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makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies.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

Crater Lake Wilderness Slideshow Debuts in Portland

This Thursday, March 29th in Portland, Environment Oregon and The Wild on Wilderness Committee of Umpqua Watersheds will jointly present a free slideshow showcasing the Crater Lake Wilderness proposal to create a nearly 500,000 acre, 75-mile wildlife corridor.  The show begins at 7 PM at the Sellwood Public House.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Oregon

Obama Administration to Protect Americans’ Health by Setting Carbon Pollution Standards for New Power Plants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed historic new limits on carbon pollution from new power plants. Sarah Higginbotham, Environment  Oregon’s State Director issued the following statement in response to today’s announcement: “Today’s proposal from the Obama administration is an historic step in protecting Oregonians’ health and our environment."
 

> Keep Reading
Headline

OP-ED: Policies plug into electric vehicle future

As environmental and consumer advocacy groups, we are excited about the benefits electric vehicles can create in our state. This is exactly the right direction for Oregon, already a leader in clean technology. Here in Oregon, we can encourage the development and use of technology that enables the charging of electric vehicles with 100 percent renewable energy, so they generally can be zero-emissions vehicles and not powered by an energy mix that includes dirty fossil fuels.

> Keep Reading
Headline

Eugene City Council Takes On Plastic Bag Ban

Eugene's city council could vote soon to ban the use of plastic bags. More than 60 local businesses support this ban on plastic. "Oregonians use on average about 500 plastic bags a year," said Environment Oregon Director Sarah Higginbotham. Activists say because Eugene is the second largest city in Oregon, banning the use of plastic carry-out bags could make a significant difference to the environment.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Oregon

Over 80 Local Businesses and Mayor Piercy Endorse Eugene Bag Ban

Local businesses announced their support of a plastic bag ban this morning, including over 60 local independent businesses and 15 major grocery stores. Joined by Mayor Kitty Piercy and supporters, Environment Oregon announced broad businesses support for the proposed ban at a press conference at Hummingbird Wholesale in downtown Eugene.

> Keep Reading

Pages

View AllRSS Feed