May 17, 2017
Portland Speaks Out in Support of Clean Energy at Special Hearing on Boardman Fracked Gas Plants
Portland, Ore. -- Today, Oregonians made themselves heard loud and clear at a special hearing on Portland General Electric’s (PGE) proposal to build two new fracked gas plants in Boardman, Oregon. Testifiers spoke out against the proposed fossil fuel power plants at a rate of over 50 to one, urging the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to push PGE to invest in clean energy rather than fossil fuels. Over 10,000 letters from Oregonians were delivered to the PUC hearing, all opposing the dangerous proposal to build fracked gas plants in Boardman.
“These fracked gas plants have a lifespan of at least forty years,” said youth activist, former resident of the Marshall Islands and plaintiff in federal youth climate lawsuit Miko Vergun. “I’m only fifteen - if these plants are built, they will be pumping climate-killing fossil fuels into the air for most of my adult life. It’s not right for PGE to commit our state to burning fossil fuels for another forty years when my future—all our futures—and the future of my birth family and my people in the Marshall Islands—is at stake. We have to transition away from dirty gas, not let PGE build new gas plants! PGE should listen to its customers and invest in clean energy rather than dirty, dangerous fossil fuels.”
PUC hearings typically take place in Salem, but since most Portland residents are served by PGE and would receive power from these two fossil fuel power plants, the PUC hosted a special session to hear directly from impacted Portland-area residents.
“Given the upstream leakage of methane before it gets to a natural gas plant, the climate change impacts from a natural gas plant are not much improvement from a coal-burning power plant,” said Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba. “Milwaukie intends to emit zero climate emissions by 2040 and to achieve a 100% clean energy sector much sooner than that.”
"PGE thinks they will go unchallenged because the areas affected by these proposed toxic fossil fuel plants are thinly populated and basically dispensable to them, “ said tribal activist Willa Wallace. “However, my home and community of Pendleton and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation will not stand idly by and permit air pollution and water disruption on land that the tribes have a responsibility to protect. Portland residents don’t want to power their homes with energy created by these environmentally negligent actions. Honor our Mother and your customers by choosing a renewable energy resource path instead."
“We’re pleased to see that PGE is making moves to respond to the concern from their customers about committing Oregon to fossil fuels rather than clean energy,” said Laura Stevens, Organizing Representative for the Oregon Beyond Coal campaign. “We’ll be here every step of the way in this process to ensure that Oregon gets the clean energy we want and deserve, not dirty, dangerous fracked gas.”
Prior to the hearing, Oregonians rallied in Chapman Square to express their opposition to the proposed fracked gas plants. The rally included speakers from tribal communities and advocates for climate justice.