We’re Hiring (an Administrative Assistant)!

July 22, 2013

   
Do you enjoy working with volunteers? 

Are you passionate about protecting Oregon’s environment?

Do you want to help a leading Oregon conservation organization
succeed in achieving its mission?


Well, we’ve got the job for you!
 The Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club is hiring a part time (3 days/week) administrative assistant to fill a crucial role in our organization. Based in Portland, Oregon, the administrative assistant will report to the Oregon Chapter Director and work closely with other Sierra Club staff and volunteer leaders. The Administrative Assistant performs various administrative duties to support the day to day operations of the Oregon Chapter including general office duties, database entry and donation tracking, coordinating chapter activities and meetings, interacting with volunteers, and responding to routine inquires from members, volunteers, and the general public. Click here to learn more and read the full job description.

The Sierra Club offers a salary package commensurate with skills and experience plus excellent benefits that include medical, dental, and vision coverage, and a retirement savings 401(k) plan. The Sierra Club is an equal opportunity employer committed to a diverse workforce.

To Apply:

Please email a cover letter, resume, salary expectations, and three references to brian.pasko@sierraclub.org. Please send documents as a Microsoft Word or pdf file and use “Administrative Assistant Application” as the subject for your email.  Sending us a single file (vs. multiple files) that we can forward to our interview committee is helpful and appreciated, but not mandatory.  This position will remain open until filled and we will begin reviewing resumes on August 5, 2013.  No calls, please.


Portland’s Forest Park: Going, Going, Gone?

July 12, 2013
 forest park2.JPG

Portland’s Forest Park is one of the largest urban parks in the world and the only city wilderness park in the United States. It has more native wildlife species than any other city park in the nation, and has been identified by scientists as having more “interior forest habitat” than any other urban park in the world. For the last 65 years, it has been carefully managed by Portland Parks and Recreation, to keep its wilderness values intact, and to keep the health of its natural resources as its highest priority.

Today, Forest Park managers face pressure to balance conservation of the Park’s ecosystem with the development that comes with growing public use and the desire for expanded recreational opportunities.

Marcy Houle, a biologist who has researched Forest Park for over thirty years and written the guidebook, One City’s Wilderness: Portland’s Forest Park, will discuss the new plan currently being presented by Portland Parks and Recreation to change the park. She will discuss what this might mean for its wildlife, its water resources (currently the healthiest in the city of Portland), and for current park users. She will present the fascinating history of Forest Park, introduce the people who fought to create and preserve it, and discuss the important role that stewards must play today if Forest Park is to remain as the nation’s only urban wilderness and Portland’s greatest natural treasure.

WHAT?  Portland’s Forest Park: Going, Going, Gone?
WHY?
Learn more about the future of Portland’s Forest Park. Enjoy food and drinks, make new friends and reconnect with old ones. Pizza and beverages will be provided. Please bring a dish to share.

WHEN?
Thursday, July 18
6:30 p.m. – Refreshments
7:00 p.m. – Program

WHERE?  
Sierra Club Office
1821 SE Ankeny Street, Portland
(map)
For more information, please contact Jeff Fryer at jeff.fryer@sierraclub.org.

Oregon Chapter takes on Chill the Drills Campaign

July 8, 2013

Protecting America’s Arctic from oil development is a prominent issue that demands nationwide support, which is why the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club is finally taking charge to stop additional oil drilling in Alaska.

Chill the Drills CampaignAlaska is home to America’s greatest wilderness that encompasses a wide range of refuges and habitats, including the coastal plains of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the pristine Brooks Range Mountains and the vast Chukchi Sea. Protecting these areas from oil development has the utmost importance because they’re home to numerous endangered species, including the famed polar bear. While the Arctic is under the spotlight for oil development, it’s also a region that could potentially be hardest hit by the side effects of global warming. The combined pressures of both climate change and oil drilling completely jeopardize the health and beauty of Alaska’s wilderness, which is why Oregonians need to step up and let our politicians know our stance on the issue of oil drilling.

Coal mining and oil drilling in the Arctic will continue America’s reliance on dirty, nonrenewable energy sources which will further the negative consequences of global warming. By protecting the migratory corridors between wilderness areas and refuges in Alaska, wildlife will have easier access to move when pressures from global warming and oil development transpire.

