Portland, OR– July 30, 2015– The Fennica, Shell Oil’s damaged ice-breaker, began to move at 5:45 a.m. from the dock where it was being repaired for a damaged hull and was successfully turned back by a blockade of Greenpeace activists hanging from the St. John’s Bridge –which was closed to traffic–and Climate Action Coalition kayaktivists on the water.
As reporters began to speculate on whether the protesters had a plan B, Daphne Wysham said “There is no Plan B, just as there is no Planet B; we have no intention of moving until President Obama rescinds the permit for Shell to drill in the Arctic.”
“On the hottest day in Portland, OR in two years, activists are prepared to stay as long as required,” said Nick Caleb, an attorney with Our Children’s Trust. “We are doing this for the children and for future generations to come. Shell cannot take their future away.”
Dozens of local and regional activist were on alert and greeted the MSV Fennica upon its arrival around 3 a.m. on Saturday, July 25. The vigil at Cathedral Park began Monday on the banks of the Willamette River in anticipation of the icebreaker’s departure. Hundreds of protesters in kayaks and boats circled beneath the bridge throughout the first two days and nights of the departure vigil. Then, in the early hours of Wednesday morning, the kayaktivists were joined by 13 Greenpeace protesters who rappelled from the St. Johns Bridge, creating an aerial blockade. On Thursday morning, the MSV Fennica was successfully turned back by the blockades.
On Thursday afternoon, climate justice activist Jonah Majure, locked himself to a Burlington Northern rail bridge in NE Portland to further prevent the Fennica from leaving Portland. The bridge represents a choke point in the ship’s route because it must raise in order for the ship to depart Portland. Jonah vowed to stay locked to the bridge until he was forcibly removed or until “workers on MSV Fennica, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, Oregon Governor Kate Brown or President Obama assert their power to put an end to Shell’s plans to drill in the Arctic”.
Portland police began arresting the bridge climbers Thursday afternoon. After the cops cleared four climbers in the center of the bridge, kayaktivists took the waters below. They were also arrested and detained by police and Coast Guard troops in a reckless melee endangering activists on the water as an estimated 500 people onshore chanted “Stop that Ship!” Just before 6 pm, the MSV Fennica passed beneath the nine remaining protesters hanging from the St. Johns Bridge on its journey toward the further destruction and desecration of sacred Arctic waters.
Popular resistance will continue to grow against Arctic and off-shore oil drilling, tar sands extraction, LNG exports, fracking, and the fossil fuel economy driving our planet toward annihilation at an exponential rate. Old alliances are becoming stronger and new alliances are forming in the war to save our planet. Join us!
Donate to Portland Rising Tide’s Legal Defense Fund for Jonah, Sunny, Tim, and other dedicated activists.
PORTLAND, OR—A Portland Rising Tide activist today blockaded a Royal Dutch Shell icebreaker, the MSV Fennica, from departing Portland after receiving repairs. The Fennica is part of Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet. Without key safety equipment carried by the vessel, Shell cannot finish experimental drilling in the Arctic. This action expanded the blockade opposition to Shell and Arctic drilling. Organizers hope to spark further direct action to avert local and global devastation from oil spills and climate change.
Climate justice activist Jonah Majure, a settler resident of Portland in occupied Multnomah land locked himself by the neck to a Burlington Northern rail bridge in NE Portland to further prevent the Fennica from leaving Portland. The bridge represents a choke point in the Fennica’s route because it must raise in order for the ship to depart Portland. Any attempt to raise the bridge with Jonah still attached would threaten his life. Jonah vowed to stay locked to the bridge until he is forcibly removed or until workers on MSV Fennica, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, Oregon Governor Kate Brown or President Obama assert their power to put an end to Shell’s plans to drill in the Arctic.
