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.Read more
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.Read more
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.
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
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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:Read more
Dear Governor Brown:
The proposed 229-mile Pacific Connector fracked methane gas pipeline and the associated Jordan Cove Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export terminal in Coos Bay is an extremely hazardous fossil fuel project that would threaten our clean air, clean water, a stable climate and our health. If approved, it would become the largest greenhouse gas polluter in Oregon.
Fracked gas is dirty and dangerous.
- Methane accelerates climate change. It is more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide over its first hundred years in the atmosphere—fully 86 times more potent over its first 20 years.
- Methane is released into the atmosphere from fracking wells, equipment, and pipelines at rates that make it worse for the environment than coal. Those emission rates, if sustained, move us closer to climate catastrophe.
- Proximity to fracking operations is associated with congenital heart defects, increased risk of high-risk pregnancy and premature birth, worsening asthma, and increased rates of hospitalization for cardiac, neurological and cancer-related problems.
- Methane pipelines can explode. They also carry dangerous particle pollution and volatile organic chemicals which are released during venting at compressor stations and along entire pipelines.
This proposed project increases risk to approximately 485 waterways including the Rogue, Umpqua, Coos, Coquille, and Klamath Rivers. It would lead to deforestation, erosion and pollution of our waters. A stark environmental injustice, It would damage traditional tribal territories and important salmon and oyster fisheries. Hundreds of landowners would face loss of their land via eminent domain, while thousands more face the safety risks of an LNG terminal in an earthquake and tsunami zone in Coos Bay.
We urge you to exercise your authority to prevent this human health catastrophe. Oregon's environmental agencies must deny state permits for the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and Pacific Connector fracked gas pipeline to protect the health of our communities.
Thank you for considering my comment,