The Sierra Club, including the Oregon Chapter, is now working with the Obama Administration as well as Congress, to pass legislature to permanently protect the numerous wilderness areas in Alaska. In addition, the Sierra Club is also working with Alaskan Native communities to protect their subsistence livelihoods from resource depletion by oil companies. An Arctic Conservation Plan is also in the works to organize a comprehensive preservation strategy to permanently protect the coastal areas of the Arctic Refuge and the Arctic Ocean.

Oregonians can play their part in the Chill the Drills campaign  by contacting Senator Wyden and asking him to advocate for permanent protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.


The 2013 legislative session nears its end

June 27, 2013

At long last, the 2013 Oregon Legislative session is winding down. We’ve tracked many bills this session, had countless meetings with legislators, and Oregon capitolprovided important testimony to legislative committees on numerous occasions. And while the final gavel hasn’t dropped yet, we’ve got a pretty good sense of where the Oregon Chapter stands with regard to our legislative wins and losses. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the highlights:

  •   Waldo Lake:  Perhaps our biggest accomplishment of the session was the passage of Senate Bill 602, which banned the use of motorized boats and floatplanes on Waldo Lake. Waldo Lake is one of Oregon’s largest natural lakes and is a destination for paddlers, hikers, and cyclists. Motorized boats and floatplanes disrupt the peaceful serenity recreational users seek and the planes also pose safety concerns. But as of May 16, when the Governor signed the bill, those motors and floatplanes are no longer allowed at Waldo!
  •   Solar Resource Value:  The original intent of House Bill 2893 was to establish a rate for solar power that electric utilities would be required to pay individuals who produced excess solar power on their homes and businesses. However, as often happens, the bill the Governor signed on May 28 was quite different, but is still a step in the right direction and sets the stage for more meaningful action during the 2015 legislative session. It directs the Public Utilities Commission to conduct a study over the next year to evaluate the barriers to the generation of solar power, determine the effectiveness of various programs to advance solar generation, find methods for establishing a resource value for solar power, and make recommendations for modifying existing programs or creating new programs for the development of solar power.  The bill also extended the existing solar feed-in-tariff through 2016 and adds 2.5MW of capacity to advance mid-sized commercial solar projects.
  •   Appliance Efficiency Standards:  Senate Bill 692, signed by the Governor on June 13, established new and strong energy efficiency standards for battery chargers, televisions, and some outdoor lighting. This bill, which was one of the Oregon Conservation Network’s Priorities for a Healthy Oregon, will save Oregonians millions of dollars annually and will help the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It will also prevent Oregon from becoming a dumping ground for inefficient appliances as California has already adopted these same standards.
  •   Clean Fuels Program:  Another of OCN’s priorities, Senate Bill 488, is unfortunately stuck in limbo at the moment. This bill would extend Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program, which set forth standards for reducing the amount of carbon in transportation fuels. These standards are set to sunset in 2014, but SB 488 would extend the program, ensuring a significantly lower amount of greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. Please contact your legislator today to help get SB 488 moving before time runs out!
  •   Energy Performance Standards:  Senate Bill 242, signed by the Governor on May 16, amends and extends the Energy Performance Standards adopted in 2009, which prevent Oregon utilities from entering into contracts to provide coal-generated electricity to Oregonians. In light of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign to move Oregon past its dependence on fossil fuels and toward clean, renewable energy, this was an important priority for us.
  •   Endangered Wolves:  In a victory brokered by our partners at Oregon Wild and Cascadia Wildlands, we weighed in to help ensure the passage of an historic agreement to protect Oregon’s endangered wolves. House Bill 3452 memorializes an agreement between conservation groups and ranchers that sets up standards by which problem wolves can be dealt with. And while the agreement doesn’t stop the killing of all wolves, it does provide strong sideboards and requirements for the livestock industry and requires the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to work in a more transparent way and prioritize conservation and conflict prevention. As of this writing, the bill has passed both chambers and was on its way to the Governor for his signature.
  •   Defense of Renewable Portfolio Standards:  Like every legislative session in recent memory, we saw numerous attacks on Oregon’s Renewable Portfolio Standards, which require that large utilities source 25 percent of their energy from clean, renewable sources by 2025. Luckily we worked with our conservation partners to ensure that none of those attempts were successful this session.
  •   Hunting Cougars with Dogs:  There were several attempts this session to roll back the 1994 decision by Oregonians to ban the hunting of cougars with dogs. One of those bills, House Bill 2624, would have allowed counties to vote to opt out of the statewide ban. Not only would that be bad for cougars, it would also have set a terrible precedent for counties to be able to avoid complying with statewide laws. We and our allies worked hard to stop HB 2624, which passed the House but never made it out of its Senate committee.
  •   O&C Lands:  We worked with coalition partners to prevent the passage of Senate Joint Memorial 10, which would have put the Oregon Legislature on record as supporting weakened protections for O&C Lands in our state. SJM 10 would have recommended the creation of a trust that would result in increased logging and lessened environmental protections for these lands. Even though the bill had broad bipartisan support at the outset, we helped convince legislators that such an approach was unwise and the memorial never made it out of the Senate Rules committee.
  •   “Heritage Guest Ranch” in the Metolius Basin:  House Bill 3536 would have created an exemption from Oregon land use laws for a single family to build a resort-style development outside Sisters, Oregon. The bill would have allowed the developer to avoid destination resort requirements that protect natural resources and nearby property owners from adverse impacts. We worked with our partners to put a stop to this bill which would have gutted Oregon’s long-established goal of preventing sprawl and preserving natural resources by encouraging building within urban growth boundaries.
  • Canola Ban for the Willamette Valley:  House Bill 2427 effectively bans the growing of canola in the Willamette Valley until at least 2019, though it does allow Oregon State University to grow some pilot projects for research purposes. We worked with our allies at the Friends of Family Farmers to support this bill in order to protect the many specialty crops in the Willamette Valley which could be cross-contaminated by the growing of canola. HB 2427 passed the Senate on July 1 and now heads to the Governor for his signature.
  • GMO Crop Pre-emption: We worked with coalition partners to put a stop to Senate Bill 633, which would have disallowed Oregon counties from banning the planting of genetically-modified crops. The bill was specifically directing at pre-empting voters in Jackson County from voting on a measure in 2014 that would ban GMO crops in the county in order to protect organic farmers. This anti-democratic bill was simply bad policy and had seemed dead much earlier in the session, only to raise its head from the grave in the waning days. As of this writing, however, it seems to have crawled back into the grave for good.

