Unite Against Hate with the One Oregon Coalition

January 11, 2017

It’s been two months since the election and I’m still reeling.

Donald Trump’s victory represents an assault on people of color – undocumented people and  other immigrants in particular. The Southern Poverty Law Center documented over 700 hate crimes committed in the week following the election. The danger for LGBTQ people, people of color, immigrants, refugees, people of Muslim faith and others with marginalized identities is very real, and will only grow after inauguration day.

The Sierra Club will not be silent in the face of injustice. We will not sit idly by as our volunteers, our staff, and our friends and neighbors are deported. We will unite in the face of hatred and rise to the greatest challenge the modern progressive movement has ever faced.

That’s why we’re in solidarity with the One Oregon Coalition, ready to fight against inhumane new immigration laws and policies at every turn. We are mobilizing to Salem on Saturday January 14th for the United for Immigrant Rights March and Rally.  We’ll have an #envirosforimmigrantrights contingency, wearing green scarves. Please join us.

WHAT:  United for Immigrant Rights March and Rally

WHERE: Oregon State Capitol Front Steps, 900 Court St NE, Salem, Oregon 97301

WHEN: Saturday, January 14th, 11:30 am – 3:00 pm

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See here for transportation from Portland thanks to The Bus Project and the event Facebook page.

We support Black Lives Matter and the Movement for Black Lives in their struggle for basic human dignity and respect for the sanctity of human life. We stand with the Standing Rock Sioux, and with all Indigenous people around the globe fighting for their sovereignty and right to self-determination. We are ready to confront any and all challenges to the safety of our queer and trans friends and family and to women’s right to control their own bodies. Now more than ever, we must clearly and loudly articulate our solidarity with all people threatened by the frighteningly violent and nativist rhetoric coming from the new presidential administration.

The Sierra Club’s mission is to “enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment.” The human and social environment in which we live just got a whole lot less safe and healthy for a whole lot of folks. It is our mission, our obligation and our moral imperative as people of conscience to resist any attempts from our federal government to tear apart Oregon families with attacks on immigrant and refugee communities.

This is not normal, and will never be normal. On January 20th when Donald Trump takes office, I will be in the streets, marching arm in arm with my community to express our resistance to the racist, sexist, homophobic and nativist policies he has promised to enact. And before then, we hope you’ll join us on January 14th, to rally to make sure that immigrant and refugee communities know that folks with privilege have their backs.

History has its eye on us in this dark moment. This is a time we’ll all remember for the rest of our lives, and we haven’t got a second to waste.  Today I ask you to join me in committing to stand with the One Oregon Coalition against hate – and I hope to see you in the streets on January 14th and January 20th.

Erica Stock

Executive Director, Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club


New Report Highlights 10 Wildlife Conservation Priorities for the Trump Administration

December 21, 2016

Among list of imperiled species are Wild Snake River spring/summer Chinook salmon, threatened by four lower Snake River dams, climate change

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The report, “removing the Walls to Recovery: Top 10 Species Priorities for a New Administration <http://removingthewallstorecovery.org/> ,” highlights some of the most significant threats to vanishing wildlife such as wild salmon, jaguars and elephants, and identifies important actions the next administration could take to stop their decline and begin to rebuild these populations.

The report includes the imperiled wild Snake River spring/summer Chinook, threatened by four aging and outdated dams on the lower Snake River.

“We nominated Snake River chinook for this report because with climate change, these four money-losing dams become deadlier each summer, when reservoir water temperatures become lethally hot, causing fish kills” said Save Our Wild Salmon Inland Northwest Director Sam Mace.  “But if we free the Snake River of these dams, wild salmon will once again access thousands of miles of pristine, high-elevation habitat that can provide an ark for salmon in a warming world.”

Snake River Chinook salmon, are among the longest and highest-migrating salmon on the planet – often swimming 1,000 miles upstream and climbing more than 6,000 feet in elevation to reach their spawning grounds. More than 130 other species depend upon salmon, including orcas, bears and eagles.

“Since Northwest rivers began to flow, a population of orcas known as the Southern Residents have relied on Columbia basin salmon to sustain them.  Spring chinook that spawn in the Snake River basin are especially critical for survival of this unique and now endangered orca community.  Unfortunately, the lower Snake River dams have decimated this critical food source.  The impact these dams have on this precious, but dwindling, population of orcas, must be addressed.” said Howard Garrett, Board President of Orca Network.

Some of the species in the report, such as the Joshua tree and Elkhorn coral are foundational species, which play a critical role as building blocks for their ecosystems, but are threatened by global climate change.

