For Immediate Release
Mayor Hales and Community Activists Celebrate Unanimous Fossil Fuel Infrastructure Ban
Dec. 14, 2016 (Portland, Ore.) – Today, 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.
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.”
“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,” said Daphne Wysham, climate program director at the Center for Sustainable Economy, and a member of the Climate Action Coalition.
Gaby Lemieux, Student Climate Activist stated, “I am so proud to live in this city. Today Portland demonstrated its commitment to me and all of its youth, as well as our global partners. Both of these relationships have faced obstacles nationally, but the city of Portland has reassured us that the transition away from fossil fuels will continue as scheduled: our values have not been shaken, and our enduring commitment to the security of our people and natural resources is as strong as ever. With ordinances like this, and resolutions like the Portland Public Schools Climate Justice Resolution, something other activists and I have been working on for months, I can say confidently that it is wonderful to be a young person in Portland.”
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.