In fact, we changed our name to Divestment/Reinvestment several months ago. We still work on divestment–currently we are engaged with the Cities of Portland and Milwaukie, Lewis & Clark College and Catlin Gabel School, among others, and have a new campaign to divest PERS, the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System–but a lot of our energy and interest has turned to reinvestment, especially Community Solar.
In previous years, environmental groups and social justice groups have operated independently. This has been to our detriment. We know from the many successes of coalition-building that we are stronger when we work together to achieve our goals. Together, we can achieve ecological justice, where our knowledge of how we manage community resources is applied to achieving environmental, economic, racial, and social justice.
This year, the frontline communities of the Oregon Just Transition Alliance (OJTA) are taking a central, leading role in the Portland People’s Climate Movement (PCM). We’re joining in solidarity, led by those who are most impacted by ecological injustice, to advance the Portland PCM Platform.
On Feburary 23, 2017 organizers from a number of climate/social action organizations (listed below) joined forces to promote resistance to fracked methane being implemented as a fuel source for our local power grid, as well as for export to foreign markets. Methane – a greenhouse gas with 86 times the heat trapping potential of carbon – is being extracted from shale fields throughout the country with leaks are occurring regularly.
The technology already exists to transition to 100% renewable energy sources, however the incentive to do so for utility companies is lacking due to the reduced profit margins for shareholders.
PGE plans to build 2 new natural gas power plants at the Carty Boardman site using primarily fracked methane as their fuel source. Natural gas is being promoted as a cleaner bridge fuel to the future, however it is merely just another fossil fuel with a myriad of public health threats. Read more
On February 23rd, some fellow Sierra Club members trekked out to Cousins’ Country Inn in The Dalles. The Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC) was holding one of their regular meetings where they discuss and eventually vote on which sites are granted the right to produce energy. Thus, they can either approve or deny the Carty/Boardman gas plants. Although the Carty gas plants were not on the agenda, public comment (of any sort) was – and thus a few of us wanted to voice our concerns with the proposed PGE gas plants.
The meeting took place in a small conference room, thus it was a very intimate setting. One very significant bit of information was gifted to us at the very beginning of the meeting. Very briefly, the secretary of the council informed the other council members that they received a complaint from the contractor that installed the initial gas plant pipes – which has been up and running since July 2016. Read more