In preparation for his lockdown, Jonah accepted the personal risk, acknowledging, “This action was made necessary by the recklessness of so-called authorities complicit in the destruction of colonized indigenous land. I’m acting in solidarity with Indigenous communities around the world who are on the front lines of resource extraction on stolen lands. It’s time for the climate movement to move beyond individual issues and start looking at the greater systems of oppression like colonialism, racism and sexism that are destroying people and the planet.” He urges every individual and organization with the power to disrupt the extraction and transport of hydrocarbon fuels to act in solidarity with those defending their ancestral lands and livelihoods: “Our only hope of preventing catastrophic climate change and the genocide of Northern native peoples is to immediately halt all fossil fuel development.”
Global scientists have warned that at least 80% of known fossil fuel reserves must remain unburned to avoid catastrophic global warming. Shell’s business venture to expand its oil reserves flies in the face of local and global attempts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Organizers are hoping the blockade and other actions against the Fennica will delay Arctic drilling and put pressure on local and national leaders to cease fossil fuel developments.
Biologist Carl Wassilie of the Yupiaq Nation in colonized Alaska, agreed: “Shell is violating the peace and security of humankind in the Arctic, continuing on the destructive path of putting indigenous peoples at extreme risk in an already rapidly changing climate. The policies of exploitation of the Arctic Ocean by the United States allowing international criminals, like Shell, not only go against hundreds of Alaska Tribal Governments resolutions opposed to offshore oil and gas activities; but go against Pope Francis’ Encyclical to end exploitative economic systems. The Pope calls on global society to ensure Reverence and Respect for Mother Earth. The human rights violations by the U.S. allowing Shell to drill into the Chukchi Sea infringes on the legal and moral obligation of society to protect and defend Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic.”
Battles with Shell over Arctic drilling in Portland and Seattle are seen by activists as an opening round of #FloodTheSystem—a continent-wide upsurge of grassroots disruption of the fossil fuel economy and all systems of oppression planned through December. As Jonah emphasized, “We cannot meaningfully address the climate crisis while leaving in place the systems of colonialism, white supremacy, patriarchy, and out of control capitalism.”
For breaking updates, follow @pdxrisingtide, #FloodTheSystem, #ShellNo, and #PDXvsShell
For live interviews in Portland, around the clock, contact: Daphne Wysham, Center for Sustainable Economy: 202-510-3541 or 503-657-7336; Ken Ward, Lobster Boat Blockade, 503-504-3534; or Maya Jarrad, 350PDX: 802-598-2402; Nick Caleb, Our Children’s Trust, 541-891-676; Meredith Cocks, Portland Rising Tide, 703-994-6359.
(Portland, OR) The Fennica, Shell Oil’s damaged ice-breaker, began to move at 5:45 a.m. from the dock where it was being repaired for a damaged hull and was met with a blockade from Greenpeace activists hanging from the St. John’s Bridge –which was closed to traffic–and Climate Action Coalition kayaktivists on the water.
As reporters began to speculate on whether the protesters had a plan B, Daphne Wysham said “There is no Plan B, just as there is no Planet B; we have no intention of moving until President Obama rescinds the permit for Shell to drill in the Arctic.”
“On the hottest day in Portland, OR years, in two years, activists are prepared to stay as long as required,” said Nick Caleb, an attorney with Our Children’s Trust. “We are doing this for the children and for future generations to come. Shell cannot take their future away.”
The 24-hour vigil at Cathedral Park in Portland, OR, began on July 27 on the banks of the Willamette River in anticipation of the MSV Fennica’s departure. Once the Fennica departs, Shell plans to commence drilling in the Arctic. The Department of Interior has stated that there is a 75 percent chance of an oil spill in the Arctic once drilling commences, a spill which experts say would be virtually impossible to clean up, posing unacceptable risks to indigenous peoples and the marine environment. Shell is proposing to commence drilling in this untouched region—thanks to rapidly melting ice in the Arctic due to climate change– at a time when NASA’s former top climate scientist says we may see at least 10 feet of sea level rise by 2050.
