Shane Levy, Sierra Club - firstname.lastname@example.org, 201-679-9507
Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky, Columbia Riverkeeper, 503-929-5950
Portland, Ore. — Over 500 Oregon youth and families rallied at a “People’s Hearing” on Saturday to urge Gov. Kitzhaber to stop proposed coal export projects in Oregon. At the rally and “People’s Hearing,” youth leaders and families highlighted the enormous health and environmental threats that the proposed coal export projects would have for Oregon today and in the future. Through testimony from youth voices, hundreds of photo booth petitions, and a “NO COAL” human billboard, the event urged Governor Kitzhaber to protect Oregon families by rejecting the proposal Morrow Pacific project. Photos from the event can be found below.
“I don’t want coal in my future. Kids do not want to inherit a dirty plant. We want clean air, clean water, salmon, eagles, osprey, and a beautiful Gorge to play in. Adults need to realize that we are the ones who will be affected by their choices today,” said ten-year-old Dae Dahlquist, who emceed Saturday’s “People’s Hearing” on coal exports.
Governor Kitzhaber’s Department of State Lands has until April 30, 2014 to decide on a controversial permit application for Ambre Energy’s Morrow Pacific coal export terminal. One criterion for the approval of the removal/fill permit is to determine if the project is ‘consistent with the protection, conservation, and best use of the water resources of the state.’
If approved, the Morrow Pacific project would be the first export facility to get the green light in the Northwest, opening the floodgates for the region to become a hub for dangerous fossil fuel exports and raising serious health and safety concerns for Oregon families and businesses. To date, Ambre has failed to provide information requested by the Governor Kitzhaber’s Department of State Lands, resulting in six permit extensions from the agency. DSL reported an estimated 20,000 comments on were submitted pertaining to the permit application.
“Polluting our rivers and communities with toxic coal doesn't reflect Oregonian's commitment to clean water and salmon. People depend on a healthy river system for food, water and recreation and coal export threatens all of that,” said Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky, Community Organizer for Columbia Riverkeeper
The People's Hearing on Coal Exports also comes on the heels of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality's decision to issue three permits to Ambre Energy's Morrow Pacific coal export terminal. Proponents of clean energy have vocally organized around the region in opposition to coal and oil export terminals they say would increase Oregon's carbon footprint and our nation's dependence on fossil fuels.
"The impact these coal projects will have on the Pacific Northwest and our climate cannot be understated," said Ryan Manion, Portland mother of two and member of Climate Parents, a national organization of parents mobilizing for climate solutions. "Our kids are the people who will have to grapple with the effects of climate change caused by carbon pollution from dirty energy. That's why it's so important to make sure we are listening to their voices on this important issue."