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Citizen Groups Vow to Keep Pushing For Fossil Fuel Policy in Portland Despite LUBA Decision

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:

Dan Serres, Columbia Riverkeeper, 503.890.2441, dan@columbiariverkeeper.org
Micah Meskel, Audubon Society of Portland, 503.481.5715, mmeskel@audubonportland.org
Nicholas Caleb, Center for Sustainable Economy, 541.891.6761, nick.caleb@sustainable-economy.org
Regna Merritt, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, 971.235.7643, regna@oregonpsr.org
Mia Reback, 350PDX, 310.717.7966, mia@350pdx.org

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.

“While we are disappointed in the decision, we will work to secure a policy that protects Portland and our climate from reckless fossil fuel projects like coal and oil train terminals,” said Dan Serres, Conservation Director for Columbia Riverkeeper. “The people of Portland overwhelmingly supported this policy and strong climate action. We will not be dissuaded by the fossil fuel industry’s attempt to put our communities and climate at risk.”

“The Portland Business Alliance should be ashamed at their attempt to undercut Portland’s role as a leader in moving towards green energy and a safe community,” said Micah Meskel, Conservation Field Coordinator with the Audubon Society of Portland. “Although some of their members claim they to want to see the Paris Climate Accord upheld, the PBA chose to align itself with extreme fossil fuel interests. The people of Portland will continue to push against them to enact strong policy to protect our community.”

“It’s an absurd and incorrect conclusion that Portland is powerless to protect its residents from dangerous fossil fuel infrastructure,” said Nicholas Caleb, Staff Attorney at Center for Sustainable Economy. “We will continue to fight to make sure Portland’s residents and environment are protected from the risk of spills, explosions, derailments, and pollution that are inherent in the dirty practices of the fossil fuel industry.”

“While this decision is a temporary setback for the the health and safety of the most vulnerable among us – low-income communities, communities of color, children, and the elderly – we’ll continue work to implement bold actions and protect the climate that sustains us,” said Regna Merritt, Healthy Climate Director at Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility.

“The grassroots will continue to fight to protect our communities and our climate. Preventing new fossil fuel infrastructure projects is the only known way to stop catastrophic climate change while protecting the health and safety of our local communities from dirty fossil fuels,” said Mia Reback, organizer with 350PDX. “We are committed to defending this policy and upholding municipalities’ ability to act.”

Resources:
Read the opinion here: 2017-001 Columbia Pacific BTC v. City of Portland
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.

 

CSE Hires Nicholas Caleb as Staff Attorney


For immediate release

May 22, 2017

For more information, contact Nick Caleb: 541-891-6761; Daphne Wysham: 202-510-3541


The Center for Sustainable Economy (“CSE”) announced today that Nicholas Caleb has joined the organization as CSE’s Staff Attorney. Caleb will provide legal and strategic support to CSE’s Climate Justice program in a full-time capacity.

Caleb comes to CSE after a stint as the Environmental Policy Analyst for Portland, OR City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. Caleb’s previous positions include: Staff Attorney at Neighbors for Clean Air, Local Climate Law Fellow at Our Children’s Trust, and adjunct professor of government at Concordia University.  Caleb also worked as a legal and policy fellow for CSE in the past.

Caleb also helped Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler develop an environmental strategy for the City of Portland during the 2016 election. Caleb received his law degree from the University of Oregon and his LL.M. from Tilburg University’s Law and Technology Program.

“Portland has put in place the strongest ordinance in the country banning all new fossil fuel infrastructure,” said Daphne Wysham, director of CSE’s Climate Justice Program.  “Nick was a key player in the grassroots coalition that worked hard to achieve this victory. We are thrilled to have his skillset in the mix as we develop a strategy for advancing climate justice campaigns at the state and local level, nationally.”


“I am excited to join CSE,” said Caleb. “The climate movement in the Pacific Northwest is on fire and I feel so lucky that I get to work on the campaigns and projects that will ensure a livable future on this planet.” 

CSE’s Climate Justice Program takes bold action around the urgent moral imperative of rapidly reducing our collective carbon footprint while ensuring our land use is sustainable for present and future generations. Specifically, we are working to ensure high value carbon sinks, such as old growth forests, are bolstered and expanded as rapidly as possible while ensuring that cities curtail all new fossil fuel export infrastructure as they advance a just transition agenda toward 100 percent clean, renewable energy. Please click here for examples of recent victories and achievements.