“Scientists tell us we can’t drill in the Arctic if we want to avoid dangerous climate change and sea level rise that threatens three-quarters of the Earth’s major cities in the next few decades. Nevertheless, Shell is putting its corporate profits ahead of the future of the planet and preparing to drill in a region where an oil spill cannot be cleaned up. Portland kayaktivists are the last phalanx of resistance to this insanity,” said Daphne Wysham, director of the Climate and Energy Program at the Center for Sustainable Economy in Portland, OR.
“In Portland and across the Northwest, we have the unique opportunity and responsibility to act as a chokepoint in the transport of dirty coal, oil, and gas. For years, Portland has demonstrated powerful resistance to the shipping of coal and oil by rail, as well as tar sands mining equipment by road. We view the arrival of Shell’s icebreaker in Portland as another chance to disrupt new oil development and demonstrate that any and all new fossil fuel exploration and extraction is an unacceptable risk to our climate and future,” said Meredith Cox of Portland Rising Tide.
“Scientists are sounding the alarm, telling us we need to keep most of our known fossil fuel reserves in the ground. This makes Shell’s extreme extraction adventure in the Arctic the definition of insanity. We’re talking about putting humanity, our entire planet’s livability at extreme risk. Portland is going to be taking a stand to say, ‘Shell No!’ We’re here fighting for humanity against the most wealthy and powerful industry in human history, but we’re not afraid, because everything we love and value in life is on the line,” said Maya Jarrad with 350PDX.
Have you heard the news? We’re making waves! Thanks again to all of you who signed our successful petition in opposition to Pembina’s proposed propane terminal: It’s all about taking on the fossil fuel industry here in our city. Last time, it was Pembina. This time, it’s Shell. And we need you!
Join us at Cathedral Park in Portland on Tuesday to oppose Shell Oil’s destructive Arctic drilling operations. We have just learned that Shell’s icebreaker is leaving Wednesday morning; We will launch a kayak “floatilla” vigil to stop Shell’s newly-repaired icebreaker from leaving the port. An on-water and on-land vigil will help share the message that we hold our water, land, air, and stories to be more sacred than profits from destructive energy extraction.
Where: Cathedral Park, North Portland. Boat ramp is at the end of N Baltimore Ave, on the North side of the park.
When: Tuesday July 28th, Starting at noon, lasting until the ship leaves (and hopefully keeping it there!)
Connect with us to get real time information about the Fennica’s arrival and actions:
Join the rapid response network. Text @sHellNOPDX to 23559 to join the rapid response network and receive text updates on actions
Follow our Twitter feed at #PDXvsShell, #Floodthesystem and #ShellNo.
“Kayaktivists” and other protesters opposed to Shell Oil’s destructive Arctic drilling operations will mount a kayak flotilla protest in Portland, OR, Saturday, July 25, with the expected arrival of the Shell fleet’s damaged icebreaker, the Fennica, earlier in the day.
The “PDX vs. Shell” action will take place at the Swan Island boat ramp on the end of North Basin Ave. beginning at 3 p.m. July 25. The flotilla of kayaks and other boats will launch at 4 p.m. This is a legal action and family-friendly event. The protest is sponsored by Climate Action Coalition, 350 PDX and Portland Rising Tide.
The Fennica is arriving in Portland from Alaska for repairs to a damaged hull. It is scheduled to return to the Arctic in a few days where it will act as the ice-breaking ship for Shell oil drilling rigs and its support fleet, allowing Shell to commence delayed drilling operations off the Alaska coast.
Carbon emissions from fossil fuels are warming the Arctic faster than the rest of the globe, and the Arctic Ocean is rapidly becoming ice-free. The International Energy Agency warns that over two-thirds of all proven fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground by 2050 to avert catastrophic climate disruption. In January, the journal Nature reported that to maintain even a 50% chance of avoiding catastrophic global warming (beyond 2°C), there can be no drilling for Arctic oil. Nevertheless, Shell Oil is now exploring for oil in the Arctic with the permission of President Obama.
In a newly released study NASA’s former top climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen, says that with a 2°C temperature increase sea levels could rise at least 10 feet as soon as the middle years of this century, inundating coastal cities and even reaching inland cities such as Portland. With 10 feet of sea level rise, the dry dock where the Fennica is scheduled to be repaired would be underwater.
