Building Back Better with a Strong Reconciliation Package

OEC and nearly 50 other state-based partners call on congressional leaders to build back better through bold investments in climate, jobs, and justice.

August 26, 2021 

RE: Please help Oregon build back better by supporting an equitable economic recovery and health outcomes, family-sustaining jobs, and a transition to a clean energy economy. 

Dear Senator, 

Throughout this summer, Oregonians across the state have experienced record-breaking heat waves, which have killed some 100 people, sent thousands to emergency rooms for heat-related illness, and forced dozens of small businesses to close their doors. With climate-fueled extreme heat, drought, and wildfires already wreaking havoc on the lives of Oregonians–threatening our state’s economic recovery, worsening health crises, and disproportionately affecting frontline communities–we cannot afford to dig ourselves deeper into climate catastrophe with a business-as-usual approach to rebuilding. Rather, we must seize the opportunity to build back better with strong investments that drive equitable economic recovery with climate action at a moment when Oregon urgently needs both. 

By creating family-wage jobs, modernizing our infrastructure, and reducing harmful climate pollution, President Biden’s vision for rebuilding can pave the way toward a better, more equitable future for all Oregonians. On behalf of the undersigned groups representing environmental justice, labor, business, culturally-specific, and climate advocacy communities across Oregon, we urge you not to compromise, and to swiftly pass legislation that makes big, bold, and ambitious investments in climate and environmental justice. 

Specifically, we urge you to fully fund President Biden’s Build Back Better Plan by passing a reconciliation package that invests at least an additional $3.5 trillion in our communities, addresses environmental injustice, supports families and public health, advances millions of clean energy jobs, and fights the climate crisis by: 

  • Prioritizing at least 40 percent of investments (e.g. Justice 40) in communities historically and disproportionately impacted by economic disinvestment, health challenges, and environmental harms, including through the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps.
  • Establishing a new clean electricity payment program to transition the U.S. power sector off fossil fuels by 2035 and put hundreds of thousands of people to work modernizing our electric grid.
  • Expanding tax credits for renewable energy, energy efficiency, electric heat pumps, and alternative fuel and electric vehicles–including making them refundable for homes, businesses, and large scale projects–and making needed, strategic investments in grid resilience and reliability, including regionally significant transmission. 
  • Modernizing and addressing inequities in our transportation system by at least doubling investments in mass public transit, bike, and pedestrian projects, and fixing the historic damage of urban highways by connecting communities that have been divided by past transportation investments–thereby slashing harmful tailpipe pollution, advancing environmental justice, and promoting affordable options. 
  • Advancing the electrification of our transportation system through the creation of a national vehicle charging network, transitioning school, public transit, and government vehicle fleets to zero emissions vehicles, investing in the electrification of rural transit systems and promoting opportunities for rural communities to electrify farm vehicles and equipment. 
  • Requiring states to make progress on addressing their road maintenance backlog before expanding or building new highways, and have a plan to maintain new assets. 
  • Supporting workforce development and job training programs to connect workers to good-paying jobs, and promoting the use of prevailing wage, project labor agreements, and apprenticeship requirements. 
  • Bolstering federal research and development for emerging clean energy technologies such as storage and offshore wind, in consultation with tribal and environmental justice communities and with attention to potential environmental justice burdens, to restart our nation’s innovation engine and help the United States achieve its goal of cutting its carbon emissions in half by 2030. 
  • Ensuring every Oregonian has access to safe, affordable drinking water, including by replacing or installing filtration on lead pipes supplying schools, public buildings and private homes, addressing well and septic system safety and water quality, and providing funding for state implementation of Clean Water Act treatment standards for emerging contaminants, including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). 
  • Investing in climate-smart agriculture conservation, drought, and forestry programs to reduce emissions and advance carbon sequestration on our natural and working lands and promote wildfire mitigation. 
  • Strengthening our nature-based infrastructure to help communities become more resilient in the face of climate disasters, including advancing urban tree canopies to address heat islands, particularly in low-income and BIPOC neighborhoods, and protecting and restoring lands, forests, wetlands, watersheds and other natural resources that Oregonians depend on. 
  • Repairing and replacing failing wastewater and stormwater systems, including those damaged by wildfires, with a particular focus on Tribal, rural, low-income and under-served communities.
  • Revitalizing our digital infrastructure by investing in affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband, including in rural areas and on Tribal lands, which particularly lack adequate access.
  • Ensuring that our cornerstone environmental laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, and Clean Air Act, are fully maintained and enforced.

