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.


Activists Pack Hearing to Tell the DEQ: No Permit for Bradwood Landing LNG

March 5, 2010

With overwhelming public opposition to LNG projects on the Columbia River, and a regulatory hurdle that could prove insurmountable, the Bradwood Landing LNG terminal may soon become the first of a series of proposed LNG infrastructure projects in Oregon to meet its demise. 

Bradwood Landing backer NorthernStar Natural Gas recently demanded the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality grant the permit for Bradwood Landing without access to critical data about the project’s environmental impact.  In response, the DEQ has indicated it may deny the permit unless NorthernStar comes through with more information.  And at a Wednesday night DEQ hearing on the fate of Bradwood Landing, opponents of high-carbon LNG projects packed into the Knappa High School gymnasium to support the DEQ’s refusal to back down to energy speculators.

Upwards of two hundred people, nearly all opposed to LNG, crowded into the gymnasium to stand up for Oregon’s clean energy future and say no to LNG.  The largest new fossil fuel infrastructure proposed in the Northwestern United States, LNG infrastructure projects like Bradwood Landing would open Oregon’s doors to a new high carbon foreign fossil fuel, compromising our state’s ability to become a leader in clean energy and reducing carbon emissions from fossil fuels.  On Wednesday night the DEQ got the message loud and clear from Oregon residents who attended the hearing: Oregon voters and taxpayers support the agency in holding NorthernStar to our state’s environmental standards, and urge the DEQ to deny permits for the Bradwood Landing terminal. 

What was clear at the hearing was that opposition to LNG comes not just from landowners whose property stands to be immediately impacted by LNG infrastructure, but from a broad-based coalition that spans fishing families worried the Bradwood terminal will devastate salmon habitat, to rural jobs advocates standing up for jobs in the farming industry that stand to be lost to LNG pipelines, to environmentalists concerned about LNG’s carbon footprint and young people who will have to deal in years to come with the impacts of environmental decisions made today. 

Dan Serres of Columbia Riverkeeper testifies against the Bradwood LNG terminal

DEQ representatives there to take public comments heard from farmers who are dealing first-hand with the LNG’s lack of respect for landowners, families who have lived beside the Columbia River and enjoyed its natural beauty for decades, and environmental representatives from Columbia Riverkeeper and the Sierra Club who spoke about the devastating impact Bradwood Landing will have on salmon habitat.  Despite the LNG industry’s frequent claims that projects like Bradwood Landing will benefit Oregon, Bradwood Landing’s backers failed to turn out more than a scattering of supporters who were completely overwhelmed by opponents of LNG.  Based on who was willing to take time our of their evening and attend the DEQ’s hearing, where Oregon residents actually stand on LNG was quite clear.

This spring, the DEQ will likely make a final decision on whether or not to grant approval to Bradwood Landing.  In so doing the agency can demonstrate its intent to listen to Oregon residents and not out-of-state corporations like NorthernStar, and set a precedent of denying permits to LNG companies that refuse to provided needed information about their project’s environmental impacts. 

Though the DEQ’s final decision on Bradwood Landing is still pending, the agency’s insistence that NorthernStar must provide all the needed information about Bradwood Landing suggests the agency is truly willing to stand up for the rule of law.  At least one thing is crystal clear: if the DEQ finally rejects NorthernStar’s application, state regulators will not only be doing the right thing to protect Oregon’s environment and economy, but will do so with the backing of a truly remarkable coalition of Oregonians determined to keep LNG out of this state.


Oregon Board of Forestry announces Sept. 9 meeting on state forests – more logging while failing to protect and restore rivers and streams

August 26, 2009

LittleNorthForkWilsonWhy is the Kulongoski administration failing to protect Oregon’s Tillamook and Clatsop state Forests?

At its meeting on Wednesday, September 9, the Oregon Board of Forestry plans to move forward with a proposal to significantly reduce environmental protection across the 500,000 acre Tillamook and Clatsop state forests in NW Oregon, at the expense of wild salmon, clean water, a healthy climate and recreation.

In its plans to run state forests more like industrial tree farms, the Board, with assistance from the Oregon Department of Forestry, will also begin revising the Greatest Permanent Value (GPV) mandate that governs these state lands in order to put a greater focus on timber production instead of other values like recreation, clean water, carbon sequestration and fish and wildlife habitat.