This drilling also poses huge risks for local marine ecosystems The Arctic is a vital breeding and feeding ground for marine life, and home to numerous indigenous peoples who rely on a healthy marine environment for their survival. Offshore Arctic oil operations pose a 75 percent chance of a spill in the Arctic, the Department of the Interior calculates. The best expert opinion is that a spill would be virtually impossible to clean up.
Professional photos, interviews and a livestream video of the various actions on July 25 will be available to the press upon request. Follow our Twitter feeds at #PDXvsShell, #Floodthesystem and #ShellNo.
Join 350PDX, Rising Tide and the Climate Action Coalition To Oppose Arctic Oil Drilling!
The MSV Fennica–an icebreaker chartered by Shell– sustained damage on its voyage north and is scheduled for repairs at Vigor Industrial Shipyard in North Portland. The ship is a critical to Shell being able to drill this season.
WHEN: Meet at 3:00pm. We will launch the flotilla by 4:00pm and expect to be on the water roughly an hour.
WHERE: We will launch from the Swan Island Boat ramp, at the end of N Basin Ave.
Address for GPS: 5367 N Basin Ave., Portland, OR 97217
Transit: Bus 72, Stop ID 3315, at N. Lagoon & N. Anchor Sts. Then walk 1/2 mile north on Anchor St. and west on N. Basin Ave.
Parking: The parking lot at the Boat Dock will fill up, so come early and car-pool. A secondary parking lot will be available after the driver drops off passengers and kayaks, etc.
WHAT: Please bring your kayak, canoe or SUP. We are working hard to have boats available for rental (by donation). However, PLEASE NOTE if you do not bring your own boat we cannot guarantee you a boat. Bring a life jacket if you plan on boating. Also, bring a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, drinking water.
On July 22, the Obama Administration gave its final stamp of approval to Shell Oil’s application to drill the Arctic. The Department of Interior analysis indicates a 75% chance of an Arctic Oil Spill during Shell’s 77-year lease.
It seems like just about every week Portland is receiving some sort of new award or recognition for sustainability. We certainly built up a legacy of ecological awareness early-on. Tom McCall, our republican governor in the 60’s and 70’s, advocated for protecting the Commons and cleaning up our watersheds and airsheds. Portland was also ahead of other cities in the West in its commitment to smart urban planning and transportation justice. It only makes sense that Portland is ground zero for the climate fight, but maybe not for the reasons one would think.
While we’ve been told by City Hall and the media that we’ve already won the struggle for a greener future here in Portland, the reality is even more twisted and dangerous than the fossil fuel metropolises of Calgary or Houston. While the dream of Little Beirut fades to the parody of Portlandia and the people trade their banners and blockades for hybrid cars and LEED-certified condos, the fossil fuel industry has found a way to entrench itself in our own communities without the public’s knowledge, consent, or resistance.
The list is exhausting and in progress, but we must understand how deep the fossil fuel industry has embedded itself to our city so we can deconstruct the system that empowers them to profit off violence against us all.
Companies like ESCO and Precision Castparts make their profits off creating the drill bits and wearable parts for physically destroying the Earth through tar sands, fracking, and mountaintop removal. Precision Castparts also profits off wars by building parts designed kill for access to fossil fuel control around the world.
HDR and CH2M Hill build the terminals, refineries, and other infrastructure projects that move fossil fuels from the ground to market. After the land and water is inevitably contaminated by their own projects, they win massive no-bid government contracts to clean up their own mess with taxpayer dollars.
And many companies directly move fossil fuels through Portland, often to be burned in Asia. Arc Logistics operates a 1.5 million-barrel capacity crude oil terminal, accepting oil trains from fracked and tar sands sources and ships it down the Willamette. Canadian company Pembina is planning on building a $500 million propane-by-rail export terminal from fracked oil and gas. The proposed site sits in an environmental protection area across from West Hayden Island, which will be hearing testimony on June 4th for a code change to allow for more fossil fuel facilities along our already-polluted rivers. And Kinder-Morgan, currently waging a war against the city of Burnaby over a massive and illegal tar sands pipeline on unceded First Nations land, is operating two petroleum terminals on the banks of the Willamette.
