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makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies.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

Local voices unite for forest protection in Oregon

Today, community members in Ashland and Eugene came together to announce critical disapproval of recent legislation to open up Oregon’s forests to increased logging. Environment Oregon, a statewide, citizen-based environment advocacy organization, joined a local business owner to release a factsheet in both cities documenting the risks of increased logging in Oregon’s backyard forests. Speakers used the new Environment Oregon factsheet, titled “Top Risks of Increased Logging in our Forests,” to highlight the negative effects of increased logging—not only on wildlife and the environment, but also on the outdoor recreation industry.

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News Release | Environment Oregon

Logging Bill Puts Wildlife Habitat, Drinking Water at Risk

Today, Senator Ron Wyden introduced the O&C Land Grant Act of 2013, legislation that decreases critical environmental protections for over a million acres of Oregon’s public forests to promote increased logging. This bill comes on the tails of HR 1526, a controversial logging bill which passed the House of Representatives on September 20, 2013. In response to Sen. Wyden’s proposal, Rikki Seguin, Environment Oregon’s Conservation Advocate released the following statement.

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News Release | Environment Oregon

City Council session packed with bag ban supporters

On Monday night, Ashland citizens and local businesses came together to call of the Ashland City Council to ban plastic bags. As City Councilors discussed the opportunity to ban plastic bags in Ashland, community members packed the room to capacity, so much so that extra chairs needed to be brought in from other meeting rooms. 

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News Release | Environment Oregon

Governor Kitzhaber Makes Historic Commitment to Fight Global Warming

Portland, OR – Last week, Gov. Kitzhaber joined with governors from Washington and California, as well as the premier of British Columbia, to sign the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy. Charlie Fisher, Environment Oregon’s field organizer, released the following statement:

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News Release | Environment Oregon

Secretary Sally Jewell Makes Commitment to Conservation

Environment Oregon thanks Secretary Jewell for publicly committing to ensure that our parks have the resource they need to stay open to the public and to stand up for and protect our pristine public landscapes that deserve protection. 

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