Used to be Keep It In The Ground
On Sept 13 the House Ways and Means Committee released an outline of proposed revenue-raising legislation for the Build Back Better Act. The draft text contains various tax reforms to fund President Joe Biden’s priorities and would end key international tax breaks for fossil fuel companies.
But it fails to eliminate domestic fossil fuel subsidies.
This is a key moment, and with over 500 allied groups and 50+ members of Congress strongly on our side, we can win. Sen. Schumer has already expressed strong support for ending subsidies, and he and Sen. Wyden (as well as President Biden) have positioned themselves as champions on the issue — this is their opportunity to prove it.
Can you email or call Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, to ensure fossil fuel domestic subsidies are eliminated in the budget reconciliation package?
“Hello, I’m calling/emailing for Senator Ron Wyden. My name is xxx, I am an Oregon constituent, and I am calling to ask you to ensure that fossil fuel subsidies, both nationally and internationally, are eliminated in the budget reconciliation package. Thank you”
Feel free to add a reason too, e.g. “because my tax dollars shouldn’t be going to subsidize the biggest polluters on the planet”.
202-224-5244 ; Email here
Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network stated:
“Ending all fossil fuel subsidies is a top line strategy to end the climate crisis. One of the key solutions for building a just transition is to shift fossil fuel funding to Indigenous, Black, Brown, and other people of color communities confronting climate and environmental injustice. By failing to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, Chairman Neal and the Ways and Means Committee are ensuring billions of dollars of public money to flow to the biggest polluters on the planet at the expense of Indigenous Peoples rights, livelihoods, and well being. On behalf of our communities, all life, Mother Earth, and future generations, it is imperative that we stop the egregious cycle of corporate welfare for fossil fuels, end fossil fuel subsidies, and Keep It In The Ground!”
Today, after over three years of dedicated grassroots organizing, the City of Portland has listened to thousands of us and denied the land use permit for Zenith Energy’s crude oil facility. WE DID IT!
In an unambiguous statement this morning, the City declared that Zenith’s oil-by-rail storage and transfer facility is inconsistent with the City’s land use rules, and denied them from receiving a crucial Land Use Compatibility Statement (LUCS). Now, Zenith must stop transporting tar sands and crude oil entirely. By denying the LUCS, the City concluded that Zenith’s oil-by-rail operations are inconsistent with our own land use goals, following years of policy commitments to reduce carbon emissions, address the climate emergency, and oppose oil trains.
In his statement on the denial, Commissioner Dan Ryan wrote “It is time to stop kicking our declarations down the road of intention—and start acting with the urgency needed at this critical time in history.” We couldn’t agree more.
For over three years, thousands of community members (like you!) have been fighting this crude oil facility, everywhere from the streets, the river and train tracks, to the courtrooms and City Hall. The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners, 20 Oregon state legislators, and 46 neighborhood organizations all separately submitted letters and statements demanding this permit be denied. Tens of thousands of people marched in the streets, signed petitions, and made calls.
When we organize, we win. This announcement is yet another example of how when people come together, we can stop the fossil fuel industry from continuing to destroy our climate, our communities, and our shared future. Grassroots organizing works.
Zenith thought this permit would be a simple and easy box to check, one they’d get by just putting their fancy lawyers in front of City officials. But we didn’t allow it. Together with our amazing coalition partners (shout out to Columbia Riverkeeper, Breach Collective, CedarAction, Willamette Riverkeeper, Portland Harbor Community Coalition, Families for Climate, NAACP Portland, Portland Youth Climate Council, Stand Up to Oil, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Oregon Sierra Club, XRPDX, Sunrise PDX, Portland Audubon, and more!) we shined a light on this process and made this an issue the City could not ignore. You helped us to that. We did this together. Read the response from us and our amazing coalition members here.
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No tar sands or oil trains in Portland! Take action to Stop Zenith!
A critical moment is upon us! We need you to join us to stop Zenith Energy from continuing to put our communities at risk with its dangerous oil-by-rail operation.
In a matter of weeks, the City of Portland will make a critical decision that will impact the immediate health & safety of Portland’s residents and the integrity of the climate. The City will decide whether Zenith’s facility in NW Portland is consistent with the City’s land use goals. The obvious answer: It’s NOT!
Years of your hard work and advocacy have led to this decision point. Now more than ever, we need you to use your voice to demand that the City of Portland deny any new permits for Zenith. In the face of the climate emergency, Portland has the opportunity to say “NO!” to this dirty oil company and assert our vision for a sustainable city—one that values community and environmental health over profits for fossil fuel companies.