And of course, all of these businesses continue to directly pollute our air and watersheds right here in Portland on top of doing the same to frontline communities at all points of extraction and transportation. And their contributions to climate change threatens the existence of the vast majority of species on Earth, including our own.
To make matters worse, these industries receive subsidies, tax breaks, and loopholes that steal millions from the public while forcing us taxpayers to foot the bill for their environmental destruction. Accounting firms like Moss-Adams LLP specialize in helping these businesses figure out how to receive the most corporate welfare possible while also hiding their profits in tax havens overseas.
Most people don’t realize how entrenched the fossil fuel industry is in Portland. In fact, without Portland’s contributions, the fossil fuel industry and extraction would likely cease to function in its current capacity. But if we are such a sustainable city, and our government is truly passionate about fighting climate change, why aren’t they doing everything they can to shut these businesses down and strengthening our Climate Action Plan to recognize global impact on emissions?
Our local government and business institutions are supporting the fossil fuel industry from extraction to combustion, but they have greenwashed their image to make it consistent with the ideals of “Green” Capitalism. Portland has actually become a leader in creative branding and marketing, which includes the greenwashing of corporate polluters. Local public relations firms spin and obfuscate the facts on polluters while promising nothing more than “Jobs” that will apparently end our need for safe air, water, and food. PR firms like Gard Communications, Gallatin Public Affairs, Edelman, and CFM Communications are representing coal, oil, and gas terminals while simultaneously getting contracts from local institutions like Portland State, OPB, the Timbers, OnPoint Credit Union, and Travel Oregon.
Even institutions that are supposed to represent the interests of the environment and the community are playing a role in greenwashing the fossil fuel industry. SOLVE, one of Oregon’s largest environmental non-profits that was started by Tom McCall himself, gets volunteers to clean up litter and remove invasive species. However, the Board of Directors is almost entirely made up of members of the fossil fuel industry and Wall Street. Their Board of Directors then hands out sustainability leadership awards to themselves so their corporations can advertise their green credentials. The work of committed community members who volunteer to plant native species is then turned around to promote the same companies that pollute our air, water, and climate far beyond their role in putting a bandaid on the problem. With their brands on full display at all of SOLVE’s events, environmental stewardship is nothing more than a minor marketing investment to these companies that would destroy the entire planet for wealth.
This branding of a Green® Portland allows the fossil fuel industry to continue unobstructed and invigorated while innovating new marketing strategies as more communities around the world resist the fossil fuel industry. In Portland, we have dozens of companies that profit off extraction, transport, and consumption of fossil fuels while our elected officials do nothing to address the environmental, social, and economic costs to Portlanders as part of their operations.
Industry groups lobby our elected officials for tax breaks, subsidies, and permits to pollute our air and water. One group, the Association of Oregon Industries consists of a broad range of fossil fuel interests, Wall Street banks, timber companies that tear down our carbon-storing forests, and even the Koch Brothers.
Our city council is bought by the fossil fuel industry they claim to oppose, while they simultaneously praise their role in our community. Charlie Hales went through the revolving door to HDR and Dan Saltzman worked for CH2M Hill. Mayor Hales and Commissioner Dan Saltzman have accepted tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the local fossil fuel industry and subsequently support their operations, including Fossil Fuel Charlie Hales investing $20 million of our city money in Exxon. Even Steve Novick’s largest donor is Greenbrier Cos. This is all in spite of City Council’s strong history of repeating rhetoric about climate justice.