We hope no other shenanigans take place in the waning days of the 2013 session. But crazy things can happen in the frenzy before sine die, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on things in Salem. Keep your fingers crossed and stay tuned for more developments!


Oregon Chapter joins lawsuit to protect Mt. Hood

May 30, 2013

Earlier this month, the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club joined with Bark, Friends of Mt. Hood, and the Northwest Environmental Defense Center in challenging a decision by the U.S. Forest Service to allow the development of a high-impact lift-assisted mountain bike park that we believe would harm fragile alpine habitat near Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood (read the complaint here).  As Oregon Chapter director Brian Pasko noted in an e-mail to Kenji Sugahara of the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association, the Sierra Club did not approach this litigation lightly.  Our involvement in this lawsuit also should not suggest to anyone that we oppose increasing the level of mountain bike recreation opportunities on Mt. Hood.

Rather, we think this lawsuit will help to promote ecologically-responsible recreation for everyone on Mt. Hood, including bikers but also hikers, bird-watchers, and others.  This particular proposal is simply not appropriately located and the environmental costs cannot justify the recreational benefits in this specific spot.  Some places might be suitable for such a mountain bike park (indeed, we have chosen not to oppose a similar proposal at Mt. Bachelor in central Oregon because its location better befits this type of bike park), but we do not believe this area is appropriate.

