Great news! In June, the US Supreme Court denied a petition to overturn Washington State's 2017 denial of water quality permits for Millennium Bulk Terminals' proposed coal export facility in Longview, WA. Multiple courts at the state and federal levels have now held that Washington State was within its rights to protect public health and safety from the increased air and water pollution that would have come with transporting coal along the Columbia River. With the Supreme Court's dismissal of this final legal appeal, this is the official end of this coal export proposal.Read more
All the major open-access slide shows on the Public Health and Social Justice website, curated by Oregon PSR Advisory Board Member Martin Donohoe, MD, have recently been updated (6/23/21 update). Open access means that all or a portion of any slide show can be used by anyone, with appropriate citation. The site addresses the social, economic, environmental, human rights, and cultural contributors to health and illness. Some of the content focuses on the medical humanities and the history of medicine.Read more
Image credit: Erica Alexia Ledesma @EricAlexia on Twitter and Instagram.
Oregon state lawmakers are preparing to adjourn their legislative session in a matter of days. Meanwhile, Oregonians across the state are still dealing with the impacts of the pandemic and 2020’s destructive wildfires while already experiencing record extremes in drought and heat.
Thanks to rural- and BIPOC-led environmental justice leaders at the Oregon Clean Energy Opportunity campaign, legislators have an opportunity to pass two important bills that will support communities throughout Oregon. At stake are one of the nation’s strongest 100% clean electricity commitments and a home repair fund to benefit the communities most in need. Together, these bills can serve as the energy component of Oregon’s recovery from today’s overlapping crises.
100% Clean Energy for All (House Bill 2021) is an environmental justice pathway to 100% emissions-free electricity by 2040 with interim targets of 90% clean energy by 2035 and 80% by 2030. The bill contains Tribal consultation requirements, prioritizes benefits for rural, coastal, low-income, and BIPOC communities, and sets into place strong labor standards to ensure that the economic development brought about by the clean energy transition will support Oregon workers with family-wage jobs and job training opportunities, comprehensive benefits, and workforce equity goals. The bill also bans new or expanded fossil fuel power plants (a first in the nation) and invests $50 million in community-based renewable energy project grants that include disaster-resilient systems like rooftop solar plus battery storage.
Healthy Homes (House Bill 2842) will invest $10 million in a new Healthy Homes Repair Fund at the Oregon Health Authority to support low-income Oregonians with energy efficiency retrofits. The bill will complement existing weatherization programs and support resiliency projects that can be hard to find funding for, like smoke filtration and home hardening to protect homes from wildfire. It would help take the strain off of our healthcare system caused by unhealthy indoor air quality and other impacts of poor housing quality.
Also, read about why army veteran George Beverly, Jr. in fire-impacted Blue River and high school sophomore Sierra Bell in coastal North Bend are taking action to support these important bills.
In May 2021, we welcomed Samantha Hernandez (pictured above) to the Oregon PSR staff as our new Climate Justice Organizer. Samantha will be supporting a wide range of Oregon PSR's Healthy Climate Program work including our advocacy efforts in coalitions to stop fossil fuels and nuclear power and advance a just and equitable transition to clean energy. She will also work on our partnership with the Oregon Justice Resource Center to re-frame mass incarceration as a public health crisis as well as issues relating to the intersection of public health and water quality and forests. Here's what Samantha has to say about joining Oregon PSR:Read more
Please watch and share this new video on the Zenith Energy facility in Portland. It's a 66-second call to action, complete with Portland City Council's contacts.
To stop Zenith Energy’s harm to our health, safety, and climate, Portland City Council needs to hear from thousands of us. They've already received hundreds of calls, and we can multiply these numbers. Calling is the most effective, most immediate way to stop Zenith Energy from gaining approval of the Land Use Compatibility Statement (LUCS) from the City of Portland.
