This recent decision by the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) goes in the Lily Tomlin “no-matter-how-cynical-you get-you-can’t-keep-up” file, right next to the various Oregon and US Supreme Court rulings that campaign money is the same thing as free speech. As reported in this story by The Oregonian, LUBA has invalidated the Clatsop County Commission’s decision to deny a permit to a 41-mile segment of pipeline that will feed the Oregon LNG export terminal. Why? Because Commissioner Peter Huhtala was found to have been an active opponent of LNG projects in Clatsop County before he was elected.
So climate justice activists, if you ever happen to get the urge to run for a county commission seat or any other elected office in which you might be involved in making land use decisions, be sure to recuse yourself from voting on all decisions that involve anything regarding transporting, producing, or burning fossil fuels. You are immediately disqualified by the fact that you are informed about our situation as a global society and know that we must stop producing and consuming fossil fuels by around 1985 (Oops! We better get going on this one.), and actively oppose fossil fuel projects on the grounds that it might be immoral to deny the future of life to other humans and other species by burning down the entire biosphere with fossil fuels. Of course, this assumes that in the process of running for office, your moral inclinations are not somehow tempered by the bundles of “free speech” donated to your campaign by individuals and companies who profit grandly from those same fossil fuel projects on which you’ll be making decisions. In that case, Mr/Ms Commissioner, Mayor, Representative, Congressman, Senator, Judge, President, whoever you are, as PRT organizer Jonah Majure says, “you’re good to go!”