High-impact mountain biking trails in this location have the great potential to harm fragile alpine meadows, streams, and other unique habitat for salmon, elk, and other wildlife.  The construction and use of 17 miles of bike trails would have real impacts on the landscape and the aquatic system. As the Sandy Basin Watershed Council noted in its assessment of the proposal, the sedimentation from the trails could have major impacts on the critical habitat of salmon in Still Creek and the West Fork Salmon River.  The Council also noted the likelihood that the project would disrupt the summer forage range of elk and potentially affect elk calving.

route flagging

Flagging from the proposed bike routes in a natural meadow (Photo credit: Crag Law Center)

In addition, an expert hydrologist took a thorough and independent scientific look at the impacts of this project and at the Forest Service’s Environmental Assessment.  In Jonathan J. Rhodes’ analysis, he presented the Forest Service with scientific studies that contradicted the agency’s key assumptions, including the Forest Service’s own studies from its own scientists. Among his key findings:

“The Project will degrade a variety of critical ecosystem components and processes, including habitats for fish listed under the ESA and habitats for aquatic species designated as Sensitive and/or Management Indicator Species (MIS), although it is not adequately disclosed in the EA. The Project would also degrade RR [Riparian Reserves] in Key Watersheds, both of which are cornerstones of the Aquatic Conservation Strategy (ACS) in the ROD (1994). The Project action would also degrade soils and water quality. The proposed action would cause impacts that are irreversible and irretrievable, including loss of topsoil, soil productivity, and loss of productivity of aquatic habitats. All of these impacts are plainly highly significant to the environment.” (Rhodes Declaration at p. 33)

Unrestored clearcuts just above Jeff Flood Express [Photo credit: Crag Law Center]

Unrestored clearcuts just above Jeff Flood Express [Photo credit: Crag Law Center]

Furthermore, as noted in the complaint, the existing infrastructure associated with Timberline Lodge and Ski Area is already a major and chronic source of sediment delivery to Still Creek and West Fork Salmon River.  And the restoration that was supposed to have happened in conjunction with the most recent lift construction – the Jeff Flood Express lift – has either failed to work or was not implemented correctly.

jeff flood bare soil

Bare mineral soils at bottom of Jeff Flood Lift [Photo credit: Crag Law Center]

So in order to approve the bike trails for the mountain bike park, the Forest Service proposed to finish the previously-required restoration projects as a way to try to cancel out the degradation and disturbance from the new bike trails. The construction of those new trails will result in 12 acres of bare mineral ground and most of the miles of new bike routes will carved into land that is currently in a natural state.  So we will just see even more disturbance and degradation on top of the existing chronic condition and the restoration activities that have not been done.  The bike routes will also double the number of routes that cross streams in the area, and thereby further increase the chances that sediment will get into the streams.

Beyond our ecological reasons for having concerns about this proposal, another rationale for our entering this action is that the Forest Service has fundamentally failed in its obligation to fully evaluate the potential for additional mountain bike recreational opportunities in the Mt. Hood National Forest.  It is more than disheartening that the conservation community and mountain bike advocates are being divided over a debate about this one privately-owned bike park.  Wouldn’t it be better if we could engage in a collaborative effort to substantially expand the publicly accessible mountain bike trail system on Mt. Hood?

The Sierra Club firmly believes that the Forest Service should be carrying out a robust analysis and implementing a formal stakeholder process to expand mountain bike opportunities on our national forests. The Club has a longstanding history of collaborating with mountain bikers and we are very interested in working with the mountain bike community to achieve this goal on Mt. Hood.  Sierra Club staff will be meeting with representatives from the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) and the Central Oregon Trail Alliance to discuss these issues and more in the coming weeks and we would welcome the opportunity to have similar conversations with other organizations.

In short, the Oregon Chapter believes strongly that there should be ample mountain biking opportunities on Mt. Hood, but we are also convinced that the Timberline Bike Park is just not the right solution.  Timberline has not been able to successfully restore the areas it has already damaged and this new construction would simply add to the area’s degradation.  Ultimately, the Forest Service needs to engage the public in a meaningful discussion of how to provide for ecologically responsible recreation on our public land, instead of taking more risks with Mt. Hood.


Oregon Chapter Seeks Applications for Volunteer Treasurer!

May 17, 2013

Sierra Club Logo

The Oregon Chapter is seeking a committed and qualified individual to serve in a key volunteer leadership role within our organization.  We will be accepting applications on a rolling basis and will begin reviewing applications on May 20th until the position is fulled.

Please submit cover letter and resume to:

Oregon Chapter Sierra Club
1821 SE Ankeny St.
Portland, OR 97214
oregon.chapter@sierraclub.org
Please include Treasurer Position in subject line.


JOB DESCRIPTION

Purpose: To manage and report on the Chapter’s finances.

