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makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies.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

Oregon Comes In 6th in First-Ever Ranking of States on Ocean Protection

Oregon ranks sixth in working to protect state ocean waters, according to a report released today by Environment Oregon, the Marine Conservation Institute and Mission Blue.  The SeaStates report is the first national ranking of coastal states’ efforts to protect their ocean waters with ‘no-take’ Marine Protected Areas, the best tool to help oceans thrive.

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News Release | Environment Oregon

Summer Hikes to the Proposed Crater Lake Wilderness

The Crater Lake WIlderness coalition wishes Crater Lake National Park a happy 111th birthday today. It was on this date in 1902 President Theodore Roosevelt signed into law Crater Lake as the nation's fifth National Park. While Crater Lake may be Oregon's only National Park, what a park it is. With hiking season upon us and summer just around the corner, today's anniversary is the perfect time to announce our summer calendar of hikes and outings to the proposed Crater Lake Wilderness. These hikes, along with a service trip and photography workshop, are not only intended as social outings and a chance to stretch your legs in some of the most scenic terrain in Southern Oregon, but also as a means to highlight the natural gems in the greater Crater Lake region proposed for Wilderness protection.

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News Release | Environment Oregon

Senator Vitter Does Polluters’ Bidding in Boycotting Gina McCarthy’s Confirmation to Head EPA

Today, Senator Vitter (R-LA) and other Republican senators on the U.S. Senate Committee for Environment and Public Works boycotted a scheduled committee vote to move Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Nominee Gina McCarthy’s confirmation to the full Senate, thus delaying her confirmation. Sarah Higginbotham, State Director with Environment Oregon, issued the following statement in response

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News Release | Environment Oregon

8 out of 10 Oregonians Live in Areas Hit by Recent Weather Disasters

After yet another year in which many parts of the country were hit by scorching heat, devastating wildfires, crippling drought, record floods and severe storms like Hurricane Sandy, a new Environment America Research & Policy Center report finds that weather-related disasters are affecting hundreds of millions of Americans, and documents how global warming could lead to certain extreme weather events becoming even more common or more severe in the future.

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Report | Environment Oregon Research and Policy Center

In the Path of the Storm

After yet another year in which many parts of the country were hit by scorching heat, devastating wildfires, crippling drought, record floods and severe storms like Hurricane Sandy, a new Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center report finds that weather-related disasters are affecting hundreds of millions of Americans, and documents how global warming could lead to certain extreme weather events becoming even more common or more severe in the future.

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