BREAKING NEWS! Today, Multnomah County sent a letter to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) urging the state agency to deny Zenith Energy’s application for an air quality permit for its oil-by-rail operations and crude oil storage facility. (See coverage on this from Street Roots and The Oregonian)

In the letter, Multnomah County Commissioners highlight the dangers that Zenith’s oil-by-rail storage facility poses to our community, citing a 2019 resolution the County put forward to oppose any new and expanded infrastructure for transporting or storing fossil fuels in Multnomah County. They also cited a 2021 study of the Critical Energy Infrastructure (CEI) Hub in Northwest Portland, in which they identify how the impending Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake would cause massive and dangerous fossil fuel releases from the CEI Hub that severely harm our community and the river. Their letter boldly stated:

“You and the agency have the authority to reject this permit and we ask you to do so. Business as usual is unacceptable, given the immediate risks of this facility, and the risks of climate change… We encourage you to act with the boldness that the moment deserves.”

Multnomah County’s action today is a huge step forward in our campaign, and is because of folks like YOU showing up time and time again for the movement to Stop Zenith.

Now, it’s critical we keep up momentum to make sure the DEQ denies Zenith’s air quality permit application. In early 2024, we’ll be calling on you to join us in writing comments and showing up to public hearings to formally tell DEQ to deny this permit.

For the past five years, our community has been making it clear to the City of Portland and to the State of Oregon that Zenith must be stopped. We’ve brought the fight to the streets, to the Zenith facility, the Willamette River, to the City Hall Chamber, to local neighborhood associations, and more. And just this past month, 50 of us testified to the DEQ demanding they deny Zenith’s air quality permit, and 37 organizations – including 350PDX, unions, environmental organizations, community groups, and neighborhood associations – sent a letter to the DEQ echoing this demand.

2023 has been a powerful year for our campaign to stop Zenith. I’m so proud of all that we’ve done together. Thank you for showing up, for testifying, coming to the Rumble on the River community forums, for getting in kayaks, coming to rallies, calling and writing to decision makers, for spreading our yard signs around the city, and for making your voice heard.

With gratitude and determination,

Dineen O’Rourke,
350PDX Campaign Manager