We’re deep into this state legislative session, and I’m getting worried. Oregon only has a long (6-month) session every other year and if climate justice bills don’t get passed in the next two months, we may have to wait years for the next chance. With state Republicans doing all they can to slow down the legislative process, frustration is high, time is short, and too many good causes are competing for too little money. Of the 2,941 bills introduced this session, only 27 have been signed into law by Gov. Kotek, and the legislative session ends June 25th.
To be honest, I’m feeling nervous and a little worn out, but know that we can’t give up yet! As the mom of a middle school track athlete, I spend a lot of my spring at track meets. Writing this, I feel like the legislative session is comparable to the 400 meter dash – a grueling sprint around the full track – and we are in the final push. We are almost out of energy, but the finish line is within sight and we need to keep going. Every year that Oregon does not prioritize climate justice legislation means a more challenging future for our communities and the land.
So, instead of deleting this email because you’re tired of this session, or disgusted with politics, or don’t know if one more email will make a difference, I invite you to take a deep breath, keep your eye on the finish line, and take a few minutes to act for climate justice today. Your voice as a constituent is important!
Want to learn more about the climate justice bills moving through the Ways & Means Committee? Read on!
NATURAL CLIMATE SOLUTIONS (SB 530)
This bill supports the viability of Oregon’s forest owners, farmers, and ranchers by investing in natural climate solutions, primarily by funding incentives for land managers to adopt practices that increase carbon sequestration and storage on natural and working lands. Learn more here.
You can also check out this letter 350PDX and other organizations sent to the Joint Committee on Ways & Means, urging them to fund this bill.
CLEAN, EFFICIENT, HEALTHY, AND AFFORDABLE HOMES & BUILDINGS
Buildings are the second largest source of climate pollution in Oregon. We need to rapidly reduce the use of fossil fuels in our buildings, both new and existing, to meet our state’s climate goals, while ensuring our buildings are resilient to climate impacts and that they are affordable for all Oregonians. 350PDX is a proud member of the statewide Building Resilience Coalition. This legislation session, the Coalition is working to pass 4 priority bills:
– SB 868 – Healthy Heating and Cooling for All: aligns energy efficiency programs with state climate goals, sets a heat pump target for the state, supports workforce development, and improves navigation of federal and state incentives for energy efficiency and retrofits of homes and businesses.
– SB 869 – Build Smart from the Start: ensures new buildings in Oregon are constructed energy efficiently and are more resilient to climate impacts.
– SB 870 – Building Performance Standards: establishes a Building Performance Standard for large commercial buildings to reduce their energy use and climate emissions over time.
– SB 871 – Smart State Buildings: removes barriers to accelerate energy retrofits and upgrades in state buildings.
COMMUNITY GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE GRANT PROGRAM (HB 3016)
This bill would create a Community Green Infrastructure Grant Program administered by the Department of Land Conservation and Development to offset the cost of planning and developing community green infrastructure projects. It would also provide direct social, environmental and economic benefits to communities across this state. Learn more here!
COMMUNITY RESILIENCE HUBS (HB 2990)
As the climate crisis worsens, we need our communities to be adequately prepared for future impacts. Resilience hubs and networks will keep communities safe, healthy, and well-connected before, during, and after disasters. This bill would create a grant program through the Office of Resilience and Emergency Management, which would go directly to communities to build and implement Community Resilience Hubs and networks. Learn more here!
Over the past few months, we’ve been working hard to guide critical climate justice bills towards victory. This movement is powerful, and when we show up in huge numbers, decision-makers have to listen! Please join us in calling on our legislators to support climate justice bills.
Let’s do this,
Brenna Bell, 350PDX Forest Climate Manager