It’s critical that any decision on this dangerous fossil fuel project be throughly investigated, including an analysis of the risk and harm to existing land uses, health and safety, and tribal resources.
Now is the time to mobilize and we need you to join us. Here is the most important thing you can do to help us stop Zenith:
- Call Portland City Council Members to demand they say no to Zenith oil-by-rail and to conduct a thorough tribal consultation process:
- Dan Ryan
Dan Ryan oversees the Bureau of Development Services (BDS), which will make the decision regarding Zenith’s Land Use Compatibility Statement (LUCS).
503-823-4120Jo Ann Hardesty
- Dan Ryan
Celebrating major victories against Jordan Cove LNG & Kalama Methanol!
On Tuesday, January 19, two major fossil fuel projects we’ve been campaigning against for years alongside our coalition partners— Jordan Cove LNG and the Kalama Methanol Refinery—were dealt major setbacks and permit denials. These are huge wins for our entire movement, region, and futures.
This is yet another example of how people power and grassroots organizing works, and how powerful we are when we work together in coalition across the region.
Early that morning, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) upheld the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s denial of the key Clean Water Act permit for the proposed Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and Pacific Connector fracked gas pipeline. The Jordan Cove LNG project cannot move forward without a Clean Water Act approval from the state of Oregon.
This is the latest in a series of regulatory losses for Jordan Cove LNG, representing a huge blow to the 15-year-old proposal that has been vehemently opposed by Tribes, impacted landowers, fishermen, climate advocates, and others. The project has also not qualified for other critical state, federal, and local permits needed to move forward. Pembina is hanging on by a thread, and still wasting money trying to push this project through without a viable path forward. Read what our coalition partners in Southern Oregon and across the state have to say about this huge news here!
Then, just about an hour later, the Washington Department of Ecology issued a major decision to deny the key Shorelines permit for the proposed fracked-gas-to-methanol refinery along the Columbia River in Kalama, Washington.
The state agency denied the fossil fuel processing and export proposal after deciding it would have a significant negative impact on the climate, Washington’s shorelines, and the public interest. Read what our coalition partners in Kalama and across the region have to say about this huge news here!
These victories come after thousands of us have spoken up at every hearing, every comment period, and every town hall. It comes after dozens of letters to the editors in local papers, hundreds of calls and emails to decision makers, countless hours campaigning and educating the public. These are victories we’re able to celebrate today because of the hard work of everyday people like us, led every step of the way by community members facing these disastrous projects in their own neighborhoods.
While the fights against Jordan Cove LNG and Kalama Methanol aren’t over just yet, today’s victories are both major setbacks for Pembina and Northwest Innovation Works, putting these disastrous projects in an even more precarious place. We’re winning. We won today, and we’ll continue to win tomorrow, and the next day, and every day ahead.
As part of the Climate Strike Week of Action, our community hosted the Stop Zenith Vigil for 60 continual hours from Tuesday, September 24 at 7:00 AM to Thursday September 26 at 7:00 PM. It was a beautiful, moving, and strategically important time. About 150 people participated in the Vigil during those 3 days, many holding shifts late into the night or before sunrise very early in the morning. It was a time of deep learning about ourselves, our community members, the NW Industrial district, and about the movement of oil trains at the Zenith facility.
In the middle of the 60 hours, we held a Night of Illumination, where we heard from tribal elders, musicians, community leaders, and vigil participants about the necessity of stopping the Zenith tar sands facility and returning the land to its original habitat. Click here to view moving photos of this event from the Oregonian.
In the news…
Demonstrators Hold 60-Hour Vigil at Zenith Energy in NW Portland – The Oregonian
Portland Activists Won’t Let City Council Forget About Zenith – Portland Mercury
In their own words: Direct quotes from the Vigil’s guest book
- “So excited to be here at the final hours of the vigil! Missing 4th period to be here today in support of something so important, and bringing awareness to such a large issue that is largely unknown.”
- “Here for my grandkids. What else can I say.”
- “I’m here because the earth is fragile, life is precious, people are beautiful, but all of it is precarious and in peril. We unite to save what we have and to radically change everything so our children and their children and their children can live.”
- “I am so moved by the people I’ve met in this space, and by the wild love and commitment that brought us together. It’s 3 AM in the morning and I’m tired and grateful. Tonight has felt like a song or a prayer. Tonight I feel like we can win a better world, like this place can be restored, like this struggle can restore us. Thank you, organizers who made this happen. Onward to more!”
