What's Next? A Post-Election To-Do List
by Janet Weil
The tsunami of money, stunts, bluster and coup threats known as the 2020 Elections is over. Finally!
The climate crisis continues, along with other crises of ecological and human devastation, including a sharp uptick in COVID-19 cases as winter approaches.
Starting in January, President Biden can respond immediately to the climate crisis, even without a Democratic-controlled Congress (thanks, Center for Biological Diversity). The POTUS-elect has already said that he’ll do #10 on this list: the United States will rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. That’s a start. As the young leaders of the Sunrise Movement make clear, it’s on Congress to put forward and deliver legislation stemming from the Green New Deal Resolution, and for Biden to sign those bills into law, because a racially just transition for good jobs, clean energy and a livable planet just won’t wait – and neither will we.
In Oregon, as everywhere, climate and environmental justice must be fought for, battle by battle. The Oregon Department of Transportation announced: "Today [November 6], the Federal Highway Administration issued a Finding of No Significant Impact for the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project, joined with a Revised Environmental Assessment." Oh, really? Tell it to the families in the Albina district. Or to the coalition of activists who say again and again, “Climate leaders don’t widen freeways.”
The Oregon Department of Energy just approved construction of the Perennial Wind Chaser Station power plant in Umatilla County. Our allies at Columbia Riverkeeper remind us that, if this plant is built, it will generate over 1 million tons of carbon dioxide pollution per year, in addition to what Oregon already produces.
The Zenith oil facility between the Willamette River and Forest Park still receives trains that deliver toxic, smelly diluted bitumen (“tar sands”) to its pipes after rolling through NE Portland neighborhoods.
And the Climate Emergency Declaration (remember that?) that passed unanimously by the City Council last June has to become the guiding principles for the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. We continue to remind the City that without concrete, measurable, annual goals, the CED is a useless document.
There’s lots more (and we're going to have some fun too)! Remember: We're rebels for life! Join us!