Portland is a city with a legacy of ecological consciousness and its residents have been lied to. Right now we are the choke point for fossil fuel movements in Cascadia. Coal, oil, and gas are coming down the Columbia and right through our communities while an entire industry profits from extraction to combustion. With all current and proposed fossil fuel terminals South of the US border, Cascadia could transport five times as much carbon into the atmosphere as the Keystone XL, sealing our fate to climate catastrophe. If the fossil fuel industry can thrive in Portland through greenwashing and deceit, then they can continue elsewhere to extract and send profits to the wealthiest 1%. This new “Green” Capitalism is just as destructive as the old and with just as many marginalized communities as before.
But we need action now to physically stop the extraction, transport, and consumption of fossil fuels. We need to build solidarity across all communities within our city, our bioregion, and around the planet. A growing resistance is building against the fossil fuel industry in Portland with the Climate Action Coalition: environmental and social justice groups unified to participate in civil disobedience and direct action to stop the climate catastrophe. Climate change and the systems of oppression that cause it are the biggest threat to humanity that has ever existed, a threat that has been created by a wealthy elite in the name of profit and it’s our time to rise up at resist.
Faith, environmental and community members blocked the tracks into an oil transfer and storage facility in NW Portland for an hour Monday morning. Portland’s Climate Action Coalition sponsored the blockade at Arc Logistics for a memorial service on the two-year anniversary of the oil train derailment that killed 47 people in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec.
The 60 participants in the memorial service held signs with the name and age of each person who died from the derailment’s massive explosion, which destroyed more than three dozen buildings in the Lac-Mégantic downtown. The unattended runaway train derailed and two dozen oil cars exploded in the middle of the night on July 6, 2013. The disaster is the most deadly explosion so far of oil from the new fracking development in North Dakota’s Bakken field, which holds an especially volatile mixture of oil and gas. Bakken oil is now regularly moved through Portland and Southern Washington.
For the unprecedented memorial blockade, Reverend Kate Lore, social justice minister at First Unitarian Church, Reverend Jayna Gieber of People of the Heart, and community organizer Bonnie McKinlay spoke to honor the lives lost in Lac-Mégantic and to call attention to the safety risks and climate damage created by the fossil fuel industry.
The Climate Action Coalition staged the memorial at Arc Logistics to call attention to the local and global risks from oil trains and climate change. “It’s corporate greed versus the common good, whether its rail safety or climate change,” said long time activist Lowen Berman. Today’s action coincides with others across the United States and Canada for “The Oil Train Week of Action,” a project sponsored by Forest Ethics and 350.org.
Oil trains travel weekly through North Portland to get to Arc Logistics. The Climate Action Coalition is calling for an end to fossil fuel development and an immediate transition to a renewable energy and an economy that values people and planet over profit.
After the memorial, activists with PDX Bike Swarm and PDX Valkyries unfurled a banner on top of a parked oil car reading, “We Remember Lac Mégantic, July 6, 2013 #SolidaritéMégantic #StopOilTrains.”
More photos from this action:
Photos: Kudos and deep thanks to Rick Rappaport, Gregory Sotir, Mia Reback, Ted Gleichman, and Victoria
Union Member Risks Arrest at Arc Logistics, Opposes Trans-Pacific Partnership and Fossil Fuel Exports
Portland, OR. Tim Norgren of Stevenson, WAand Laborers International Union of North Americamember is locked to a barrel at Arc Logistics Partners’ Portland Terminal to draw a clear connection between fossil fuel exports and trade agreements like the TPP, and to call for action to put a stop to both. Tim is supported by the climate justice group Portland Rising Tide.
The crowd is gathered at Arc Logistics to support Tim and draw the connections between existing & proposed fossil fuel infrastructure and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a secretive trade deal being pushed by many politicians including Democrats Senator Wyden, Representative Blumenauer, Representative Bonamici, and President Obama. Many environmental and labor groups oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on the grounds that it is written and promoted by the fossil fuel industry and American Legislative Exchange Council, gives multinational corporations more rights than communities here in the US, sends jobs overseas, and jeopardizes worker and environmental protections around the Pacific Rim.
