This week, city officials in Portland will decide whether they want to put a halt to all new fossil fuel developments and activities in their city. The resolutions under consideration would have two primary effects. The first would be to officially oppose oil-by-rail transportation through the city. The second: to begin the process of blocking fossil fuel companies from working within the city.
The measures have gained support from an unlikely alliance of leaders. The city’s treasurer, Ted Wheeler, stated “we must move away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy.” Native American tribal organizations, and environmentalists also lauded the program as historic and necessary.
Most importantly, the proposed changes would empower residents and communities within the city to determine their relationship with fossil fuels. The health, economic, and environmental impacts of fossil fuel consumption are increasingly visible and costly to cities. By restricting the footprint of the fossil fuel industry in the city, through new zoning regulations, residents can be included and involved in important decisions regarding fossil fuels on a local level.
Portland is leading the way for cities wishing to eliminate the presence of fossil fuels in their communities. But their greater contribution is showing that there are a multitude of unique strategies that city leaders may employ to advance climate solutions. This example shows that when city leaders and the public come together, they can begin to change the way decisions are made.. Find out more about how your city can lead on climate by visiting Path to Positive Communities.
ON WEDNESDAY, November 4, Portland City Council will consider a pair of resolutions that, if passed, will help the city make good on its green reputation. Portland appears on the verge of saying “no” to new fossil fuel activity.
The resolutions—introduced by Commissioner Amanda Fritz and Mayor Charlie Hales—do two things: Put the city on record as opposing oil-by-rail transportation through Portland and Vancouver, and instruct the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) to explore policy options that would block fossil fuel companies from setting up shop here.
With Hales and Fritz on board, the legislation needs just one more commission vote to pass.
Meanwhile, state Treasurer Ted Wheeler, running for mayor, announced on Tuesday that he supports the legislation.