Last November, Portland passed a historic resolution to “actively oppose expansion of infrastructure whose primary purpose is transporting or storing fossil fuels in or through Portland or adjacent waterways.” Throughout the world, Portland’s vote was hailed as an example for other cities to follow.
At the time, Mayor Hales told Inside Climate News, “If we’re aggressive about carbon reduction, we can, city by city, make a difference.”
This summer City staff offered an initial draft of proposed code changes intended to translate the City’s sweeping resolution into binding land use rules. Unfortunately, the current draft developed by the City falls far short of the outright ban on new fossil fuel projects that the City Council approved in November. Instead, the City’s initial draft rules would allow construction of new bulk fossil fuel terminals and permit expansion of existing ones. The draft rules would even allow new facilities of up to 500,000 barrels (21 million gallons) of new crude oil storage – enough to fill seven, 1-mile-long oil trains!
Fortunately, Portland has plenty of time to correct its course and restore the fossil fuel policy to its original intent – banning new fossil fuel infrastructure.
Let’s revive Portland’s Fossil Fuel Policy! Comments are due by July 27, 2016, on the City’s current draft.You can download our fact sheet here. We are asking the City to ban new fossil fuel terminals, limit expansions of existing ones, and increase the safety and resilience of existing terminals.
Click here to send in comments, and mark your calendar for September 13, 2016, when Portland’s Planning and Sustainability Commission will hold a public hearing on a (hopefully improved) draft of zoning code changes.