General Responsibilities:

  • Maintain all bank accounts
  • Provide oversight of all financial transactions.
  • Record and code all transactions in QuickBooks Online.
  • Monitor the budget and ensure that a reserve cash balance is maintained.
  • Periodically provide financial updates to the ExCom.
  • Prepare any required financial reporting forms and safeguard financial records.
  • Ensure Chapter and Group compliance with all policies and procedures.

Qualifications:

  • Ability to keep neat and accurate records.
  • Ability to work with Executive Committee & volunteers
  • Attention to detail.
  • Availability to handle transactions on a timely basis.
  • General knowledge of cash accounting principles.
  • QuickBooks Online and Excel experience is a plus.


ABOUT THE OREGON CHAPTER

The Sierra Club’s Oregon Chapter represents the organization’s 15,000 members in Oregon and has worked to protect Oregon’s environment and natural resources since 1978. Today, the Sierra Club employs a staff of seven in Oregon who works with volunteer leaders to advance the chapter’s conservation priorities. Current priority conservation efforts of the Oregon Chapter include:

  • Protecting Oregon’s wild forests.
  • Protecting Oregon’s high deserts.
  • Stopping reckless liquefied natural gas pipelines and terminals.
  • Fighting for clean energy solutions.
  • Additionally, the Sierra Club maintains a professional presence at the state capitol and is active in efforts to influence legislative and administrative decisions that impact Oregon’s environment.

The Oregon Chapter also conducts a wide array of activities that engage members and the general public in efforts to explore, enjoy, and protect our shared environment; including outdoor hikes, service activities, community forums, and research efforts.


Coalition Files Suit to Protect Fragile Alpine Meadows on Mt. Hood

May 17, 2013


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- 5/16/2013

Media Contacts:
Lori Ann Burd, Bark,
loriannburd@gmail.com, 847-567-4052
Rhett Lawrence, Sierra Club,
rhett.lawrence@sierraclub.org, (503) 238-0442, x304

Coalition Files Suit to Protect Fragile Alpine Meadows on Mt. Hood
Destructive Mountain Biking Expansion at Timberline Lodge Threatens
Summer Recreation Opportunities, Fish and Wildlife in Sandy River’s Headwaters
 

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May 16, 2013 — Today Crag Law Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of Friends of Mt. Hood, the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Northwest Environmental Defense Center, and Bark challenging the U.S. Forest Service’s (USFS) decision to allow high-impact lift-assisted mountain biking that would harm fragile alpine habitat near Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood.  Over one million people visit Mt. Hood annually to climb, hike, ski, fish, bike, and play.  Providing recreational opportunities and safeguarding our public land are at the core of the Forest Service’s mission, and the agency has an obligation to reject environmentally destructive development proposals.

“Mountain biking is growing in popularity and we support Forest Service efforts to provide environmentally-responsible, quality recreational opportunities for mountain bikers and other recreationists.  However, the fragile alpine soils at Timberline are the wrong place for a downhill lift-assisted mountain bike park,” said Lori Ann Burd with Bark.  “The Forest Service has failed to meet its responsibility to the public. Bark has worked with mountain bikers to encourage the Forest Service to convert unused logging roads into trails, but the Forest Service has failed to take action to seize these opportunities.  Instead it has approved the construction of 17 miles of new trails in the sensitive headwaters of Still Creek and the West Fork of the Salmon River, leaving us no choice but to go to court to stop this development.”

The area around Timberline Lodge is cherished for summertime recreation such as wildflower viewing in the shadow of Mt. Hood.  “Timberline Lodge in the summertime has always been a place to seek peace and quiet, and generations of families have treasured memories of hiking, picnicking, and sightseeing around Timberline,” said Dennis Chaney of Friends of Mt. Hood.  “This project would jeopardize this beloved place by allowing high-speed downhill biking, races, and more development that will further degrade this fragile alpine environment.  A National Historic Landmark and the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail are not compatible with an adventure park.”

