Victory! Oregon Supports Nuclear Ban Treaty

Oregon House Votes to Urge Congress to Lead Global Effort to Prevent Nuclear War

Today, June 24th, 2019, Oregon’s House of Representatives voted to approve Senate Joint Memorial 5 (SJM 5), which urges congress to lead a global effort to reduce the threat of nuclear war, making it the second state in the nation after California to pass such legislation in both chambers. New Jersey's Assembly has also passed a similar bill.  The bill passed the Oregon Senate on May 20th.

The bill was introduced at the request of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility with the support of 31 organizations around the state and garnered moving testimony from a Japanese Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivor), Hanford Downwinder, Atomic Veteran, the Marshallese community, a Corvallis city councilor, and more. The bill language and testimony can be viewed here. Chief Sponsors included Senator Michael Dembrow (D-Southeast Portland), Representative Tawna Sanchez (D-North & Northeast Portland), and Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer (D-Southeast Portland) along with 15 other legislators from throughout the state.

“As a survivor of Hiroshima, with memories of the horrific deaths and suffering still vivid in my mind even after nearly seventy-four years later, I don’t want anyone ever to experience what we lived through,” wrote Dr. Hideko Tamura, a Hibakusha who lives in Medford, Oregon, in her testimony supporting SJM 5. Dr. Tamura is acknowledged in the bill for dedicating her life to the eradication of nuclear weapons.

Supporters of SJM 5 Gather After Hearing

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Call Your Oregon State Rep. Today: Vote Yes to Support Nuclear Ban Treaty!

Oregon is poised to become the second state in the nation to officially support the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, but we need your help to get the bill over the finish line. The final vote on this in the Oregon House is coming up today, Monday June 24th, so please call now!

Act Now: Contact your Oregon State Representative today and urge them to vote yes on Senate Joint Memorial 5 to support the Nuclear Ban Treaty and urge Congress to lead a global effort to prevent nuclear war.

Senate Joint Memorial 5 (SJM 5) has passed the Oregon Senate and the House Rules Committee, and next up is a vote on the House floor. The bill has the support of 31 organizations around the state and has garnered moving testimony, including from a Japanese hibakusha (atomic bomb survivor), a Hanford downwinder, an atomic veteran, the Oregon Marshallese Community, a city councilor, and many more. You can read the bill and view testimony here.

Photo above: Senate Joint Memorial 5 supporters gather at the Capitol after testifying at the Senate Rules Committee in April.

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Oregon PSR Position Paper on House Bill 2020 (Carbon Cap & Trade, or "Oregon Climate Action Program")

Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility
Position Paper on House Bill 2020 - Carbon “Cap and Invest” in Oregon
June 14th, 2019

View this document as a PDF.

For years, state lawmakers have been debating a carbon cap-and-trade program to put a limit on Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions and create a market-based mechanism to incentivize emissions reductions and generate money for clean energy technology and job training. In the 2019 legislative session, this program has been placed into House Bill 2020, which would establish the Oregon Climate Action Program and direct a newly established Carbon Policy Office to implement this cap-and-trade system with specific parameters.

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Fracked Gas: A Threat To Healthy Communities

In the past two decades, the Pacific Northwest has become a major target for fossil fuel export including new pipelines, refineries, and export facilities for fracked gas. A majority of methane gas in the United States now comes from horizontal drilling in deep rock beds via hydraulic fracturing, better known as "fracking," which has expanded at an alarming rate and has polluted communities throughout the US. Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Washington State Governor Jay Inslee have both signed bills curtailing the practice of fracking in the Pacific Northwest, but major fracked gas infrastructure still threatens the health of our communities. 
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Urgent: Help Protect Our Communities from Fracked Gas

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Help us protect the world's climate and the health of our communities by speaking out against a proposal to build a massive fracked-gas export facility in Oregon.

The Jordan Cove Energy Project proposed by the Canadian Pembina Pipeline Corporation is comprised of the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility and the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied this project in 2016 because of impacts to landowners and a lack of need for the project. But the company reapplied, and now the request has come to life again after Trump declared it to be one of his top three energy projects.

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A Morally Reprehensible Tour of the Hanford Nuclear Site

This column was written by Oregon PSR program assistant Madison Arnold-Scerbo, and was originally published in Street Roots. Interested in learning more about Hanford or how to go on one of these tours yourself? Send an email to madison@oregonpsr.org.

About 74,000 people died when the United States deployed a nuclear bomb on Nagasaki in 1945. Thousands more died and suffered health consequences over the following decades. 

Thousands of people continue to face negative health consequences from the intentional releases of radiation and atomic waste from nuclear tests during the Cold War in the United States. 

At least 120 Hanford workers in and around the tank farms have been exposed to toxic vapors since January 2015. This exposure can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, decrease in lung capacity, toxic encephalopathy and cancer. 

But you won’t learn any of these facts by attending a tour of the Hanford nuclear facility near Richland, Wash., the most polluted place in the Western Hemisphere. I know, because I attended two of these tours. I sat through eight hours of romanticization of nuclear weapons and patriotic indoctrination. Both tours I attended, Clean Up and B Reactor, provide a misleading and one-sided view one of the darkest periods of our history.

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TAKE ACTION: Protect Our Communities’ Health From Diesel Pollution

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Oregon PSR staff has been working to support Oregon House Bill 2007, which would help to protect our communities from the unacceptable threats to our health posed by diesel pollution. Now, we need your support to make sure that HB 2007, commonly referred to as “the Diesel Bill,” passes in this legislative session.Diesel pollution and inhalation presents serious health threats to all of us living and working in Oregon. According to the Oregon DEQ, residents of 23 Oregon counties, representing 92 percent of the state’s population, are exposed to diesel particulate matter that increases health risks.

We strongly encourage our members, especially those living outside of the Multnomah County area, to take action and call your state lawmakers today.

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Celebrating Regna Merritt

For the past seven years, we have had the immense privilege of working alongside Regna Merritt, who has built and directed the Healthy Climate Program at Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility. Not only has Regna amassed the formidable group of over 100 health professionals and public health advocates that comprise our Healthy Climate Action Team, but she has also been a recognized leader in numerous coalitions that have won major victories in preventing new fossil fuel infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest and in preserving a healthy climate.

So it is with tremendous gratitude that we share the news that Regna is retiring from our staff at the end of June. Before you despair, please note that this is a transition, not an ending. We are thrilled that Regna has agreed to join the Oregon PSR Advisory Board and volunteer with us after a long and much-deserved vacation.

Photo above: Regna Merritt (left) celebrates the denial of the Tesoro oil-by-rail terminal in Vancouver, WA (Image: The Columbian)

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Congressman Blumenauer References our Testimony on Climate and Health

Today in the House Ways and Means committee hearing on the economic and health consequences of climate change, Congressman Blumenauer referenced Oregon PSR's testimony written by Patricia Kullburg MD, MPH. Read our testimony and watch Congressman Blumenauer speak at (approx. 1:31).

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Washingtonians Applaud Governor Inslee’s Opposition to Fracked Gas Projects

Washington environmental, public health, and community organizations praised Governor Jay Inslee’s announcement today opposing continued construction of Puget Sound Energy’s proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Tacoma and Northwest Innovation Works’ proposed fracked gas-to-methanol production facility in Kalama. In detailing the reasons for his opposition, the Governor’s statement cited the emerging science of high methane pollution rates associated with gas infrastructure and the urgent need for action to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Washington communities that have long called on Governor Inslee to oppose the Tacoma LNG facility and Kalama methanol refinery projects applauded the statement as a necessary stand for climate action.

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