Other critically important species in the report are keystone species, such as Hawaii’s yellow-faced bee, the jaguar, and the Snake River salmon. All keystone species have a disproportionately large impact on other species and ecosystems, relative to their abundance. For instance, Hawaii’s yellow-faced bee is a pollinator impacted by habitat loss.

The jaguar of the southwest United States is a keystone predator. It is particularly threatened by habitat fragmentation caused, in part, due to impenetrable immigration barriers along the U.S. – Mexican border. The report urges Mr. Trump to abandon plans to further fortify the southern border, and to make existing barriers more wildlife-friendly.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declined to list the greater sage grouse—an umbrella species—as endangered in 2014, citing an unprecedented region-wide habitat conservation effort, tied to state and federal conservation plans. However, several appropriations riders offered in Congress in 2016 would block implementation of these conservation plans, as well as any future Endangered Species Act protections for the imperiled bird. Meanwhile, grouse numbers have declined by 90 percent from historic levels. Protecting umbrella species like sage grouse conserves habitats on which many other species rely.

“Our native fish, plants and wildlife are critically valuable and part of the legacy we leave for future generations of Americans,” said Leda Huta, executive director of the Endangered Species Coalition. “We hope the next administration takes seriously its responsibility to protect endangered species and habitat. The fate of species is in their hands. Their actions could dictate whether species such as the vaquita, the red wolf, and others, become extinct in the wild.”

The remaining species featured in the Endangered Species Coalition’s report include the African elephant, Bald cypress tree, the wolf, and thevaquita – a small endangered Mexican porpoise.

Endangered Species Coalition member groups nominated wildlife species for the report. A committee of distinguished scientists reviewed the nominations, and decided which species should be included in the final report. The full report, along with links to photos and additional species information can be viewed and downloaded <http://removingthewallstorecovery.org/> from the website, http://removingthewallstorecovery.org<http://removingthewallstorecovery.org> .

The Endangered Species Coalition produces a “Top 10” report annually, focusing on a different theme each year. Previous years’ reports<http://www.endangered.org/campaigns/annual-top-ten-report> are also available on the Coalition’s website.

This report is a re-post from Sam Mace, Inland NW Director, Save Our Wild Salmon sam@wildsalmon.org


PGE Tests Biomass at Boardman Coal Plant -New Report Highlights Climate and Forest Consequences for Country’s Largest Biomass Proposal

December 20, 2016

On December 7th, 2016, we released a report analyzing a proposal from Portland General Electric (PGE) to convert the state’s last coal plant in Boardman, Oregon into one of the world’s largest biomass facilities. The report finds that the proposal may pose major implications for air quality, forest health, and carbon reduction goals. The Boardman Power Plant in northern Oregon is slated to retire in 2020. However, this month, staff are testing the plant’s capacity to run on woody material and energy crops. If the test succeeds, the Boardman plant could be converted to run on 100 percent forest biomass for 5 months of the year.

The new report demonstrates the likely implications if the conversion is made. Key findings include:

 An average biomass power facility emits 40-60% more carbon than coal plants do per megawatt hour of energy generated.

 Over 3.8 million tons of trees and woody material would be needed to operate the plant for 5 months a year. Despite claims by biomass advocates, waste feedstock levels are negligible when compared to the facility’s needs. Therefore, whole trees from public lands would constitute the majority of the feedstock needed.

 Over 800 trucks a day would be required to supply the Boardman facility during peak operation.

 PGE is growing a highly invasive species of giant cane as a feedstock. Arundo Donax causes major damage to ecosystems and watersheds and is opposed as a viable energy solution by dozens of environmental grboardman_coaloups.

“The retirement of the Boardman facility creates an opportunity to replace coal with clean energy like wind and solar, which would be in keeping with the landmark coal transition legislation passed in Oregon earlier this year,” said Rhett Lawrence, legislative director for the Oregon Sierra Club. “There is simply no need to turn our forests into fuel because cleaner energy alternatives are already at hand.”

 

Even though the carbon consequences of biomass are well established, Congress is currently considering legislation that would designate biomass energy as “carbon-neutral.” Just as oil, coal, and gas must be kept in the ground, if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, so too must trees be kept in the forest.


Tell State Lawmakers: Cancel the Elliot State Forest Sale

December 6, 2016

By Mike Allen

In one week the State Land Board will vote on whether to sell the oldest state forest in Oregon. The Elliott State Forest near Coos bay is home to several threatened or endangered species including Coho salmon, Pacific lamprey, spotted owl, and the vanishing marbeled murrelet. The murrelet nests high in large trees, and its decline is associated with old forest logging.