The AFL-CIO opposes the TPP and is holding a rally today at 4:30pm at the Sentinel Hotel to tell President Obama, who is in Portland to speak on trade agreements, to stand up for workers and the environment. “I’m locked down today in part because climate change is an issue of survival inextricably linked to so-called ‘free trade’ globalization efforts like the TPP. While many of us strongly appreciate President Obama’s willingness to bring the climate crisis into the national debate, he has been unwilling to connect major fossil fuel exports to the TPP or veto the Keystone XL pipeline,” said Tim Norgren.
With proposals by major Alberta Tar Sands investor Pembina Pipeline Corporation for a propane (derived from fracked gas in Alberta, Canada) export terminal in Portland, the Jordan Cove Natural Gas terminal proposed in Coos Bay, a proposed natural gas terminal in Warrenton, as well as already-operating Arc Logistics and Port Westward oil-by-rail terminals, Oregonians are concerned that the Trans Pacific Partnership will promote more export terminals, send domestic energy overseas to fuel jobs in countries with lower workers’ rights standards, and hasten climate change. At a time when scientists tell us we need to leave most fossil fuels in the ground to prevent disastrous climate change and runaway global warming, this is completely unacceptable.
Tim hopes this action will send a message to union leaders and politicians alike that everyday workers want sustainable jobs. “I’m also taking this action to let my union, the Laborers International Union of North America, know that it has rank and file members who are willing to stand up not only for prevailing wage contracts, but for the survival and rights of all workers, rather than support those who would see minimum wage remain at poverty levels while jobs are freely outsourced to foreign factories with subsistence wages and no safety or emissions standards whatsoever. All they offer us in return is a chance to build infrastructure for an economy based on environmentally destructive resource extraction, and that’s just not sustainable.”
People gathered today at Arc Logistics spoke about being inspired by resistance from other communities in the Pacific Northwest, and hope that local governments can be leaders in stopping fossil fuel exports. “In Seattle, the Mayor recently took a strong stance against Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet and hopes to stop drilling in the Arctic entirely. We can only hope Mayor Hales will do the same, reverse course, say no to the Pembina propane export terminal and begin the process of dismantling all current fossil fuel infrastructure in Portland,” said Rising Tide organizer Jonah Majure.
Portland Rising Tide will be hosting a legal defense fundraiser for Tim at 7:30 pm on May 22nd at Ecotrust (721 NW 9th Ave, Portland OR).
What follows is the March 25, 2015 testimony of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation at a public hearing on HB 5018 in front the Joint SubCommittee on Natural Resources in Salem. HB 5018 will specify the budget for the DEQ for the next biennium starting July 1, 2015.
Co-Chairs Devlin and Rayfield and Members of the Committee:
The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) would like to offer our support for the budget of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ). The CTUIR appreciates the cooperative working relationship we have with ODEQ, and have for many years. Our relationship has not been without disagreements from time to time, but the CTUIR remains confident that ODEQ is doing an excellent job protecting the resources on which the CTUIR and all citizens of Oregon rely.
The CTUIR is aware that there are many priorities that the legislature must balance in developing the budget and we would like to lend our support to the important work ODEQ does to reduce risks to the public from environmental hazards. In addition to the proposed budget items, the CTUIR would like to see additional funding provided to ODEQ to address implementation and enforcement of water quality standards and regulations as well as sufficient resources to address harmful spills to the environment. ODEQ has a solemn duty to help reduce the burden of toxic chemicals that are too often found in our water, in our air, and across the landscape. We should constantly seek to reduce the use and discharge of unhealthy chemicals and contaminants in the first place as much as possible.
Source reduction is the most sensible, productive and cost-effective approach, one that should go hand-in-hand with protective standards and regulations. Delay, either in reducing sources or repairing the damage that has already occurred, will only result in a greater toll on human health and the environment. Furthermore, delay will increase the long-term costs of restoring what has been damaged.
