Portland Passes Groundbreaking Fossil Fuel Resolution!

ffp-vote-4In the hour before the city council hearing began on the proposition to ban all new and expanded fossil fuel infrastructure in Portland, roughly 200 people waited inside city hall for the hearing to begin.  Some waited to give testimony, and others wanted to get a good seat.  The majority wore red in support of the new legislation.  There was a warm and friendly feeling in the air, solidified by a few people passing out free peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to everyone, made right there on a bench outside the hearing room.  As the time neared to go inside the main area, people signed up to speak one by one and eventually filed inside. Read more

Portland, OR, City Council Will Vote On Resolution Opposing New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

For Immediate Release

November 11, 2015

Media Contact: Mia Reback, Organizer, 350PDX, mia@350pdx.org, (310) 717-7966
Nick Caleb, Legal Fellow, Center for Sustainable Economy (CSE), nick.caleb@gmail.com, (541) 891-6761
Dan Serres, Conservation Director, Columbia Riverkeeper, dserres@gmail.com, (503) 890-2441

Portland, OR, City Council Will Vote On Resolution Opposing New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

Portland, OR: The Portland City Council is set to vote on a resolution opposing new fossil fuel infrastructure on November 12th at 2pm (Resolution 1157). The resolution will be the strongest local fossil fuel infrastructure ban in the country. The hearing is scheduled to last for three hours, and the City Council will hear testimony on proposed amendments from Commissioners Nick Fish and Steve Novick before the City Council votes on the resolution. The hearing can be watched via livestream here: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/video/player/?tab=live

Community leaders will be available for interviews before and after the hearing.

What: Portland City Council Hearing and Vote on the Fossil Fuel Resolution
When: Thursday November 12th, 2-5 PM
Where: Portland City Hall

The Fossil Fuel Resolution follows the passage of a resolution to oppose new oil train traffic in Portland. The resolution also allows the City of Portland to go on record opposing the proposed TesoroSavage Oil Terminal in nearby Vancouver, WA, which would be the nation’s largest oil-by-rail terminal.

Community Groups including members of the Climate Action Coalition and 350PDX plan to fill City Hall on Thursday with creative visuals to show support for this landmark resolution. The Fossil Fuel Resolution is being supported by community and environmental groups including 350PDX, Portland Audubon Society, Center for Sustainable Economy, member groups of the Climate Action Coalition, and Columbia Riverkeeper; and by the Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission, Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde, and Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

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City Council Vote

ffp-hearing-30November 4th – Portland City Council voted 4-0* in favor of the “Oil Train” resolution to prohibit any additional oil trains to travel through the city. The vote, taken after persuasive and extensive public testimony strongly in favor, supports the recent Vancouver City Council resolution passed in an effort to stop the Vancouver Energy/Tesoro proposal to build the largest oil terminal in North America along the Columbia River in Vancouver. A vote on the “Fossil Fuels” resolution to prohibit construction of new infrastructures whose primary purpose is the transportation of fossil fuels has been postponed until November 12, with the hearing beginning at 2 pm.

Red-clad supporters of both resolutions filled the hearing room and balcony beyond capacity. So many people attended the hearing that three overflow rooms were opened. Commissioner Fritz commented that the City Council hadn’t expected so many people on a Wednesday afternoon. They should have known better given the strong public response to both Pembina and Shell. Over 100 people signed up to testify, most in favor of both resolutions, and many more attended the hearing.

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Take Action: Shell in Pacific Northwest

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(image credit:SalishSeafilm.com)

We had a big win last week. Last Friday, October 16, the Department of the Interior cancelled Shell Oil’s offshore lease in the Arctic! But we need your help this week. Shell is expanding into Puget Sound in Washington State. Each week, Shell plans to have 6, one-mile-long trains carry oil through the Pacific Northwest.

Please, send in your comments now.

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Democracy wins in Portland’s 2015 Climate Action Plan

PDX people link arms in a dance that celebrates the earth.

PDX people link arms in a dance that celebrates the earth.

Last week the city of Portland voted to pass the 2015 Climate Action Plan (CAP). Thanks to everyone who put time and thought into this process! The changes you proposed were heard and many will be put into action. Take a minute to celebrate this win, and look forward to the many ways 350PDX will be working with Portland to carry through on their promises. As someone who often thinks about the many ways our democracy is failing, it was incredibly powerful to see people lift up their voices and have their words take shape in government policy.

Your comments created change in the Climate Action Plan!

  • Meatless Monday
  • Divestment by 2020
  • An export policy by 2020
  • All bureaus must reduce carbon emissions until atmospheric CO2 is back to 350ppm

LaVeta Gilmore Jones, community organizer for Salt and Light Lutheran Church (Leaven), leads the rally participants in song.

The hearing kicked off with a rally hosted by the Climate Action Coalition, a coalition of environmental, faith-based, and social justice groups from the Portland area. Despite passing rain, roughly 80 people gathered outside City Hall to sing, dance and hear speeches from community leaders on the progress we’ve made and the fights still to come. One of the most empowering moments happened when everyone in the crowd came together in a circle and linked arms, symbolizing the power of individuals to build a movement strong enough to tackle the reality of the climate crisis and win.

