Portland Fossil Fuel Ban: What You Need to Know

pdx-picturePortland Working Towards Decision on How to Ban Fossil Fuels

In September, hundreds of people urged the Planning and Sustainability Commission hearing to enact detailed, thorough amendments to Portland’s land use laws that would prohibit new fossil fuel infrastructure in the City. Leaders from Riverkeeper, 350PDX, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Portland Audubon, and many others urged City leaders to translate the City’s landmark 2015 Resolution opposing fossil fuel infrastructure into a binding set of code changes that would set an example for other cities to follow.

Despite pressure from the fossil fuel industry, the proposed code changes have improved thanks to our input. And with a few more improvements, the City can establish a bold, clear set of rules that will ensure that Portland builds towards a clean energy future.  As the students, business owners, and climate activists who packed the hearing told the Planning and Sustainability Commission, Portland is poised to take a meaningful step towards addressing the climate crisis.

To send a message to the Planning and Sustainability Commission, click here.

We continue to urge the Planning and Sustainability Commission and the City Council to improve the city’s proposed fossil fuel zoning code amendments in the following ways:

  • Eliminate or reduce the 5 million gallon threshold for what constitutes a “bulk fossil fuel terminal.”
  • Use the non-conforming situation review process to set a clear expectations for the improvement of existing facilities’ seismic readiness and safety.
  • Reject changes to the code that would allow for a blanket expansion of existing terminals.
  • Ensure that the amendments will prohibit new facilities that could increase oil trains through Portland and the Columbia River Gorge.

To make these points with your presence, please plan to attend these important upcoming public meetings:

  • Tuesday, October 11, 2016 – Planning and Sustainability Commission
    Hearing to Deliberate and Recommend Fossil Fuel Code Changes

    1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 2500A, 12:30 PM to 4:30 PM (Exact time TBD)
    (Note: The final agenda will be posted on October 4, 2016, and no public comment is allowed.) 
  • Thursday, November 10, 2016 – Portland City Council
    City Council Consideration of Fossil Fuel Zoning Code Amendments

    City Hall, located at 1221 SW Fourth, Hearing begins at 2pm (Exact time TBD)

 You can read an updated fact sheet that identifies the key outstanding issues here.

1 Comment

Categories: Blog

One Response to “Portland Fossil Fuel Ban: What You Need to Know”

  1. My name is Eric Peterson, a small business and home owner in Vancouver, WA. I have communicated with a few of you in the past, and thank you. I found that there may be a federal agency, the STB, which may help Clark County. Recently, the City of Benicia, CA was able to prevent the building of an oil train terminal in that county and that decision was affirmed by the STB, the Surface Transportation Board. The City of Vancouver in fact appears to have more legal ground than initially thought regarding land use issues of by railroad companies and big oil which uses said railroad companies for transport.


    The Benicia City Council’s decision came on the heels of a ruling by the Surface Transportation Board (STB), a little-known federal agency that primarily handles disputes between railroads. The STB settled a dispute over whether or not, as Big Oil argued, federal regulation of railroads extend so far as to deny local governments land use permitting discretion over oil companies’ proposed oil train projects. Ultimately, the decision affirmed Benicia’s right to deny Valero’s project – a ruling that has already reverberated across the country and buttressed the City of Albany, NY’s challenge to an oil train facility there.