Last week, a draft Climate Action Plan was released by the City of Portland and Multnomah County that will put our region on the map for taking strong action to combat climate change. The nationally anticipated draft Climate Action Plan (CAP) provides a responsible and equitable roadmap for the community to greatly reduce carbon emissions. This plan is over two decades in the making and has risen to the occasion to address the changing dynamics of urban carbon pollution…almost.
First, the good news. Nearly 50 neighborhood associations voiced concern or opposition to coal export. And many are taking similar action on dangerous crude-by-rail. The draft CAP reflects this overwhelming concern for coal and oil export. Objective 3 of the CAP seeks to establish a fossil fuel export policy and advocates for statewide opposition to coal and oil exports. Portland and Multnomah County leaders deserve praise for this action.
The fossil fuel export objective, however, is missing a critical piece. Our city is poised to take bold action on coal and oil export but dangerous propane export, something that the Port of Portland is currently considering, was left out.
In September, Canadian-based Pembina Pipeline Corporation announced plans to export propane from fracked gas wells in Canada from Terminal 6 on the Columbia River. Pembina plans to ship propane on mile-long unit trains and store the gas onsite as liquefied propane in pressurized and refrigerated tanks. The facility operations alone would account for 0.7% of Portland’s entire carbon emissions, according to a city report on the terminal. Risks of propane explosions on rail lines are similar to crude-by-rail and the potential blast zone of a tank explosion at Terminal 6 impacts most of North and Northeast Portland, plus Vancouver, Washington.
The draft Climate Action Plan and the Pembina propane export terminal are open for public comment.Please tell the city, county and the Planning and Sustainability Commission that you support bold climate action, and the inclusion of propane in the fossil fuel export policy. While you’re at it, tell them that Pembina’s dirty propane export plans are bad for our city and our climate.
The CAP aptly states, “When we do great work to protect our climate, good things happen.” I couldn’t agree more. Right now, the Columbia River is threatened with coal, LNG, propane and oil terminals. The great work we do today, like submitting a comment on the draft Climate Action Plan and the Pembina propane export terminal, will protect our salmon, our water, and our communities. All good things.
Thanks for all you do,
Community Organizer for Columbia Riverkeeper