Take Action: Join the mass call-in to Portland City Council members
We ask that, this week and over the coming weeks, you call all five members of the Portland City Council. Ask your friends to call, too. There is no age or voting registration requirement, and no expertise is needed to call in. Call anytime, 24/7.
It is likely that you won’t speak to a human, but your messages will go directly to a recording to be tallied. Your call can be as simple as this: “Hello. This is my message to Mayor Wheeler [or Commissioner_________ ]. My name is _________. I vote [...or I will when I’m old enough]. Please say ‘No’ to Zenith Oil. Thank you.”
Mayor Ted Wheeler: 503-823-4120
Commissioner Dan Ryan: 503-823-3589
Commissioner Carmen Rubio: 503-823-3008
Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty: 503-823-4151
Commissioner Mingus Mapps: 503-823-4682
Fossil fuel projects have been stopped in the Pacific NW because people spoke up. Thank you for adding your voice to the movement to protect our health, safety, and climate.
In addition to calling, you can share your voice by signing this petition from our partners at 350PDX.
Learn more about Zenith Energy from our partners at Columbia Riverkeeper.
Photo above: A demonstration against Zenith. Photo courtesy of 350PDX.
2020 brought many hardships for Oregon. People are struggling to pay their bills and keep wildfire smoke out of their homes, and they have lost income due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the worsening climate crisis.
That’s why a statewide coalition, including Oregon PSR, launched the Oregon Clean Energy Opportunity campaign in 2021. The campaign’s goal is to reduce energy bills, support home upgrades that help keep families healthy, and create good jobs in clean energy projects across Oregon.
The Oregon Clean Energy Opportunity Campaign seeks to pass three bills in the Oregon State Legislature in 2021:
- House Bill 2475 (passed!), which will decrease utility costs for families already struggling in the economic recession by establishing a Low-Income Utility Rate Class. Read a factsheet on this bill, and view Representative Maxine Dexter’s floor letter on House Bill 2475, including organizations in support of the bill.
- House Bill 2842, which would support home upgrades to help improve the health of families across Oregon. Read a factsheet on this bill.
- House Bill 2021B, which would create living-wage jobs in the renewable energy sector and invest in local energy projects that are good for communities and reduce pollution while achieving 100% clean electricity by 2040. Read a factsheet on this bill.
Learn more by visiting the Oregon Clean Energy Opportunity Campaign’s website.
What an extraordinary time for Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility to be celebrating our 40th anniversary. With the support of our members, donors, and volunteers, we’ve accomplished so much in these past four decades!
Challenging times can be times of profound growth and learning, and this has certainly been the case for Oregon PSR. The movements to promote peace and justice and to protect our climate continue to grow, and I encourage you to read about our ongoing work to make our world more just, peaceful, and healthy for all.Read more
Oregon PSR is celebrating our 40th year of work for a more healthy, peaceful, and just world in 2021. We began from the powerful vision of our founders who sat on the living room floor in Dr. Karen Steingart’s house and strategized about how a health message could help prevent nuclear war. Over the next forty years, countless members, volunteers, and donors brought their passion and leadership to the organization, bringing a broad public health frame to issues such as environmental justice, gun violence, and climate health, learning and growing along the way.Read more
It is a little staggering to reflect on everything that has happened over the past year: wildfires and ice storms destroying communities in Oregon and beyond and demonstrating that climate chaos is upon us; the deadliest wave of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the arrival of approved vaccines; and a presidential election that signaled the end of the Trump Administration alongside a very disturbing reminder on January 6th that the violent right-wing extremism and white nationalism of Trumpism is still with us.Read more
At the beginning of 2020, Oregon PSR began a campaign to close the waste incinerator that has been in operation for 34 years in Brooks, Oregon, just north of Salem. This incinerator has been burning not only residential waste but also out-of-state medical waste which, when burned, releases toxic chemicals into the air that our communities breathe. Our work has continued despite the year-long struggles over COVID-19, wildfires, and, more recently, severe winter weather.Read more