Saturday, November 14, 2015

Resolution Opposing All New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure Passes in Portland

This article provides additional infomation on yesterday's post.

A train is seen here carrying oil tankers. On Nov. 12, 2015, the city of Portland approved a resolution to prevent the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure projects. (Credit: Ray Luck) Click to Enlarge.
Portland, Oregon took a step toward combatting climate change on Thursday when its leaders unanimously supported a resolution to actively oppose the local expansion of all new fossil fuel storage and transport.

Hailed as "historic" and "visionary" by climate campaigners, the resolution––passed by the mayor and four commissioners of Oregon's largest city––is the latest in a series of major climate actions nationally. President Barack Obama recently announced the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline on climate grounds.  Citing New York's pledge to mitigate "catastrophic effects of climate change," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Thursday blocked the Port Ambrose liquefied natural gas project.  Last week, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and six other Democrats proposed the "Keep It In the Ground" bill to end new fossil fuel extraction on public lands.

According to Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, the first-in-the-nation resolution offers a blueprint for other cities, states––even nations––to follow. Hales co-sponsored the resolution with Commissioner Amanda Fritz.

"There is a fear among younger generations that their future will be compromised if our generation doesn't act on climate change.  The reality is, while climate change could be even more catastrophic, it's not too late to do something about it. If we're aggressive about carbon reduction, we can, city by city, make a difference," Hales said in a statement.

The resolutions is not a "ban" or "moratorium," even though that's how it has been referred to by some activists.  Several federal preemptions would likely render a direct ban illegal, said Brett VandenHeuvel, executive director of the local grassroots group Columbia Riverkeeper.

Instead, the city council's resolution is a broad policy mandate to halt the local expansion of fossil fuels through the city's existing laws.  Over the course of several months, city staff at various departments will examine laws, "including those related to public health, safety, building, electrical, nuisance, and fire codes," and come up with recommendations and proposed city code changes in order to enforce the policy.  Their strategy must go through a public comment period before it takes effect.

Read more at Resolution Opposing All New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure Passes in Portland

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