A study by the Oregon Environmental Council found that environmentally attributable diseases—like cancer, birth defects, and neurobehavioral problems—cost Oregonians at least $1.57 billion annually. We as a state must do all we can to limit these unnecessary risks to our health and other costs to our communities. We cannot afford these preventable and excessive expenses in times of economic hardship, but most importantly, we should not tolerate the needless harm to the health and well-being of our people. The CTUIR believes that ODEQ Director Pedersen has demonstrated strong leadership and vision in recognizing that we as Oregonians must do more to understand and reduce the damage caused by environmental pollutants. The Director and his staff are implementing initiatives that are crucial to a healthy, sustainable and resilient Oregon.
Implementing Water Quality Standards: A major priority for the CTUIR with respect to ODEQ’s 2015-16 biennium budget is support for implementing revised toxics water quality standards for human health and aquatic life. Oregon was TUIR Testimony regarding SB 5018 Before the Joint Ways & Means Subcommittee on Natural Resources March 25, 2015 Page 2 of 2 Treaty June 9, 1855 ~ Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla Tribes the first state in the nation to adopt a Fish Consumption Rate based on scientific data derived from tribal consumption surveys. Water quality standards based on this rate protect not only tribal members but every citizen of the state who consumes fish. The Oregon standards protect the State’s citizens and fish and other resources that form a major part of our shared heritage. They have been a beneficial step forward that we can all be proud of. But to fulfill their promise, they must not merely exist on paper, but in actual practice, on the ground.
Decreasing toxics and their effects on people and organisms requires full, fair and timely implementation of the revised standards. Sufficient, secure funding is essential, and will ultimately pay ample dividends in the future. The CTUIR appreciates ODEQ’s long-standing commitment to these efforts, and the support of the Legislative Assembly to make them a reality.
Funding Additional Staff to Address Spills Oregon and the region are facing an onslaught of fossil fuel transport projects—coal, oil and natural gas, by rail, barge and ocean-going ships. Increasing shipments of crude oil by rail are already taxing an overly-stressed rail infrastructure. The State of Oregon needs more staff at ODEQ who can respond to spills to make sure that the environment is protected. Derailments occur constantly, most of them in railroad yards or on sidings at slow speeds with little or no releases. However, our rail infrastructure is incredibly open and expansive, with hundreds of miles of rail in Oregon. There are thousands of crossings, with each one a potential disaster from vehicles getting struck by an increasing number of trains. The CTUIR has witnessed two train derailments in our ceded lands in just the last eight months. They could have been much more disastrous than they eventually turned out to be. The first occurred on August 1, 2014, along the Columbia River, where 13 cars derailed and 7 ended up in the river. Fortunately, the seven cars in the water were empty; had they been loaded with crude oil the consequences may have been far different. The second derailment occurred on March 2, 2015, just weeks ago, when 10 cars derailed two miles east of Meacham, Oregon, on the headwaters of Meacham Creek, just a few miles away from Interstate 84. Meacham Creek is one of the primary tributaries to the Umatilla River that runs through the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Two derailed tank cars contained hazardous materials; one contained residual pressurized propane and another contained Methylene Diphenyl Diisocyanate. Both cars came to rest less than 200 feet from Meacham Creek along the canyon wall above the creek.
Derailments like these, and similar ones that are likely to happen, pose a substantial and direct threat to the health and well-being of the citizens of Oregon, and additional funding for staff to respond to these spills in a timely manner is imperative. The CTUIR thanks you for the opportunity to provide this testimony in support of ODEQ’s proposed budget, including resources for toxics reduction programs to improve state-wide environmental stewardship and to enhance overall spill response. Under the able direction of Director Pedersen, ODEQ is focused on positive results, productive partnerships and sensible environmental safeguards. We ask that the Department receive the funding needed to maintain the critical work it is doing for this generation and those in the future.
If Committee Members or staff require more information, please feel free to contact: • Phil Donovan, Northwest Public Affairs, at (503) 522-3023; • Carl Merkle, CTUIR First Foods Policy Program, at (541) 429-7235; or • Lisa Ganuelas, CTUIR Legislative Coordinator, at (541) 429-7392. Thank you.