Marla Nelson of the Northwest Environmental Defense Center (NEDC) noted: “NEDC opposes this project because it would harm trout, salmon, and the aquatic environment that supports them.”  She stated that the project will also:

  • Increase sediment in Still Creek and the West Fork of the Salmon River, undercutting the significant investment of time and money in restoring downstream trout and salmon habitat
  • Convert vegetation into bare mineral soils and encourage the further spread of noxious weeds
  • Disturb wildlife, including elk, which rely on these high alpine meadows during calving season

“Timberline’s master plan to build a new day lodge, a new parking lot, and this mountain bike park was accepted by the Forest Service without adequate consideration of the cumulative effects on this fragile alpine environment,” said Rhett Lawrence, Conservation Director with the Sierra Club.  “Timberline has not been able to successfully restore the areas it has already damaged and any new construction would simply add to the area’s degradation.  The Forest Service needs to engage the public in a meaningful discussion of how to provide for ecologically responsible recreation on our public land, instead of taking more risks with Mt. Hood.”

###


Join the worldwide March Against Monsanto on March 25!

May 16, 2013

Portland, join the growing movement against Monsanto’s control over our food supply!

monsantoThe proliferation of Monsanto’s GMO’s and dramatic upsurge in the use of their toxic herbicide Roundup/glyphosate is an issue that requires action by citizens now.  With Congress and government agencies failing to respond to the public’s concerns and the precautionary principle, it’s up to us to move this forward into the spotlight NOW.   Invest in your community’s future.

When:       Saturday, March 25 – 11:00 AM
Where:     Holladay Park Fountain, Portland
What to Bring:   Water, banners/signs, fliers, cameras
March Route:     Link to the March route
Donations:      Accepted to pay for March fees/cost
Remember:    This is a peaceful demonstration

Like Portland’s March Against Monsanto’s Facebook page.

Why GMO’s are a recipe for global famine:

1.  Patented seed – Farmers growing GMO crops are denied their traditional right to save seeds for the next year.

2.  Soil infertility – GMO is agriculture is chemical intensive.  Agrochemical buildup is causing sterility in the soil.  Glyphosate herbicide is especially problematic.  Nutrition content of food is much less in GMO crops.

3.  GHG pollution (greenhouse gases) – Our GMO industrial-model, agrochemical farming system destroys the soil’s natural ability to sequester carbon, using billions of pounds of climate-disrupting, soil-killing chemical fertilizers and pesticides.  Sustainable farming practices pull carbon out of the atmosphere back into living soil.

4.  Monocropping/Loss of biodiversity – GMO agriculture is monocropping.  75% of seed diversity has already been lost to industrial farming.  Biodiversity is food security.

5.  Terminator seed technology – This is designed to genetically switch off a plant’s ability to germinate a second time.  Plants with terminator genes can cross pollinate with natural varieties causing otherwise fertile seed to be sterile.

6.  Dependency on a centralized food system – A network of home gardens and small to mid-sized farms offers far greater food security than a centralized, globalized system.

7.  Superweeds, Superpests – With weeds developing resistance to glyphosate on nearly half of U.S. farms,  with pests requiring 20% more insecticide on GMO crops than non-GMO, harsher “stacked” herbicides and pesticides are next to be employed in industrial farming.

8.  Genetic pollution – Cannot be halted once released into open fields, destroying our natural genetic heritage.

GMO agriculture is the opposite of Sustainable. 

say no to gmo“The seed, the source of life, the embodiment of our biological and cultural diversity, the link between the past and the future of evolution, the common property of past, present and future generations of farming communities who have been seed breeders, is today being stolen from the farmers being sold back to us propriety seed owned by corporations like the U.S.-headquartered Monsanto. “  ~  Vandana Shiva, “Great Seed Robbery,” Deccan Chronicle, April 27, 2011.

Here’s a link to an article of recommend reading, “Food, Farms, Forests and Fracking: Connecting the Dots,” by Zack Kaldveer and Ronnie Cummins.


Half Time at the State Capitol

May 3, 2013
The Oregon State Capitol in Salem.

The Oregon State Capitol in Salem.

On April 18, the Oregon legislature reached its first deadline to move bills out of committee. The Sierra Club continues to track, analyze, and advocate for bills that impact the environment. Below is a list of our top legislative priorities that are still alive following the April 18 deadline.