- “I am here to do my part in a great effort to have our concerns heard and seen. Great to see strangers come through to offer support.”
- “I’m here because I believe we need to make change, and that we can, and must, make a different world. I’m also here because there is strength and hope in working and being together with others who share the commitment to work for change. NO TAR SANDS. NOT HERE. NOT ANYWHERE.”
This testimony was delivered by Jessica on July 15 2019 to a packed public hearing about the Zenith tar sands terminal in NW Portland. It was co-written by Jessica, Dineen and other 350PDX staff and volunteers.
My name is Jessica Beckett and I’m the Executive Director at 350PDX. Thank you for this opportunity to share our deep concerns about Zenith Energy’s operations in our city.
Right now, our City is complicit in the expansion, storage, transportation, and burning of the most destructive form of energy on Earth. We appreciate the City’s recently-proposed plans to address the problem of tar sands and toxic crude oil, but we must be moving more boldly and quickly if we are ever to reach 100% renewable energy – and to redress the harms done to frontline communities who must every day breathe and live in this injustice.
350PDX urges you to do the following:
- Deny any upcoming permits, including the recent application for a new pipe on Front Avenue. Treat all such permits with a deserved skepticism. Insist on public hearings like this before permitting decisions are made.
- Work with the DEQ to ensure Zenith’s plans receive detailed agency and public review, including environmental, public health, and climate assessments of Zenith’s operations.
- Implement the fossil fuel zoning code amendments that made history when passed unanimously in 2016, and hold companies like Zenith accountable for attempting to circumvent them.
- And until all of this is complete, we urge the City to place an immediate stop work order on Zenith’s operations.
The Northwest Industrial District is where Portland’s just transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy can become reality. This industrial zone can become a model for community-driven renewable energy projects — like those made possible by the Portland Clean Energy Fund! — which can power our city on affordable clean energy and provide jobs to thousands of Portlanders. We have a vision for our community. We ask you, our elected leaders, to join us in this vision by following our demands and putting an end to Zenith.
We have ten short years to save this planet. The time for incrementalism is over. We need action that we’ve never seen before. Mayor Wheeler, Commissioners, what will our legacy be?
I volunteered to become the most vile and justifiably loathed creature in modern times – the methane monster. The monster that adds to global warming by trapping heat 86 times more potently than carbon. Some call it a ‘bridge fuel’ but only because they stand to benefit financially. It’s everywhere. It’s what we call ‘natural gas’ and ‘fracked gas’. It comes from cow burps, and rotting vegetation. It even seeps up and sometimes explodes out of the melting permafrost. We need to stop it. So I volunteered to take the ridicule and become methane personified in a creatively fashioned large purposely ugly costume.
As the personification of methane I was able to get in touch with its power and potency. I growled and took in a stance like a Maori warrior whose native lands are being overtaken by sea level rise. I jumped in the air, skeleton hands raised high and shouted ‘BOOM’. I grasped at the innocent by standers and shouted, ‘I want to testify. I am death’. I went to entertain the supporters of the Pacific Connector Pipeline and Jordan Cove liquid fracked gas plant. I wanted dialog but one can’t reason with methane so I shouted ‘BOOM’ in hope they would see how deadly dangerous I can be to them.
More than 42,000 comments were submitted to Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), overwhelmingly in opposition to the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and Pacific Connector fracked gas pipeline. This unprecedented number of comments ask the agency to deny the Clean Water Act permit required for the project. In the last month, thousands of comments flooded in after Oregon DEQ extended the comment period as a result of public pressure. The comment period closed on Monday, August 20.
Initially published on July 31, 2018 by Nicholas Caleb on Center for Sustainable Economy
Oregon Supreme Court Declines Review, Leaving in Place Oregon Court of Appeals Ruling in Favor of Portland’s Fossil Fuel Ordinance
July 31, 2018 (Portland, Ore.) — Today, a coalition of public interest groups celebrated news that opponents of Portland’s fossil fuel ordinance have failed in their efforts to overturn the City’s landmark law. In 2016, Portland’s City Council voted unanimously to prohibit new fossil fuel infrastructure such as oil and gas terminals. Last week, the Oregon Supreme Court declined to review a January 2018 ruling by the Oregon Court of Appeals that upheld the Constitutionality of Portland’s Fossil Fuel Terminal Zoning Amendments, dealing another blow to the legal challenges brought by the Portland Business Alliance and the oil industry.