What’s happening in Washington

The president put someone in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency who has sued that same agency 14 times to weaken clean air, clean water and other environmental protections.

He signed an executive order to put the Keystone XL pipeline on a fast track to construction, another order designed to eliminate Clean Water Act protections for nearly 2 million miles of America’s streams, including 61,200 miles in Oregon, and a third order rolling back the Clean Power Plan, effectively allowing power plants to emit more pollution and adding more soot to the air we breathe and more climate-destabilizing carbon pollution to the planet’s atmosphere.

Meanwhile, Congress has passed legislation abolishing new stream water protections from coal mining in Appalachia, voted to make it easier to sell off public lands, and introduced bills to abolish the EPA.

After talking during the campaign about “abolishing” the EPA himself or “leaving just a little bit,” the president proposed a budget that would slash EPA funding by 31 percent. These cuts would virtually eliminate funding for proven programs needed to clean up the nation’s great waterways, from San Francisco Bay to Puget Sound; decimate environmental research and science programs, and effectively take the nation’s environmental cops off the polluter beat.

A “little bit” of environmental protection is not nearly enough—not when it comes to the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the people and places we love. 

Most Americans want more, not fewer, protections for the people and places we love

These moves to dismantle our environmental protections violate core values shared by millions of Americans.

The vast majority of us believe the health of our children is more valuable than the dollars saved when a company dumps pollution into our air or water. The future of our children and life on our planet makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies. The idea that we’ve found some places so special, some would even say sacred, that we’ve declared them off-limits to development is one of our proudest achievements.

But our environmental values are meaningless if we don’t act on them, and stand up and defend them when they’re under attack— especially given the power of old but entrenched industries that are wed to a status quo that no longer serves our needs, and a worldview that puts their short-term economic interests above the health of the American people and the environment we share.

Our path forward

Our best chance of stopping these attacks will come in the U.S. Senate, where 41 votes will be enough to block most legislation.

Environment Oregon, together with our nationwide network of state affiliates, is urging our senators to stand up and protect our health and the places we love.

And if enough of us speak up, we can win.

Recently, Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah filed a bill that would sell off 3.3 million acres of America’s public lands — an area the size of Connecticut. Several days later he withdrew the bill in the face of overwhelming public opposition, including 1,000 people in Montana turning out to a pro-public lands rally and this comment from an National Rifle Association member on Chaffetz’s Facebook page: “Rescind H.R. 621 the sale of public lands! It’s not your land to sell. It’s the people’s land. Many people use it for many purposes.” Hear and respect our voice.”

We can win, but only if we bring together people from all walks of life, from both sides of the political divide, and unite in action to defend the places we love.

Reckless proposals to roll back clean air, clean water and other environmental protections keep coming every week. We need to build support now to protect our health and environment.

Now, it's up to us

The leaders and activists of the past saw the result of decades of unchecked pollution in our smog-covered skylines and our toxic rivers. They worked against all odds and, ultimately, their values won the day. Our environmental forbears organized the first Earth Day, supported and passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act, and created the Environmental Protection Agency. Now the torch passes to us.

The children we know and love today can live cleaner, healthier lives in a greener world, but only if we can keep our environmental protections in place and make them stronger. It’s up to us.

Issue updates

News Release | Environment Oregon

Milwaukie Council Votes Unanimously to Triple Solar Energy

Milwaukie, OR- In a 5-0, the Milwaukie City Council voted last night to set a goal of tripling installed-solar capacity within the city by 2021 and to run a “Solarize” program, intended to streamline the process of “going solar” and bring down the upfront cost for customers. Tripling installed solar in Milwaukie would mean increasing total installed solar capacity from approximately 730 kW to 2.2 MW, the equivalent installing nearly 300 new residential solar rooftops. 

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News Release | Environment Oregon

Solar Power is Brewing in Lincoln County

The Central Oregon Coast is not a place many people immediately associate with solar energy. But statewide environmental advocacy group Environment Oregon thinks it should be. Last night they held a Solar Power Happy Hour to bring state legislators, local elected officials and community members together to discuss an ongoing effort to bring more solar power to Lincoln County. 

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News Release | Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center

Portland ranks 18th for solar power in nation

Portland has more solar panels than most major American cities, ranking 18th among dozens of metropolitan areas analyzed in a new report. The Rose City’s place, just behind Newark and ahead of Boston, was owed largely to the city’s early pioneering of “Solarize” programs and strong leadership from Mayor Charlie Hales, advocates said today.

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Report | Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center

Shining Cities 2016

Solar power grew at a record-breaking pace in 2015. The United States now has more than 27,000 megawatts (MW) of cumulative solar electric capacity, enough to power more than 5.4 million American homes. Hundreds of thousands of Americans – especially in our cities – have invested in solar panels on their roofs or solar projects in their communities, and millions more are ready to join them.

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News Release | Environment Oregon

Corvallis City Council votes to support local solar energy

Corvallis, OR – Last night, the Corvallis City Council voted to provide $100,000 in low-interest loans to Seeds for the Sol, a local organization that helps people afford the upfront cost of installing solar panels. Since its inception, Seeds for the Sol has provided help to 45 households in going solar. Loans provided by City Council to the organization will help support and estimated 25-30 new roof-top solar systems.

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