Citizen Groups Vow to Keep Pushing For Fossil Fuel Policy in Portland: LUBA’s Decision Upholds Challenge

July 19, 2017 (Salem, OR) – Today, the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) ruled that Portland’s Fossil Fuel Terminal Zoning Amendments, passed unanimously in December of 2016, is inconsistent with the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Portland’s fossil fuel policy intended to prevent new major fossil fuel infrastructure projects in the City. LUBA dismissed many of the other arguments brought by the oil industry and the Portland Business Alliance against the City’s policy. LUBA’s ruling is likely to be appealed to the State Court of Appeals.

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350PDX at Sunday Parkways in May

A small handful of volunteers brought 350PDX to the Sunday Parkways events in May. Thanks to everyone who helped!
At one of the Parkways events, we collected 142 comments of people asking the Public Utility Commission to make sure PGE doesn’t build new gas electricity generation plants (adding to the 10,000 comments people have already submitted!) Lots of kids were wearing 350PDX pins, drawing adults to come find out what that number meant!

Thanks to Pat for coordination, Rand for early AM set-up, Rand, David, Lori and Jane for excellent comment gathering, Bonnie, Gregory, and Donna for beautiful banners and flags, and other friends and family who stopped by for support!

— Melanie, Fossil Fuel Resistance Team & Maya, Community Organizer

Two 350PDX volunteers sharing information at a Sunday Parkways event in May 2017.

350PDX table at a Sunday Parkways event in May 2017

Climate Change Snapshots #3

 

California is our nation’s environmental umbrella. Although the EPA generally has complete authority to set pollution standards for cars, Section 209 of the Clean Air Act grants CA the power to set its own emissions standards for new motor vehicles through the use of waivers, i.e. – CA has the ability to set a higher standard than the federal government. In addition, other states can opt into CA’s higher standards over the federal ones. 14 states, totaling 40% of the US’s population (states in green) have adopted CA’s standards. With such a large proportion of the nation’s autos covered by the higher standards, automakers are forced to abide by the higher standards or lose money making vehicles that meet two different regulations.

For forty years the EPA has granted all but one of the more than 100 waivers sought by CA and the single denial was later overturned.

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100% Renewable Passes!!

We had a big win- the City of Portland and Multnomah County both unanimously passed what is one of the strongest 100% resolutions in the country!

The Resolutions commit the City and County to 100% renewable electricity by 2035 and 100% renewable energy in all sectors by 2050 while simultaneously prioritizing equity and community-based renewable development. The resolution also takes a strong position against new gas-fired power plants and other fossil fuel infrastructure, which we’ve been fighting hard for all along, and excludes biomass from public lands as a renewable energy source.

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Portland City Club: Taking Oregon’s Temperature

Portland City Club hosted a public event called “Taking Oregon’s Temperature” at the Multnomah County Library on April 26th. The speakers were Kathie Dello, Associate Director of Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, and Angus Duncan, Chair of the Oregon Global Warming Commission.

Ms. Dello outlined the third Oregon climate assessment report, which is created every three years. The report was compiled from peer-reviewed scientific literature from summer of 2013 through summer of 2016; the report itself also underwent peer review. It documents a broad range of climate change-related issues, including increased coastal flooding, changes in ocean chemistry, and changes in forest vegetation. Of particular concern is a decrease in the mountain snowpack on which Oregonians rely for water resources; snowpack has been unusually good this year but poor overall in recent years.

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A Day at the People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C.

We’re bathed in SPF 70 searching for our friends on Pennsylvania Ave. It’s 93F, the hottest April 29 in history, and the Metro, Washington’s subway, has shut down for track maintenance from our Foggy Bottom stop up to Metro Center, so we hop on the shuttle bus with our nephew and his friend. The shuttle bus is SRO with wannabe marchers with signs. Everyone’s trying not to injure the locals, many of whom are frankly growing weary of the ceaseless weekend demonstrations, but are mostly encouraging nonetheless. We circle downtown for 30 minutes until we figure out it’s faster to walk.

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Let’s Talk Climate Hosts Lively Climate Action Town Hall

On March 16, 2017, Let’s Talk Climate hosted Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler in a Climate Action Town Hall. Let’s Talk Climate is co-sponsored by 350PDX and the Oregon Environmental Council. Three topics were up for discussion: the city’s energy policy, sustainable transportation, and just transitions. With the TaborSpace sanctuary nearly filled to capacity, an energetic Mayor Wheeler kicked off the evening by introducing the members of a three-person task force who, over the past eight months, have been working on a climate agenda report that will supposedly build on Portland’s current Climate Action Plan. The task force’s report is scheduled to be released to the public sometime in the next few weeks, with Mayor Wheeler promising that in regards to climate action, “We’re not going to do the least we can, we’re going to do the most we can.” Read more

Rhianna Lakin: With a Dream and a Drone the Sky’s the Limit

“To be honest, I was kind of scared,” Rhianna Lakin admits over lunch at a little Mexican restaurant near her work “I went far away and took my drone up high…”

Rhianna’s telling me about the time she came across illegal gold mining in a small village on the island of Lombok in Indonesia and filmed it–using her drone to get a bird’s eye view of the hazardous mining practices the poor local villagers were subjected to, which would otherwise have stayed hidden–an environmental crusader with an unlikely weapon which she has utilized from Sumatra to Standing Rock.

Five years ago, when a friend showed Rhianna drone footage from the Pacific Northwest, she knew immediately that she was going to learn how to fly one and use it, “to save the world.” Read more

State Legislation Update

The Capping Carbon Campaign is well underway. Our initial goal set back in the summer of 2016 was to ensure that all Portland area legislators are climate champions. We organized meetings between constituents and their Representatives and Senators and have met with most of our legislators. These meetings have been very positive. All the legislators we met with support strong climate legislation. We are especially fortunate to have as a champion Senator Michael Dembrow, who is the Chair of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, where Senate Bill 557, the Clean Energy and Jobs bill, was introduced.

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What the PUC?

350PDX’s very own Mia Reback cut straight through the technical jargon to cap off various environmental and citizen groups’ testimony concerning PGE’s disastrous energy plan at the most recent PUC meeting in Salem. “Where in this process are you adequately accounting for the full costs and risks of fossil fuels?” she asked, and she was speaking up for all Oregonians demanding clean energy now.

If acronyms and wonky energy policy-speak make your head hurt, let me sort through the RECs and PTCs and give it to you straight: PGE wants to build two natural gas fueled power plants in Boardman Oregon to supply power for decades­–locking Oregonians into reliance on fossil fuels at precisely a time when clean energy is becoming exponentially more available and affordable. Why would they do this you ask? Well, I asked the same thing and was met with chuckles: because PGE is guaranteed a 10% return on their investments; they are assuring their stakeholders profits, but at the expense of our environment and health. Read more