Portland’s Landmark Fossil Fuel & Oil Train Resolutions

Community Groups Set to Rally Before Nov 4th City Council Hearing on Groundbreaking Policy on Fossil Fuels, Oil Trains

Nov. 3, 2015 (Portland, OR) – Large crowds are expected to rally at 1:15pm with music and creative visuals before attending a landmark hearing at the Portland City Council on Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 2:30PM. The Council will consider two groundbreaking resolutions at the hearing. The first, a resolution opposing all projects that would increase the amount of oil trains in Portland, is being followed by a second resolution opposing all projects that increase transportation or storage of fossil fuels in Portland or its adjacent waterways. These resolutions together are the most far-reaching in the country and place a high priority on public health and safety at a time when Portland is bracing itself for a possible 9.0 earthquake and has yet to address the safety of existing fossil fuel infrastructure. The resolutions are championed by Mayor Hales and Commissioner Fritz.

Both resolutions are supported by community and environmental groups including 350PDX, Portland Audubon Society, Center for Sustainable Economy, Climate Action Coalition, Columbia Riverkeeper, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon Interfaith Power and Light, and the First Unitarian Church of Portland.

  • Rally to support oil train resolution and fossil fuel policy
    1:15PM: Rally outside City Hall; 2:30PM: Hearing with public testimony begins
    Portland City Hall located at 1220 SW 5th Ave, Portland, Oregon 97204

Community, health, faith, local business and environmental groups are supporting the resolutions on the grounds that the resolutions oppose projects that put the public’s health and safety at risk.

“We must protect our community, especially the most vulnerable, from the direct impacts of oil-by-rail and other fossil fuel transportation,” said Dr. Patrick O’Herron, president of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility.  “Negative impacts include exploding trains, degraded air quality, delays in emergency response time, and worsening of lung and cardiac conditions. We’re excited that the City of Portland is moving towards a low-carbon future that protects the health and safety of all.”

Climate leaders around the world are looking to Portland and applauding the proposed resolution. “Portland is getting down to brass tacks–’no new fossil fuel infrastructure’ is the right rallying cry for this moment in history, a stand that would galvanize the rest of the planet and demonstrate where the future lies,” said global climate leader and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben. “This is an exciting moment!”

“It’s unfair to ask the public to endure the risks that come with dangerous fossil fuel storage terminals and pipelines, especially when we are all aware of the potential for an enormous seismic event in the near future.” Bob Sallinger, Conservation Director of Portland Audubon Society.

Local environmental groups are also praising the resolutions for their climate impact. “These resolutions present the City of Portland with an opportunity to simultaneously protect the health and safety of Portland residents while also having a significant impact in the fight to stop global climate change.” Mia Reback, 350PDX organizer.

“One of the best ways to make change is to transform our systems and build the structures that reflect our values,”  said Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons, executive director of APANO, the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon. “I support this effort because it invests in a future that protects and preserves life. This is a moment of turning away from fossil fuels we know are destructive to people and the environment, that ultimately undermine our economy and family well-being. I can’t deny these changes are hard, and yet together we can live into a new ways of health and sustainable infrastructures.”

“Portland is poised to become a national leader in protecting our climate and communities from dirty fossil fuel export terminals,” stated Brett VandenHeuvel, Executive Director of Columbia Riverkeeper. “It’s time for decisive action.”

“Portland is ready to lead the necessary transition away from the fossil fuel economy,” said Nicholas Caleb, a legal and policy fellow at Center for Sustainable Economy. “This is the right decision from a climate perspective and an important step in protecting residents from the immediate danger that fossil fuel infrastructure poses to our community.”

The resolutions come weeks before the UN’s Paris Climate Talks and the release of the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Tesoro-Savage oil terminal, the largest proposed oil-by-rail terminal in the country. “As a C40 city — one of cities globally recognized for our climate leadership — the world is watching Portland as we push the bounds of what is possible when it comes to addressing climate change, meeting equity goals, and ensuring a sustainable economy and thriving communities for all Portlanders for generations to come,” said 350PDX organizer Mia Reback.  “It’s great to have leaders like Mayor Hales and Commissioner Fritz demonstrating bold and necessary leadership.”

Both resolutions are supported by community and environmental groups including Columbia Riverkeeper, 350PDX, Portland Audubon Society, Center for Sustainable Economy, Climate Action Coalition, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon Interfaith Power and Light, and the First Unitarian Church of Portland.


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