The State of Oregon has been frittering away the Elliott for years, selling pieces of it off to timber interests who have gone on to cut off public access and log some massive old trees. Just ten years ago it was 10,000 acres larger. Last year the Land Board decided to put the remaining 83,000 acres up for sale. The asking price of $220.8 million drew exactly one bid.

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The Terms of the Elliott Sale Shortchange Oregonian’s Future

Although the deal requires that the purchaser set aside 25% of the land for conservation, it does not specify which part of the land must be set aside. Nearly half of the Elliott is forest nearly 150 years old, with many older trees mixed in. Older trees, which are more economically valuable, could be harvested and younger stands allowed to age.

Only 50% of the land is required to be kept open to the public, and access could involve fees and other restrictions.

The harvest would only be required to produce forty new jobs over the next ten years.

Oregon Could do Better with the Elliott

Meanwhile, if no further harvests were to occur in the Elliott, it would be capable of storing about two thirds of the total carbon output of the state of Oregon, according to a 2010 analysis by ecotrust. This is just one of the many benefits with indirect but real economic impact that isn’t fully appreciated by the state’s analysis.

The Elliott is rugged terrain, with limited access. It has no trails and no official campgrounds. But for the intrepid and adventurous it holds big rewards: massive old growth trees, pristine creeks teaming with fish, deer and elk and the rarest of Western Oregon species. This is our last chance: if the Elliott is sold we will never get it back, and it will never be the same. Call Governor Brown, Secretary Atkins, and Treasurer Wheeler and tell them to save the save the Elliot, a priceless resource for all Oregonians.

Take Action to Save the Elliot State Forest:

Gov. Kate Brown – (503) 378-4582
Ted Wheeler – (503) 378-4329
Jeanne Atkins – (503) 986-1523

The Sierra Club Oregon Chapter will participate in a rally at the Keizer Civic Center at 9 am on December 13th to let lawmakers know how Oregonians feel about losing their wilderness heritage to private interests.  Details HERE!

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Rally for the Elliott State Forest

December 2, 2016

This is it! The Oregon Department of State Lands has received a bid that would see the Elliott State Forest sold to a private timber company and heavily logged. Our elected leaders, including Governor Kate Brown, Treasurer Ted Wheeler, and Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins have the opportunity to stop the privatization process and Save the Elliott.

Join public lands advocates from across Oregon for a rally before the State Land Board Meeting where our leaders could decide protect this public treasure. Plan to stick around and attend the meeting – sign up to testify to make sure your voice is heard!

CARPOOL INFORMATION:

From Eugene you can meet the Many Rivers Group at 7:45 near the bike bridge behind the Valley River Center (293 Valley River Center).

From Portland you can meet at 7:45 at Holladay City Park (NE 11th Ave). RSVP to staylor@audubonportland.org or go here: https://www.groupcarpool.com/t/v5hoju.

If you’d like to carpool from Coos Bay area please add yourself to this rideshare board: https://www.groupcarpool.com/t/6ua89y, or email savetheelliott@gmail.com.

 

More carpool info coming soon.

Wear green. Bring banners and signs. Save the Elliott!

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Rally for wild salmon!

November 29, 2016

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We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to restore wild salmon in the Pacific Northwest’s Columbia and Snake Rivers, once the greatest salmon rivers in the world. We can do this by removing four outdated and expensive dams on the lower Snake River. But we need your help.

Please RSVP to attend rallies and public meetings in The Dalles, Portland, and Astoria! Details below.

For nearly 20 years, in spite of multiple court rulings that have found their actions illegal, the federal agencies that own these salmon-killing dams have refused to fully evaluate removing them. That changed last May when a federal court judge directly ordered the agencies to develop a plan for dam operations that will restore our wild salmon — and directed them to specifically consider dam removal.

Now the agencies are seeking the public’s input on what they should do. For years scientists have said that removing the four deadly dams on the lower Snake is the single biggest step we can take to restore wild salmon to the river basin. Come out to a rally and public meeting in The Dalles, Portland, and Astoria.salmon

The time is now to remove the four outdated, low-value, deadbeat dams on the lower Snake River. If we free the Snake, we can save the salmon and bring about the biggest river restoration in history.

