After years of legal challenges from the fossil fuel industry, the City of Portland is poised to implement its landmark law banning new or expanded bulk fossil fuel infrastructure.
Take Action: Portland City Council to Vote on Fossil Fuel Ordinance on August 24, 2022 at 2pm
After years of legal challenges from the fossil fuel industry, the City of Portland is poised to implement its landmark law banning new or expanded bulk fossil fuel infrastructure. Once enacted, Portland’s Fossil Fuel Terminal Zoning Amendments (FFTZA) would protect Portland communities from harmful pollution and safety risks from facilities like oil train terminals.
Join us in showing our support for the law by attending the City Council’s vote on this important ordinance on August, 2022 at 2pm.
- Attending the meeting to show your support at the Portland City Council hearing on August 24 at 2pm at Portland City Hall, 1221 SW 4th. If you can’t attend the Council’s July 21 meeting in person, you can view the livestream of the meeting here - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcPIUh7CWwtBXisMPHWG65g.
The City Council’s vote on this policy is an important first step to protect the health, safety, and climate of Portland communities by banning new or expanded fossil fuel terminals. And in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision undermining federal action to limit climate-changing pollution, local actions are all the more important.
Many commenters expressed concern about existing fuel storage and other flammable materials stored on Portland’s liquefiable soils near vulnerable Portland communities. In coming months, we will continue to advocate for the City to take action to reduce these risks, as well.
Here are some of the main points raised by all of the commenters (100% of the testimony in the June 30 hearing supported banning new or expanded fossil fuel facilities):
- These amendments are a necessary first step toward averting catastrophic impacts from the forecasted magnitude 9.0 earthquake. As a recent report from Multnomah County and the City of Portland makes clear, Portland’s fossil fuel storage hub poses a catastrophic risk of spills, explosions, and toxic fumes in the event of the Cascadia Earthquake. These amendments help protect the health of the Willamette and Columbia rivers and our communities by stopping the reckless expansion of dangerous infrastructure.
- These amendments are important public policy, in line with Portland’s Climate Emergency resolution, statewide planning goals, the Governor’s executive order on the climate crisis, and recent legislation to protect communities from risks posed by fossil fuel storage in Portland. This ordinance has inspired local governments across the region to follow Portland and enact historic bans on new fossil fuel infrastructure.
- The Portland City Council should not weaken the amendments in exchange for industry promises, or allow any expansion of fossil fuel storage. Fossil fuel terminal owners should retrofit their facilities to better withstand earthquake risk, but not in exchange for being allowed to further increase the risks to our communities and watersheds from reckless fossil fuel infrastructure expansion.
- The Portland City Council should strengthen the rule, closing potential loopholes and establishing enforcement and safety mechanisms for renewable fuel storage. Currently, terminal owners are not required to state how they use their storage tanks, and could potentially use this ambiguity to free up space for more fossil fuels. Likewise, any renewable fuel storage development must come with mandatory reporting requirements so more fossil fuel storage is not created under the guise of renewables.
Renewable, or biofuel, expansion increases seismic risks in the short and long term if it does not replace fossil fuel storage. Zenith Energy, for example, moved as much or more crude in 2021 as any year prior, even as it began moving biodiesel as well.
A recent report from Multnomah County and the City of Portland documented the risks posed by the existing fossil fuel terminals and found that the expected Cascadia Earthquake could cause 397 storage tanks to release between 94 to 193 million gallons of oil and other petroleum chemicals—equivalent to the 2009 Deepwater Horizon Spill.