, and her colleagues have successfully brought broad, comprehensive climate policy conversations into the mainstream US political discourse.

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The Big Problem with Small Nukes

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“Everything in moderation,” or so the phrase goes. It’s such a tantalizing idea: just a small amount of something is okay, maybe even good for you. We see this concept pop up often in health and nutrition: as long as we don’t binge on sweets, caffeine, or junk food, we’ll be alright.

The problem is that nuclear profiteers and their friends in elected office have picked up on this popular messaging and misapplied it to the highly dangerous process of nuclear fission, which is subatomically small but has huge consequences for human health and survival. The Trump Administration is pushing for “low-yield” nuclear weapons in their latest Nuclear Posture Review. Trump’s Department of Energy has poured tens of millions of dollars into research and development for a never-before-deployed “small modular” nuclear reactor design from Oregon’s NuScale Power. Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency is hiring and promoting the ideas of fringe scientists who believe that a little bit of radiation exposure is good for you (spoiler alert: it’s not).

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A Letter from Dr. Patrick O'Herron, Oregon PSR's Board President

Kids_climate_strike_photo_1_cropped.jpg“The children will become leaders as the leaders have become children.” This quote is from Madison Leal, who survived the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14th of last year. She was decrying the lack of action on gun control and the failure to protect students from mass shootings.

As I write this, children all over the world are walking out of class as part of a global youth climate strike. Seeing those young faces with so much optimism, integrity, and determination gives me hope for our movement to protect human health and preserve a livable planet for future generations. It also makes me deeply sad. The sign of one young protester read “Our Children Will be an Endangered Species.” Our young people should be able to be kids, if just for a little while longer, knowing that we, the adults who have the power and privilege to make changes, are grappling with the existential threat of problems like climate change and nuclear war.

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Federal Court Dismisses Key Claim of Coal Industry Lawsuit Against State of Washington

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A US District Court ruled today that the state of Washington did not violate the Foreign Affairs Doctrine of the US Constitution when it denied a water quality permit for the Millennium Bulk Terminal coal shipping project in Longview, Washington. This is the second time the court has narrowed the scope of the case, leaving only the Interstate Commerce clause issue to be decided.

After the Washington Department of Ecology denied the project’s water quality permit in 2017, Lighthouse Resources (Millennium’s parent company), together with railroad giant BNSF, brought a lawsuit alleging that the decision overstepped constitutional limits on the ability of a state to regulate foreign affairs and that federal laws governing railroads preempted the state decision.

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Fighting for A Healthy Future

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Oregon PSR is dedicated to protecting human health by working for climate justice and promoting common-sense energy policies. Though challenges are ever-present, with your support we’ve made significant progress in the last few months.

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Oregon Takes Action for Nuclear Weapons Abolition

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Nuclear weapons are in the news and on people’s minds lately in a way that we haven’t seen in decades. Taking advantage of this heightened awareness, Oregon PSR has been proactive this year in raising the topic of nuclear disarmament in innovative ways and with new audiences, building the case for nuclear abolition as a social justice concern that is deeply connected to the economic, racial, and environmental justice issues being addressed by growing and increasingly interconnected progressive movements. While recent news such as Trump pulling out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and increased conflict between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan are worrisome, the success of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (commonly called the Nuclear Ban Treaty) gives us a legal framework for a path to make the possibility a nuclear weapons-free world a reality.

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The Portland Clean Energy Initiative: What Happens Now?

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Portland voters made history in November 2018: Measure 26-201 passed by 65%, making the Portland Clean Energy Initiative the first-ever Oregon environmental initiative created and led by communities of color. Oregon PSR was pleased to support this incredible measure by gathering signatures, getting out the vote, adding staff capacity to the campaign’s Steering Committee, field team, and communications team as well as publishing a new report detailing the initiative's remedies to existing health inequities.

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Important Court Victory Against Fracking

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Physicians for Social Responsibility and fellow plaintiffs just won a landmark victory for climate and health as a federal judge rejected the leasing of public lands for fracking and ordered a halt to drilling on more than 300,000 acres in Wyoming.

While the ruling applies to Wyoming, the precedent implicates oil and gas leases on public lands across the American West and is a major rebuke to the Trump administration’s anti-environment, anti-climate agenda.

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