Rallies for Wild Salmon

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WHAT:   The Dalles Rally for Wild Salmon and to “Free the Snake!”
WHEN:     Tuesday, December 6, 2016 staring at 4 pm
WHERE:  Columbia Gorge Discovery Ctr., Downstairs Classroom
5000 Discovery Drive, The Dalles, OR 97058
(Use “West Side” door, follow signs for “Service Entrance”)
MAP:        https://goo.gl/maps/reimivTB6572
WHAT:     Salmon Reception and Speakers – Meet old and new friends. Socialize with river people.  Hear from scientists, advocates and the Native perspective.
4:00PM – Sunset welcome ceremony overlooking the Columbia River
5:00PM – Speakers & new short video by Nimiipuu – Protecting the Environment
6:00PM – Columbia River salmon and other light fare
7:30PM – Depart for pub after-meeting. Location TBD
Feds’ public meeting will be upstairs. Open until 7 pm.

WHAT:     Portland Rally for Wild Salmon and to “Free the Snake!”
WHEN:    Wednesday, December 7, 2016 starting at 4 pm
WHERE:  The Mezzanine in Spirit of 77
(directly across the street from the Convention Center)
500 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Portland, OR 97232
MAP:         https://goo.gl/maps/NwAqpg6hKc42
WHAT:     We’ll gather for a rally and speakers at 4 pm, then go together to the feds’ Public Meeting across the street. Afterward, we’ll return to the Spirit of 77 to celebrate!

WHAT:    Astoria Rally for Wild Salmon and to “Free the Snake!”
WHEN: Thursday, December 15th, 2016 – Public Hearings: From 4 pm to 7 pm. Salmon advocates will gather beforehand at 3:30 pm
WHERE: The Loft at the Red Building, Basin St., Astoria, OR.  Salmon advocates will gather at the Bridgewater Bistro in the Red Building at 3:30 pm for a rally.
WHY: To meet up with fellow salmon and river advocates and show strong support for healthy rivers and salmon. Members of the public concerned about wild salmon restoration are encouraged to attend. Please share with your friends and family and encourage others to come. Just like wild salmon – more is better!
Read the rest of this entry »


On Replanting

November 17, 2016

Imagine that you were told by your neighbor that he was going to tear down your house, rip out your plumbing, (and spray you with a blend of chemicals (something we won’t get into here). In response to your protests, he just calmly told you not to worry: “Oregon law requires that I rebuild it.”

There is plenty to criticize about how private and state-owned forests are managed in Oregon. Among the common ways that people defend our weak logging rules is by pointing out that we “replant”—that replanting recently clearcut areas is mandatory by law and so clearcuts aren’t actually damaging our forest landscape.

This is an amazing suggestions. Yes, to some people, businesses, and hedge fund managers, forests are only a crop. Something to be grown, chopped down, and replanted. But that is missing most of what forests actually provide: water & air filtration, fish & wildlife habitat, places to play and find peace, and physical structures that keep our slopes intact and prevent flooding and drought. When we clearcut a forest parcel, we lose or significantly damage all of these functions for many many years.

A clearcut and replanted forest parcel releases CO2 for at least the first 15 years. It does not help to slow climate change. The notion that CO2 is stored in wood products forever is highly dubious. Studies indicate that a large portion (most?) of CO2 is released from the wood during logging, milling, and processing. So, replanting does not help with the climate.

Fish & wildlife rely on forests for innumerable habitat qualities. Many of these qualities are instantly lost during clearcutting and others—water quality and temperature—can be compromised in the short and long-term. This is analogous to a person having their home demolished and their plumbing ripped out. Yes, a refugee may be taken in by his/her family or might find another temporary home, but we can all very easily imagine the problems this creates. Can you imagine dealing with this scenario for 40+ years while your home is rebuilt? Even FEMA does better than that!

When a hillside is clearcut, it can take a handful of years before root structures decompose. However, once that decomposition takes place, it becomes appartent that clearcutting has adverse affects on slope stability. Clearcuts can increase the likelihood of landslides—bad for water quality, bad for roads, and bad for human safety. Again, it may take 40 years to rebuild those stabilizing root systems which keep our hillsides intact.

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Perhaps most importantly, replanting in the style of industrial logging lands is not an effort to restore forests. It is an agricultural practice whereby monoculture plantations of densely packed doug fir dominate the landscape. This may be prudent for short-term financial gain, but it does not provide the types of resilient, diverse, healthy forests that we need.

Replanting may be better than not replanting. But let’s not kid ourselves by pretending that we can destroy our forests at any rate we so choose so long as we follow Oregon’s replanting law. Anyone who tries to defend Oregon’s forest laws by relying on the fact that we replant, is being deceived or deceitful.

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