Huge Wins in our Healthy Climate Work

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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.

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Oregon PSR State Legislative Session Wrap-Up 2019

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Oregon PSR staff and members mobilized to advocate for and against a long list of bills in the 2019 state legislative session in Salem this year. The 2019 session yielded a wide range of progressive, health-protective policies and discussions and concluded with a significant handful of long-awaited victories, including support for nuclear disarmament, better oil train safety measures, equal access to roads for all Oregonians, and a major step forward on cleaning up Oregon's dirty diesel problem. Several dangerous measures that would have weakened Oregon's renewable energy goals and created loopholes for new nuclear power were successfully blocked from passage. We thank all those who volunteered their time and energy to advance our mission to protect public health from the gravest threats to survival in the Oregon state legislature this year.

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VIDEO: Climate, Health, & Equity Town Hall - PSR Featured on People's Climate Movement Webinar

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How does the climate crisis affect human health, and which communities are most impacted? This was the central question asked by the People's Climate Movement when they approached PSR chapters to present the Climate, Health, and Equity Town Hall, a webinar focusing on the health impacts of climate change, which people are on the front lines of the crisis, and what can be done about it. Our Healthy Climate Program Director Damon Motz-Storey was joined by PSR Los Angeles Executive Director Martha Argüello, Dr. Maureen McCue of Iowa PSR, and Barb Gottlieb, Program Director of the Environment & Health Program at PSR's national office in Washington, D.C.

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The Unequal Impacts of Nuclear Weapons: Hiroshima & Nagasaki Memorial 2019

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Please save the date and plan to join us on Tuesday, August 6th, 6:00 - 7:00 PM at the Japanese American Historical Plaza (NW Naito Parkway and Couch Street on the Portland waterfront) for the annual Portland-area Hiroshima and Nagasaki memorial event. This year's event, The Unequal Impacts of Nuclear Weapons, will explore the disproportionate impacts that nuclear weapons have on women, children, indigenous communities, and communities of color.

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Immigration: History, Imperialism, Incarceration, & Human Rights with Dr. Martin Donohoe

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Oregon PSR Advisory Board Member Martin Donohoe, MD, FACP is the host of Prescription for Justice, a cable access television show that explores many of the issues that Oregon PSR works on. His latest episodes deal with immigration, history, imperialism, incarceration, and human rights, and features guest Matthew Anderson, MD, Associate Professor of Family Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and co-editor, Social Medicine.

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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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