Unfortunately, Governor Kulongoski has shown strong support for efforts to shift state forest management to a ‘timber first’ approach.

Please contact Governor Kulongoski today and urge him to:

  • Support a strong salmon protection plan by opposing clearcuting in Salmon Anchor Habitats
  • Support the creation of long term and permanent conservation areas
  • Reduce conflicts of interest on the Board of Forestry by appointing more conservation advocates and scientists
  • Support a state forest management plan that restores watersheds damaged by past logging and enhances values like recreation, wild salmon, carbon sequestration and clean water .

The Board of Forestry meeting, which is open to the public, is scheduled for Wednesday, September 9 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Oregon Garden hotel, 895 W. Main St., Silverton. Join the Sierra Club and other conservation advocates in showing your support for more environmental protection on our state lands.

Background:

At its June 3 meeting, the Oregon Board of  Forestry – in a controversial decision opposed by fishing and conservation groups – decided to move forward with plans to dramatically increase clearcut logging on the Tillamook and Clatsop state forests between the Portland area and the Coast. This started the ball rolling on a plan to open up tens of thousands of acres of older forests on state lands to new logging in coming years, despite strong evidence this logging increase will lead to damaged rivers, streams and fisheries. Based on flawed assumptions that increased logging will create jobs in the timber industry during extremely weak demand for lumber and a depressed housing market, the timber-centric Board of Forestry has chosen to prioritize logging over all other important values in these state forests, including the growing recreation economy, carbon sequestration and healthy fisheries.

How you can make a difference:

The Oregon Board of Forestry is planning a public meeting on Wednesday, September 9  from 8 am to 4pm in Silverton (note change from the regularly Salem location). It is at this meeting that they will decide how to move forward with their misguided logging plans, as well as whether to fundamentally alter the ‘greatest permanent value’ rule which currently  requires that logging be balanced with other non-timber values on these state forests.

If you care about protecting our state forests from unsustainable logging, please consider attending the Sept. 9 Board meeting in Silverton and testifying to your opposition to their June 3 decision. At a minimum, please visit Governor Kulongoski’s comment website to register your opposition to the Board’s pro-timber bias and failure to protect watershed health, recreation and non-timber values on our state lands. The Governor is currently backing the Board’s decision to prioritize logging above other values such as healthy fish runs, clean water, recreation and carbon sequestration.


LNG Bill set for hearing

April 16, 2009

HB 2015, the LNG Public Protection Act, is up for its first public hearing in the Oregon Legislature on Thursday, April 16.

Your help is needed to make sure the House Sustainability and Economic Development Committee passes this bill. Send a quick email to your legislature in support of HB 2015 by clicking here.

LNG is different from domestic natural gas. Its 20 – 30% more greenhouse gas intensive, and it would be imported from far way, and sometimes unfriendly, places like Russia, Qatar and Iran.

Oregon is currently threatened by three proposed LNG import terminals and hundreds of miles of pipelines that would cross high value farmland, forests and dozens of rivers and streams. The Palomar pipeline would cut a 47-mile swath across the Mt. Hood National Forest including the Wild and Scenic Clackamas River, the Deschutes River, and Fish Creek, recently designated as Wild and Scenic by the Omnibus Public Lands Act signed into law by President Obama.  LNG pipelines have proven highly controversial among local citizens and goverments.

Its time for Oregon to stand up for itself in the debate over LNG by passing HB 2015.


Oregon Legislative Update – Protecting Our Environment

March 23, 2009

A quick update from the Oregon Legislature. There’s only a little more than one month left for bills to pass out of their committee of origin before they either die or make it to the next level. We’ve got write ups with up-to-date information on some of the key bills we are tracking at http://www.oregon.sierraclub.org/tracker.

We have three ‘action alerts’ set up to make it easy for you to send emails to your legislator on these bills. The one on HB 2534 is brand new, in advance of a public hearing on Tuesday, March 24. The three action alerts are:

Cap and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Pollution – Supporter SB 80 and HB 2186

Stopping LNG terminals and pipelines – Support HB 2015

Pass the Oregon Environmental Quality Act – Yes on HB 2534

Please consider sending an email to your Rep. and the House Environment and Water Committee in support of HB 2534 in advance of the Tuesday hearing.


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