Port of Vancouver Will Steer Clear of New Bulk Fossil Fuel Terminals

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On June 25th, 2019, the Port of Vancouver Commission passed a strong policy statement affirming that the Port “will not pursue new bulk fossil fuel terminals.” The resolution and policy statement acknowledge the importance of renewable energy in the Port’s operations and future development. The Port passed this policy on the same day that the largest wind turbine shipment in the region’s history is being unloaded. 

“The Port chooses not to pursue new bulk fossil fuel terminals on Port owned industrial property,” said Don Orange, Port Commissioner, during a motion to amend the resolution.

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Victory! Oregon Supports Nuclear Ban Treaty

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In June of 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.

The bill was introduced at the request of Oregon PSR and the support of 31 partner organizations around the state and garnered moving testimony from a Japanese hibakusha (atomic bomb survivor), a Hanford Downwinder, an Atomic Veteran, the Oregon Marshallese Community, a Corvallis city councilor, and others. Chief Sponsors  included Senator Michael Dembrow and Representatives Tawna Sanchez and Alissa Keny-Guyer, along with 15 other Oregon state legislators.

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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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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

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For the past seven years, we had the immense privilege of working alongside Regna Merritt, who helped build and direct our Healthy Climate Program. Regna amassed the formidable group of over 100 health professionals and public health advocates that comprise our Healthy Climate Action Team and was a recognized leader in numerous coalitions that achieved major victories in preventing new fossil fuel infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest to preserve a healthier climate.

Pictured above: Regna Merritt (left) and Portland Commissioner Amanda Fritz (right) celebrate Regna's retirement.

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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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Meet Lluvia Merello, Energy Justice Organizer

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Oregon PSR (Physicians for Social Responsibility) is thrilled to welcome Lluvia Merello to our staff! Lluvia brings extensive experience organizing for environmental and social justice including work as an early organizer with the Portland Clean Energy Fund coalition. She joins our Healthy Climate Program as our Energy Justice Organizer, working to expand our capacity to build a just transition off of fossil fuels and nuclear power and a healthy climate future for all. Read on to hear from Lluvia in her own words about this position:

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