Priority Climate Action in Oregon
We have all heard the phrase “Think global, act local.” I was recently reminded of this when considering climate action in Oregon. As greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise in the atmosphere, there are concrete steps we can take in our state to make a difference.
One important opportunity is the Jordan Cove LNG terminal and Pacific Connector Pipeline. Let’s start by telling DEQ and US Army Corps of Engineers to deny this project the required Clean Water Act permits. This pipeline is planned to run through more than 400 streams, rivers and other waterways, degrading them and violating state water quality standards. If the terminal and pipeline are built, this enterprise will become the largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the state of Oregon. An Oil Change International report concludes that this project will produce more than 15 times the GHG emissions of Oregon’s current largest carbon polluter, the Boardman Coal plant.
The pipeline will affect not only our rivers, but would adversely impact communities in its path. Ted Dreier notes in his excellent YouTube video, “The Klamath, Karuk, and Yurok tribes have all passed resolutions opposing the Jordan Cove project, noting that it threatens tribal legal rights, cultural resources, traditional tribal territories and burial grounds.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8IoK3OsKIA).
In addition to threatening the lands of first Nation people, local landowners would be subject to eminent domain proceedings if they refuse to sell right of way (the vast majority have refused). If that wasn’t bad enough, local jobs in Coos Bay will be at risk if the terminal is built.
On May 22nd, the DEQ and US Army Corps of Engineers opened a 60-day public comment period for Clean Water Act permits. You can find more information and comment here — http://nolngexports.good.do/stopjordancove/CleanWaterComments/. The comment period has recently been extended to August 20! For more ways to take action on Jordan Cove, see this blog post from Rogue Climate (www.rogueclimate.org/oregoncanstoplng), which discusses how the state of Oregon can stop this disastrous project.
Another way our community can make a difference is by adopting the Portland Clean Energy Fund (PCEF) in November. This fund “will generate approximately $30 million a year in new revenue for energy efficiency upgrades, home weatherization, rooftop solar, job training, local food production, and more green infrastructure” (www.portlandcleanenergyfund.com/about). I see a lot of positive actions in this initiative. PCEF will help in the transition to a more efficient, clean energy economy. It will provide clean energy jobs training, focusing on lifting up economically disadvantaged workers. As the web site also notes, at least half of the energy efficiency/renewable energy projects “should specifically benefit low-income residents and communities of color.”
The hardest impacts of climate change will fall on those that did the least to cause it, while many corporations have a long supply chain and significant greenhouse gas emissions. Yet this is not accounted for in the corporations’ bottom line and they are not paying their fair share to remedy it. I recommend looking at https://www.portlandcleanenergyfund.com/faq for more information on how PCEF will be funded and why.
Certainly there are more actions that we, as individuals, can take in the fight against climate change. Stopping the Jordan Cove land grab and supporting the Portland Clean Energy Fund Initiative are concrete ways we can preserve our natural resources for ourselves and future generations.