By making needed investments in our communities–and prioritizing those historically and disproportionately impacted–the above proposals will support a transition to a clean energy economy that benefits Oregon families and working people, improves health outcomes, lifts up frontline communities, and helps to ensure our economy and communities are more resilient. As you return from August recess, we urge you not to lose sight of the opportunity to build back better. Oregon’s families, workers, and climate cannot afford the cost of inaction. 

We strongly urge you to swiftly pass legislation that makes bold and transformative investments to rebuild a stronger, more equitable, and more resilient Oregon for all. This is our moment to build a new economy with justice and prosperity for every community and a livable planet for future generations. 


1000 Friends of Oregon * 350 Deschutes * 350 Eugene * 350 Salem * Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians * Better Eugene-Springfield Transportation * Beyond Toxics BlueGreen Alliance * City of Milwaukie * Climate Jobs PDX * Climate Solutions Community Energy Project * Community for Earth, First Unitarian Church of Portland Democratic Party of Oregon-Environmental Caucus * Douglas County Global Warming Coalition * EcoFaith Recovery * Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon * Elders Climate Action, Oregon Chapter Electrify Now * Extinction Rebellion Portland * Friends of Family Farmers * Green Energy Institute Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center * Metro Climate Action Team * Neighbors for Clean Air Next Up Action Fund * Oregon Business for Climate * Oregon Climate and Agriculture Network Oregon Citizens’ Utility Board * Oregon Environmental Council * Oregon League of Conservation Voters Oregon Solar + Storage Industries Association * Oregon Trails Coalition * Oregon Unitarian Universalist Voices for Justice * Oregon Wild * Our Climate * Pacific Forest Trust Participatory Budgeting Oregon * PCUN * Renew Oregon * Res-Intel Safe Routes Partnership, Pacific Northwest Regional Network * Southern Oregon Climate Action Now Southern Oregon Food Solutions * Southern Oregon Pachamama Alliance * The Environmental Center * Verde * Welcome Home Coalition 

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Featured Climate Protection Eco-Healthy Homes Policy Environmental Health Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Toxics-Free Environments Air Quality Transportation Solutions Living Green OCAP News Emerging Leaders Board OEC News/Updates/Events ELB Featured Projects Rural Partnerships
Sort by

Building Climate Resilience with Better Buildings

Gazing at the downtown skyline of Portland? Rushing through PDX to catch a flight? Lost in the Silicon Forest? You probably aren’t thinking about how to reduce climate emissions. But Oregon’s large office, high-tech and public buildings are one of Oregon’s best opportunities to meet our climate goals by addressing our second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. That’s because the overall “carbon footprint” of
April 12, 2024, 4:36 pm


architect in hardhat working on wiring

New Initiatives for Safe, Affordable, Climate-Friendly Homes and Buildings

The 2023 legislative session presents a vital opportunity to make progress in achieving our climate goals and protect families and communities from ever-worsening climate impacts. OEC is excited to support a “Building Resilience” policy package this session that will cut pollution and increase the climate resilience of our homes and buildings  
January 23, 2023, 9:13 pm


REBuilding Task Force Delivers Recommendations

The buildings we use for homes, workplaces, and gathering spaces play a special role in the future of our changing climate. They can provide a safe place to escape extreme heat, storms, or wildfires caused by climate change. But when those same buildings rely on fracked methane (“natural”) gas, the air insides in unsafe to breathe and methane is one of the worst climate pollutants. A special state task force cam
December 20, 2022, 11:26 pm


Worker building a house outside

Building for a Better Future

Right now, there is an important conversation happening in Oregon, and around the country, about buildings. The buildings in which we live and work are a critical piece of the climate puzzle. They are both vital to reducing climate change causing fossil fuels and our first line of defense against climate harms like extreme heat, wildfire smoke, and air
May 18, 2022, 7:46 pm


I-5 Interstate Bridge between Oregon and Washington

Building Bridges: Connections Between Communities, Climate, and Equitable Transportation

The Columbia River between Washington and Oregon has been significant for transportation around the region for thousands of years, with people moving along and across the river to meet their needs, make a living, and connect across communities. The I-5 bridge between Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon, is currently at the center of a regional conversation about transportation, connectedness, and community needs. 
August 10, 2021, 8:19 pm


Oregon Clean Fuels Program: Building Back Better

December 28, 2020, 9:00 am


Building advocacy with our Emerging Leaders

Guest blog by Kellen Klein, Emerging Leaders Board Member
January 17, 2018, 6:30 pm


Toxic Free Building: for the Environment and Our Health

The intersection of health and the environment is core to Barbara and Bill Steele’s work
July 7, 2017, 9:59 pm


No Replies to "Building Back Better with a Strong Reconciliation Package"