City Council Votes to Defend Fossil Fuel Terminal Ordinance

The Portland City Council voted unanimously to appeal the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) decision to reverse the Fossil Fuel Terminal Ordinance. Check out the short video from the City Council Meeting to hear why the City Attorney and all 5 City Council Members want to appeal the LUBA decision and fight to defend the fossil fuel ordinance.

At the hearing, several commissioners noted that LUBA’s ruling came from a single LUBA Board member, with two of the three voting members of LUBA recusing themselves from the decision. Commissioners cited a need for the Oregon Court of Appeals to give more clarity over the city’s authority to protect the health and safety of residents as well as the integrity of the climate.

Speaking to his “aye” vote, Mayor Ted Wheeler stated, “The community expects us to defend this policy.” Commissioner Chloe Eudaly added, “I am ready and willing to fight back against the state interfering in our ability to protect our environment and to protect our residents and make what we think are the best decisions for our city. We need them to set standards that protect people and not profits.”

The Portland City Council demonstrated their commitment to climate action and to protecting the health and safety of Portland residents by voting to defend this policy. On a day with triple digit temperatures, it’s more important than ever to defend climate action.

We at 350PDX are very excited the City Council is appealing the LUBA decision. Our nonprofit partners are excited too. Here’s what Center for Sustainable Economy, Columbia Riverkeeper, and Physicians for Social Responsibility have to say:

“Bravo to the Portland City Council for defending this very popular policy that was intended to protect residents from the many dangers of the fossil fuel industry, including spills, derailments, and explosions,” said Nicholas Caleb, staff attorney for the Center for Sustainable Economy. “We strongly believe that the City of Portland has the power to protect the health and safety of Portland’s residents with smart and reasonable policies like the fossil fuel terminal zoning amendments.”

“There are significant short and long term threats associated with dangerous fossil fuel infrastructure located in Portland. We’ll actively support prudent measures to decrease these risks at the State Court of Appeals,” stated Regna Merritt of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility.

“We strongly support the City’s decision to fight for this policy,” said Dan Serres, Conservation Director for Columbia Riverkeeper. “We knew the fossil fuel industry would try to undercut the City’s fossil fuel policy, and we believe this is a fight worth continuing in order to protect Portland residents from reckless, polluting projects like oil train terminals.”

Background info on the Fossil Fuel Terminal Ordinance and the LUBA Appeal.
Read the LUBA opinion here
Portland Business Alliance members

Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Portland Audubon Society, Columbia Riverkeeper, and Center for Sustainable Economy are represented in this case by the Crag Law Center, a nonprofit public interest environmental law center.

Posted August 2nd, 2017