Tell Oregon Lawmakers Not to Subsidize Burning Trash

Thanks to your help, Oregon PSR and our community partners stopped a 2019 bill in the Oregon State Legislature that would have given renewable energy credits to Covanta Marion, the state’s only municipal waste incinerator, in Brooks, OR. Now, Covanta is once again trying to divert clean energy money to put their aging waste incinerator on life support. We need your help to tell the House Committee on Energy and Environment to hold firm and reject clean energy subsidies for burning trash.

Take action: Tell the Oregon House Committee on Energy and Environment to Reject House Bill 4049, the Covanta Marion waste incineration subsidy bill. Here are some key talking points to convey:

  • I am an Oregonian urging you to reject House Bill 4049, which would give renewable credit eligibility to Oregon’s only waste incinerator. 
  • Covanta Marion has been incinerating waste since 1987. They don’t need or deserve renewable energy credits from the State of Oregon.
  • Covanta Marion is Oregon’s 19th largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions. We are in a climate crisis: lawmakers must not cast a vote that would divert funding for clean energy to a facility that is making climate change worse.
  • Covanta Marion was selected by the Cleaner Air Oregon program for priority inspection out of hundreds of facilities. It is the single largest polluter of particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur oxides in Marion County. It also emits dioxins, an incredibly harmful and persistent environmental contaminant.
  • Renewable energy credits are intended to support new, renewable energy. Even large hydroelectric dams do not qualify for these credits because they predate the creation of Oregon’s 2007 renewable portfolio standard.
  • There is no reason to believe that Covanta will close without state renewable energy credits. Communities in Marion County are hard at work organizing to reduce waste in Marion County and advocate for more responsible solutions beyond burning or dumping trash.
  • In 2019, lawmakers who voted for this bill received a negative mark on their environmental scorecard from the Oregon League of Conservation Voters.
  • Please oppose House Bill 4049 and preserve time in the short, 35-day legislative session for important issues.

When you submit your comments, be sure to include your full name and the city you live in. Thank you for taking action to protect the health of our communities and our climate!

Want to testify to stop this bill in person? Speak out against HB 4049 at the State Capitol Building in Salem on Thursday, February 6th at 1:00 PM in Hearing Room D. Email Damon to let us know if you are coming to testify in person and/or need support.

More information:

Oregon PSR webpage on waste incineration

Don’t Use “Junk Science” to Guide Policy (op-ed by Oregon PSR Healthy Climate Action Team Member Dr. Patricia Kullberg)

Lawmakers to Give Marion County Trash Burner Another Chance to be “Renewable” (article in The Salem Reporter)

Waste-Burning Firm Spreads Money Chasing Carbon Cap Exemption for Brooks Plant (article in The Salem Reporter)