After an obligatory hour of corporate-sponsored endorsements for the CAP, the council opened the floor to a wave of amazing testimonies from community members who brought personal stories to the hearing. A local surgeon, Patrick O’Herron M.D., focused on CAP’s ambition, comparing the climate crisis to an emergency medical procedure, “As a surgeon, when I see severe trauma or a gunshot wound the best course of action is to act boldly.” Another speaker, a mother accompanied by her young daughter, spoke about her faith in the council to make the right decision and ban fossil fuel exports, saying “I’m here because of my daughter Joan.” Joan piped up too, “Keep fossil fuels in the ground!”

[To be clear, the council did not vote to ban exports at this time.]

 

Here are some of our wins:

Divestment from fossil fuels

Portland committed to establish a divestment policy by 2020. Two years of hard work by the 350PDX divestment team means the city is now forced to pay attention. Their decision shows that the scale is starting to tip towards divestment activists and Portland is one step closer to being free from the grasp of the fossil fuel industry.

Equity

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) created an Equity Working Group to advise writing the 2015 CAP, which means that the CAP intentionally uses equity as a lens to understand climate change. The CAP both recognizes and prioritizes taking steps to address the disproportionate burden of climate change that is borne by low-income communities and communities of color. At this point in the game it’s crucial that any work on climate change involves a climate justice framework, and Portland has made it clear that the city is ready to work towards that end.

Carbon Pricing

The council heard several testimonies from community members advocating for carbon pricing with a dividend that is paid out to residents in the form of a check. A dividend is a way to counterbalance the regressive effects of carbon pricing, and would create an equitable economic solution to reduce carbon emissions. The council voted to pass a resolution from Portland to the state of Oregon asking to implement statewide carbon pricing with a dividend.

Export Policy

The council voted to begin writing a comprehensive fossil fuel export policy since there is none that currently exists in Portland. In fact, once Portland creates this policy it will be the first major American city to do so! In their testimonies many community members emphasized the need for Portland to create an export policy so that future projects like Pembina wouldn’t have to be case-by-case battles. A plan to write a fossil fuel export policy by 2020 is included in the 2015 CAP, and it’s clear that this is the next big initiative ahead of the BPS. The policy should look at “lifecycle emissions, safety, economics, neighborhood livability and the environment” and “oppose exports of coal and oil through Oregon.”

 

What’s next?

350PDX is excited to continue engaging the city on their climate action commitments, especially passing a comprehensive export policy and eventually banning all fossil fuel export, storage and transfer in Portland. In the short term, we need to remain strong against Pembina and all other dirty fuel developments in the works. The CAP is a good beginning, but 350PDX is already working with the Climate Action Coalition and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to create realistic metrics to measure its achievements and hold Portland to her commitments.

 

Know a lot about policy? Angry that thousands of tons of coal are still being exported through Oregon every week? Want to get involved some other way? Visit our volunteer page for more information. http://350pdx.org/get-involved/volunteering/

Community Members Block Rail Tracks, Hold Memorial to Commemorate Lac-Mégantic Derailment and Protest Oil Trains

Oil_Train_Memorial_Action_1

350PDX and our Climate Action Coalition allies honor the 47 lives lost when an oil train derailed in Lac Mégantic, Quebec on July 6, 2013. – photo by Rick Rappaport

60 faith, environmental and community members blocked the tracks into an oil transfer and storage facility in NW Portland for an hour Monday morning. Portland’s Climate Action Coalition sponsored the blockade at Arc Logistics for a memorial service on the two-year anniversary of the oil train derailment that killed 47 people in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec.

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Help Keep Montana Coal In the Ground: Tongue River Railroad

Coal Protesters

Coal Protesters on a cold Montana day

A 350.org chapter in Missoula, Montana is asking for our help!

A federal agency, the Surface Transportation Board, is taking public comments from all Americans on the cumulative environmental impacts of a new 45-mile railroad spur line, the Tongue River Railroad, from the proposed Otter Creek coal mine in southeastern Montana to the main line at Miles City.  Read more

Rally at City Hall for the Climate Action Plan Vote!

Boy holding world at Salem rally

On June 24th, join faith, environmental, economic justice and neighborhood groups in song and word to celebrate the Climate Action Plan and ask for even more to keep a livable climate in our children’s future.

Schedule

12:15 pm – People of faith pre-gathering

12:30 pm – Rally at City Hall: Songs, words, street theatre

1:30 pm – Testimony (3 minute) sign up and procession into City Hall Chambers.

2 pm to 5 pm – Council hearing and decision on the CAP.

Evaluation will follow hearing.

Read more

North Portlanders Change Views on Propane, Help Defeat Terminal

Doug Larsen with his wife Jane Terzis in Cathedral Park

Doug Larsen with his wife Jane Terzis in Cathedral Park

Doug graduated in a recession and wound up on top of a wrecking ball on the Alaskan coast. A crane lowered him into a hole 70 feet beneath the beach. Doug built infrastructure for big oil pipelines. “I graduated as an economist, but carpentry work was better because it wasn’t as depressing.” Doug now leads the Cathedral Park Neighborhood Association, which has its own blog (some of the posts are so lovely they might have been written by Shel Silverstein). Read more