If you would like to take action on any of these bills, please contact your legislators and let them hear your opinions. You can locate your legislators here: http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/

 Bills we support:

  •  House Bill 2893 – Solar Resource Value – This bill creates a modest expansion of Oregon’s existing solar pilot project to aid commercial solar installations and also requires the Public Utilities Commission to conduct a detailed study of opportunities to advance solar installation in Oregon.
  • Senate Bill 602 – Waldo Lake Motor Ban – This bill adds Waldo Lake to the list of non-motorized lakes in Oregon, protecting the lake from pollution and the spread of invasive species, and also ensuring peaceful recreation for those who paddle, camp, hike, and watch for wildlife at Waldo Lake.
  • Senate Bill 488 – Clean Fuels Program – This bill extends Oregon’s standards for reducing the amount of carbon in transportation fuels, currently set to expire in 2014. The Clean Fuels Program plays an important role in helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • House Bill 2105 – Energy Facility Siting – This bill authorizes a study on the siting of energy facilities.
  • Senate Bill 401 – State Scenic Waterways – This bill expands the State Scenic Waterways program by designating additional rivers and creeks as scenic waterways. This designation would prohibit suction dredge mining on these rivers.
  • Senate Bill 692 – Electronic Appliance Efficiency – This bill establishes minimum efficiency requirements for electronics such as televisions, batteries, refrigerators, and freezers.
  • Senate Bill 840 – Water Use Efficiency – This bill requires efficient water use for fixtures such as toilets, showers, and faucets.
  • Senate Bill 844 – Voluntary Carbon Reduction – This bill directs the Public Utility Commission to establish a voluntary greenhouse gas emission reduction program to incentivize investment in emissions reductions.
  • Senate Bill 306 – Carbon Tax Study – This bill will authorize a study on the implementation of a carbon tax.
  • House Bill 2319 – GMO Crops Bill – This bill allows the Department of Agriculture to take measures to prevent the spreading of genetically engineered material to adjacent agricultural tracts.
  • House Bill 2427 – GMO/Canola Bill – This bill prohibits the growing of canola within the Willamette Valley.
  • House Bill 2820 – Energy Facility Siting – This bill modifies the definition of energy facilities and the maximum size of solar facilities for purposes of Energy Facility Siting Council-issued site certificates.

Bills we oppose:

  •  House Bill 3086 – Off-Site Sage Grouse Mitigation – This bill would make it easier to take actions affecting sage grouse habitat with offsite mitigation measures.
  •  House Bill 3098 – Young Life Ranch Expansion – This bill authorizes the owners of the Young Life Washington Family Ranch to develop 4,000 acres of land, exempted from land use regulations.
  •  Senate Joint Memorial Resolution 10 – O&C Lands Resolution – This resolution urges Congress to assign a board consisting of local governments, timber industry representatives, and environmental organizations the right to manage Oregon & California Railroad grant lands.
  •  Senate Bill 633 – GMO Bill – This bill prohibits local measures seeking to regulate agriculture by enacting anti-GMO requirements.
  •  House Bill 2624 – Cougar Bill – This bill allows the hunting of cougars and bears with dogs under certain conditions.
  •  House Bill 3452 – Wolf Bill – This bill allows for wolves to be killed without a permit under certain conditions.

 Bills we are closely monitoring for any substantive changes:

 Senate Bill 357 – Oregon Department of Forestry Study Bill – Requires Oregon Department of Forestry to study and develop recommendations on the pace and scale of federal forest management projects and potential state and local funding for federal projects.


Who Will Speak for the Birds?

April 29, 2013

by Heidi Dahlin, Oregon Chapter Conservation Chair

The Klamath Basin Wildlife Refuge Complex is a stopover for one of the largest migration of birds in North America. Birds stop by south-central Oregon to rest and feed on their way north or south, or stay and raise their young.

This weekend, representatives from two Sierra Club chapters met with two other organizations and toured the complex with refuge manager, Ron Cole, to learn about the state of the refuges after a series of dry years. What we found were low water levels, with the prediction that the Lower Klamath Refuge will be dry by August.

That’s right: no water for thousands of birds that depend on the wetlands for food.

Last year over 20,000 birds died from a cholera outbreak due to overcrowding in the low water in the spring. The Lower Refuge has been dry three of the last four summets due to the lack of delivery of water.

We need to speak for the birds. Please contact your representatives in Congress and ask them to remember the thousands of birds who need the water to survive and ask that the Bureau of Reclamation deliver the needed (and promised) water to the refuge complex.

Please speak for the birds.


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