The Northwest won't give in to federal inaction on climate
August 27, 2018

With the many twists and turns on the road to stabilizing our climate, it’s still infuriating when the federal government takes feckless actions like last week’s proposal to gut and replace the Clean Power Plan. But coal power is diminishing, the clean energy economy is advancing, and the Northwest can be a shining beacon of what climate action should be. So we persevere.

Together, we took heart in 2015 when President Obama unveiled the Clean Power Plan, calling it our moral obligation to take a stand against climate change. It was the first federal initiative to place limits on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, and would have eliminated a third of the climate pollution from the U.S.’ electric power by 2030.

The plan came under immediate attack from the fossil fuel industry. But the greatest attack came just last week, when the Trump administration proposed to undermine the plan in another attempt to bail out the coal industry—a move former EPA head Gina McCarthy called “another step in industry's playbook to dismantle regulations that they find inconvenient, but which are absolutely essential for our public health and our kids' future.”

While disheartening, folks in Oregon and Washington have never waited for the federal government to save us from climate change, and we’re not about to start now. Please join us in calling for strong state and local climate action:

Washington residents can do this by supporting Yes on Initiative 1631 at the ballot this fall. 

Oregonians can tell our state legislators that we support the Clean Energy Jobs bill; folks in Portland can also make clear our support for the Portland Clean Energy Fund.

Rather than curbing carbon emissions, the Trump proposal would prop up dirty, expensive coal power while utterly failing to address the climate crisis. What’s more, the EPA’s own estimates suggest that the plan will cause hundreds of unnecessary deaths each year due to air pollution emitted by power plants. That news struck a particular chord in the Pacific Northwest, where wildfire smoke gave us some of the worst air quality in the world last week, and continues to harm some eastern and the southern parts of our region.  

As we all breathe in smoke from fires made more frequent and severe by the climate crisis, we know that the place for us to make real progress on securing a safe and healthy climate is here, in the Pacific Northwest.

In Washington

This fall, Washington voters have an important opportunity to do just that—by passing Initiative 1631, protecting clean air and healthy communities, advancing our shift to clean energy, and show that the Evergreen State stands for effective climate leadership. I-1631 will cut industrial pollution in our state, protect vulnerable communities, and help make our forests and waterways more resilient for the climate impacts we have already begun to see.

Please make this campaign your campaign—volunteer with Yes on 1631, and vote for I-1631 in the November election. Most importantly, let’s take every opportunity to talk with our friends and family about the fact that we CAN make a difference on climate—and I-1631 is one powerful tool we must use.

In Oregon

The Oregon legislature is meeting this week to discuss major climate legislation to develop ahead of the approaching 2019 legislative session. As they consider what bills to prioritize, they need to hear that you want them to pass Clean Energy Jobs, the bill to cap and dramatically reduce the amount of climate pollution our state emits.

In addition, Portlanders have the opportunity this fall to support an exciting ballot measure to build a just, clean energy future for Portland. The Portland Clean Energy Fund will weatherproof homes, build rooftop solar, provide job training, and fund green infrastructure, equitably prioritizing the city’s communities of color and low income communities. Please pledge to vote Yes on the Portland Clean Energy Fund

Here in the Northwest, our moral commitment and our ability to take meaningful action on climate change are strong. Let’s make sure that we make it a reality!



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Author Bio

Meredith Connolly is Climate Solutions' Oregon Director. Her bio is here.

Vlad Gutman-Britten is Climate Solutions' Washington Director. His bio is here.