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planet makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies.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

Report | Environment Oregon Research and Policy Center

More Wind, Less Warming

Wind power is on the rise across America. The United States generates 24 times more electricity from wind power than we did in 2001, providing clean, fossil fuel-free energy that helps the nation do its part in the fight against global warming.

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News Release | Environment Oregon

Environmental groups deliver 8 millionth comment to clean up power plants

Washington, DC--   As the public comment period on the Clean Power Plan closes today, Environment Oregon joined colleagues across the country to deliver a symbolic “8 millionth” comment supporting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards to reduce carbon pollution from power plants. 

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News Release | Environment Oregon

Oregon Attorney General Defends EPA Action on Climate

On Monday evening, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum joined 13 additional states and the District of Columbia to stand up for new EPA regulations on global warming pollution. The attorneys general jointly filed a brief with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, defending EPA against an attack launched by Murray Energy Corporation, a coal-mining company.

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Blog Post

Environment Oregon Benefit Concert | Rikki Seguin

This November, Environment Oregon is teaming up with a local group of composers, Portland's Crazy Jane Composers, who are holding their annual concert to benefit our work. The concert will explore a variety of musical responses to campaigns that Environment Oregon is working on. The compositions include various combinations of voice, violin, electronics, piano, flute, and much more, performed by some of the top performers in the region.

For this concert, we hope that our collaboration with the crazy Jane Composers will inspire a heightened awareness of the responsibility to care for our planet. Their music will celebrate the beauty of nature and support positive action to protect the earth for future generations. As promoters of this year’s concert, Environment Oregon and Crazy Jane Composers will share any profits.

The benefit concert will be held at Portland State University's Lincoln Hall on Friday, November 14th at 7:30 pm. 

You can get your tickets in advance here.

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News Release | Environment Oregon

Oregon’s rivers see progress due to Clean Water Act Advocates, businesses, students call for more “waterways restored”

OREGON- On the heels of the 42nd anniversary of the Clean Water Act, a new report tells the story of how the bedrock environmental law has helped to restore and protect the Willamette River. Once so polluted that salmon fingerlings placed in the river died within 15 minutes, the Willamette is on its way back to health, thanks in part to enforcement of water quality standards required by the Clean Water Act. Today, after 20 years of effort, the volume of sewage overflows to the river has been cut by 94 percent, allowing Oregonians to once again swim in the Willamette.

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