Oregonians are proud of our state’s well-earned reputation of green jobs and green spaces. But as much as the New York Times like to crow about it (and as much as the right-wing Oregonian editor likes to grumble about it), an environmental and clean state isn’t something that just happens. It’s a commitment we fight to preserve.
The Oregon Conservation Network put together their list of priority policies for this legislative session, which includes common sense approaches to promote a clean and healthy Oregon, such as:
- Continuing use of clean fuels to reduce our gas and diesel consumption, create jobs, and improve air quality.
- Protecting Oregon’s water by ensuring responsible water management and supporting the Water Resources Department — to keep water healthy for all Oregon residents, from farmers to fish!
- Expanding Energy Efficiency by establishing standards for battery chargers, pole lighting, televisions, and plumbing fixtures — to support conservation efforts and keep power bills down.
- Preserving Oregon rivers by safeguarding scenic waterways, and fighting back against unregulated and destructive uses of our iconic waterways.
The very nature of these OCN priories proves something very important about Oregon: If conservationists don’t continue to fight for even the most basic environmental protections, there are those who would do away with them in an instant.
Oregon faces threats time and time again from big corporate interests, who would love to trade our clean state for a quick buck. And they appear to have willing accomplices in office. In 2011, Rep. Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer) introduced an ALEC-sponsored (Koch-funded) bill that would have required Oregon to withdraw from the Western Climate Initiative, the regional collaboration to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. In 2012, bills were introduced to increase logging and rollback protections on the Columbia River, among others.
OCN and individuals around the state successfully squashed these bad idea bills last session (and, further, passed their own proactive measures to maintain a healthy state.) But the battle wages on, as new anti-environment measures have been introduced this year, including a Columbia River water grab, an attempt to roll back current water protection regulations, and limit regulations around mining in the state.
This is why we’re lucky to have a devoted coalition of more than 40 diverse organizations from around the state working to preserve Oregon for future generations. But they could use your help. Sign up for OCN’s SalemWatch to stay up to date on environmental bills and learn about opportunities to get involved.