The city of Portland, Oregon, just unanimously passed a new resolution to oppose/block the expansion of new fossil fuel storage and transport activities in the city, according to recent reports.
The resolution is the first of its kind to be passed in the US, and represents a pretty big victory for activists concerned about climate change. The resolution will or can serve as a blueprint for other cities or states, according to Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.
The resolution was co-sponsored by the mayor and Commissioner Amanda Fritz, and passed by the mayor + 4 commissioners.
“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,” stated Hales.
It’s important to note here that the resolution isn’t technically a “ban/moratorium” but rather using existing laws to enforce the halt.
Inside Climate News provides more:
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 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.
An example of how this could work is the Pembina Pipeline Corporation’s proposal last year to build a propane storage facility. The project requires the construction of a pipeline through a swath of conservation land in Portland, where such infrastructure is prohibited. In the past, city officials might have been able to exempt the project from this law (though they have not done so). Yesterday’s resolution makes such an exemption and the project’s approval less likely.
“I think it is a very smart approach,” said VandenHeuvel. This policy “directs city staff to take a look at their laws and enforce their laws, or change them if necessary” in order to make this policy happen. “Any city could do that.”
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