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Portland, OR Mayor, Activists Celebrate Trailblazing Fossil Fuel Infrastructure Ban

For Immediate Release:            

Contact: Mia Reback at 310-717-7966 or mia@350pdx.org; Daphne Wysham at 202-510-3541 or daphne@sustainable-economy.org; or Nicky Vogt at 202-331-2389 or vogt@newpartners.com

December 14, 2016

Portland, Oregon – Today, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales joined community leaders and activists to celebrate the unanimous passage of a new city ordinance banning new bulk fossil fuel terminals that renews Portland’s commitment to strong climate action, lower carbon emissions, effective seismic resilience, a safer Columbia River Gorge, and a safer environment for those in and around Portland.

This first of its kind ordinance prohibits the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure that has the capability to transload fossil fuels or is larger than two million gallons in capacity and forbids existing terminals from expanding in size, preventing any further potential damage to their local environment.nffi-victory_cities-lead-copy

(L to R): Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, Walla Walla Tribal Elder Cathy Sampson-Kruse and City Councilor Amanda Fritz. Photo: Rick Rappaport

The Portland City Council passed two other climate policies on Wednesday morning: home energy scoring which will require energy audits before residential home sales and an update to the city’s electric vehicle strategy. ‘

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales said, “Portland has been a world leader in ‪climate action. We were the first U.S. city to adopt a climate action plan. We were the first to bring back the modern streetcar. Now we’ll be the first to deliberately transition from dirty, dangerous fuels to ‪clean, ‪renewable ‪energy with the passage of Portland’s policy that prohibits bulk fossil fuel facilities,” said Mayor Hales. “This work would not be possible without our strong grassroots organizations that have led our city’s efforts forward. Now more than ever, these local community voices are needed, because the risks of not acting on climate change are just too severe.”

Mia Reback, Lead Organizer for 350 PDX,  stated, “Portland is taking bold steps to protect our city from the immediate risks of fossil fuels while sending a powerful message to other cities across the nation and the world that the grassroots movement will not let national politics deter cities from taking the lead on climate action. City by city we can, and will, ensure the steps are taken to rapidly transition away from fossil fuels, protecting the very essence of life on planet earth.”

Micah Meskel, Conservation Field Coordinator at Audubon Society of Portland said,“Today we saw the power of the grassroots prevail. This vote solidifies a historic climate action by the City, one that can be replicated in cities throughout the Northwest, and will spark additional community led initiatives here in Portland to severe our City’s reliance to dangerous fossil fuel infrastructure.”

Regna Merritt, Healthy Climate Program Director of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility stated, “Low-income populations and communities of color experience the worst impacts of fossil fuels and climate disruption. As we celebrate a huge victory for the health and safety of our community, we urge other communities to take similarly bold actions.”

Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky, Senior Organizer at Columbia Riverkeeper said, “At a time when people around the world are grappling with how to protect clean water and accelerate a transition away from fossil fuels, Portland is setting a globally significant example and using this geographic and economic opportunity to make a bold statement. “

Steve McCoy, Staff Attorney for the Friends of the Columbia Gorge said, “The explosive train wreck in the Columbia River Gorge last June is direct evidence of the dangers of shipping fossil fuels by rail. Portland’s action not only safeguards our children from the immediate dangers of more explosive oil trains passing through our communities, but also makes a strong stand for our children’s children by blocking an avenue for increasing the use of greenhouse gas intensive fossil fuels abroad.”

Daphne Wysham, climate program director at the Center for Sustainable Economy, and a member of the Climate Action Coalition said: “With this grassroots-led victory, Portland is showing where the future lies: Not in the boom and bust fossil fuel economy, but in a more equitable low- to zero-carbon economy. Portland’s low-carbon economy now provides about 47,000 middle-wage jobs, representing over $10 billion in goods and services annually, with an average 5 percent annual growth rate–a far more sustainable economy than fossil fuel exports would provide.”

This victory is the result of over two years of organizing from local activists and community members committed to the betterment of Portland’s environment and the protection of our neighbors’ health and safety. The ordinance is an important step forward for Portland and should serve as a model for other municipalities and states.  

This policy was worked on by 350PDX, Audubon Society of Portland, Columbia Riverkeeper, Climate Action Coalition, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Center for Sustainable Economy, the Oregon Chapter Sierra Club, and more.

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