For Immediate Release
Portland, OR, City Council Passes Resolution Opposing New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure
WASHINGTON - The Portland City Council voted 5-0 to pass a landmark resolution opposing all projects that increase the transportation or storage of all fossil fuels in Portland or in its adjacent waterways. This resolution is the most far-reaching of its kind in the country. It encompasses all fossil fuel types; it directs the City to codify the language into law; and it includes strong language around a “just transition” for workers economically dislocated by the city’s change to a clean, sustainable economy.
The resolution is the product of grassroots activists adamantly opposing all new coal, oil and gas projects. “Today’s resolution marks the outcome of grassroots resistance to all new fossil fuel infrastructure going mainstream. For years, groups like Rising Tide, Columbia Riverkeeper and 350PDX have been fighting all new large-scale fossil fuel projects in order to stave off the worst of the climate crisis and protect life on this planet as we know it. This is a huge victory for the movement and for climate stability,” said 350PDX’s climate organizer Mia Reback.
“Portland Mayor Charlie Hales is breaking the climate gridlock at the national and international level, showing us that cities and local governments can lead the way, powered by local grassroots activists,” said Adriana Voss-Andreae, director of 350PDX.
Today’s resolution builds on recent victories cemented by climate justice activists in Portland including: Defeating a proposed propane export terminal in the spring of 2015; blockading Shell Oil’s Arctic icebreaker, The Fennica, for 48 hours in the summer of 2015, galvanizing public attention and support to keep the Arctic off limits to all oil and gas drilling; and recent resolutions to get the City of Portland to divest from fossil fuels and oppose oil trains.
The resolution is supported by community and environmental groups including 350PDX, Portland Audubon Society, Center for Sustainable Economy, member groups of the Climate Action Coalition, and Columbia Riverkeeper; and by the Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission, Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde, and Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.
“President Obama was the first president in history to reject a pipeline, the Keystone XL, based on its climate impact, but Portland Mayor Hales is the first mayor in history to reject all new fossil fuel infrastructure in his city on its health, safety and climate impact,” said Daphne Wysham, director of the climate and energy program with Center for Sustainable Economy. “Both leaders understand we have no time to waste: We must say ‘no’ to all new fossil fuel infrastructure if we are to leave 80 percent of proven fossil fuel reserves in the ground as science requires of us and say ‘yes’ to the just transition to a clean economy we all need.”
“This new fossil fuel policy is the result of many years of consciousness-raising activism throughout the Pacific Northwest,” says Nicholas Caleb of CSE. “It’s exactly the type of action we need to respond to the climate crisis and can be replicated throughout the region as we commit to a transition to a clean energy economy.”
Climate leaders around the world are looking to Portland and applauding the resolution. Bill McKibben, global climate leader and co-founder of 350.org, testified in support of the resolutions. "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 Bill McKibben. “This is an exciting moment!"
“The tides are clearly turning: from the global movement to divest from fossil fuel companies to the tune of $2.6 trillion, to major victories at the national level, such as getting a U.S. president to stop a major fossil fuel infrastructure project for the first time in pulling the plug on Keystone XL, to the local level such as this landmark victory today.” says Voss-Andreae of 350PDX. “It’s a powerful sign that the the fossil fuel era is beginning to come to an end and that we are the change we’ve been looking for”.
350 is the red line for human beings, the most important number on the planet. The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth. But solutions exist. All around the world, a movement is building to take on the climate crisis, to get humanity out of the danger zone and below 350. This movement is massive, it is diverse, and it is visionary. We are activists, scholars, and scientists. We are leaders in our businesses, our churches, our governments, and our schools. We are clean energy advocates, forward-thinking politicians, and fearless revolutionaries. And we are united around the world, driven to make our planet livable for all who come after us.