For Immediate Release:
Thursday, May 25, 2023

Jana Gastellum, janag@oeconline.org, (360) 618-2722

SALEM, Ore.– Oregon Environmental Council (OEC) called on State Senators who have walked out of the Capitol to return to work and vote on critical environmental legislation.

Multiple environmental priorities are endangered by the walkout, including the opportunity for Oregon to leverage funds from the federal Inflation Reduction Act. If Oregon doesn’t act soon, it could lose out on the opportunity to leverage some of the $369 billion available through the Act to help keep 

Oregonians safe from increasingly dangerous extreme weather events. Also imperiled by the walkouts is a $110 million drought relief package, which is a top priority for rural Oregon communities impacted by years of drought.

“Many of the budgets and policies endangered by this walkout are critical for economic development in rural Oregon, including an urgently needed drought response funding package. These important investments in rural Oregon would benefit the constituents of the legislators who are not coming to the Capitol.” said Thomas Baker, Legislative Director at OEC.

“All Oregonians should have access to safe, clean, affordable, and plentiful drinking water.” said Karen Lewotsky, Rural Partnerships & Water Program Director for OEC. “Right now, especially in rural Oregon, too many Oregonians are dealing with water infrastructure weakened by age and wildfires or contaminated drinking water wells. We need lawmakers back in Salem so we can access urgently needed funding to help farmers and working families in all corners of our state.”

“The Toxic Free Kids modernization act (HB 3043), a bipartisan bill that protects children from toxic chemicals, is threatened by this walkout,” said Jamie Pang, Environmental Health Program Director for OEC. “Senators must return to work so that we can protect the health of kids across Oregon.”

“This spring’s record-breaking heatwaves across Oregon are yet another climate wake-up call.” said Nora Apter, Climate Program Director at OEC. “Right now, legislators have a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to leverage historic federal investments to cut climate pollution, create jobs, improve public health, and drive down costs for Oregonians across every corner of our state. With Oregon families struggling to pay their energy bills and climate extremes an unfortunate inevitability, it is unconscionable to leave tens of millions of dollars on the table to improve the lives and livelihoods of Oregonians.”

Recent reports from the Oregon Global Warming Commission and the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change highlight the need for urgent action to combat climate change. The Oregon report puts the economic damages of extreme weather events at $1.8 billion for our state in 2021 and 2022.

“Throughout our efforts this year, we have worked hard to negotiate in good faith and successfully earned bipartisan support for many of our key legislative priorities.” said Jana Gastellum, Executive Director of OEC. “After all this bipartisan work, it is incredibly infuriating to have a minority of Oregon State Senators refuse to show up for work and derail progress on bills to protect children’s health, clean water and clean energy for all Oregonians.”

Essential environmental priorities endangered by the Senate walkout:

Resilient, Healthy & Affordable Buildings ​​(SB 868, 869, 870, 871) A package of bills to ensure buildings in Oregon are energy-efficient, produce less pollution & keep people safe in extreme weather.

Climate-Smart Land and Water Management (SB 530) This bill creates more resilient forests, farmlands, and wetlands and better positions Oregon to leverage federal funding. 

Toxic Free Kids Act Modernization Bill (HB 3043) – A bipartisan bill to modernize the

landmark Toxics-Free Kids Act to better protect kids from harmful chemicals in children’s products.

Toxic Free Cosmetics Bill (SB 546) – A bipartisan bill to remove harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde from cosmetic products.

For a list of other bills that hang in the balance: https://oeconline.org/our-work/policy/ 

OEC brings Oregonians together to protect our water, air, and land with healthy solutions that work for today and for future generations. Founded in 1968 by concerned Oregonians across the state, we are a membership-based, nonpartisan nonprofit.


Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Featured Toxic Free Priorities Policy Climate Protection Environmental Health
Sort by
Front of a schoolbus (above the engine/grill) with clouds above, and reflecting in the windows a bit. The bus is parked among others in the lot.

Oregon’s Report Card: The Urgent Need for Transportation Investment

Everyone deserves the right to safe, accessible, climate-friendly transportation options. And everyone deserves to arrive at their destination safely, regardless of their transportation choice. Yet the need for investments in transportation safety could not be more urgent as this year’s back-to-school season is met with a 40-year peak in pedestrian deaths, nationwide. 
September 21, 2023, 11:42 am


Renewable Northwest Executive Director, Nicole Hughes, and OEC Senior Program Director for Climate, Nora Apter, welcome 20 representatives from 15 advocacy organizations to the Oregon Clean Grid Collaborative kick-off.

Celebrating the launch of the “Oregon Clean Grid Collaborative”

Authors: Nora Apter, Senior Program Director for Climate, OEC; Nicole Hughes, Executive Director, Renewable Northwest
September 11, 2023, 4:15 pm


Oregon Advocates Celebrate First Anniversary of the Federal Inflation Reduction Act: A Year of Achievements and Future Opportunities for Progress

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 16, 2023 Media Contact: Patty Wentz, patty@wentzjackson.com 503-970-7929 As Oregon experiences record breaking heat driven by climate change, it is important to note the one-year anniversary of the historic Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which will invest at least $370 billion–and potentially upwards of $1 trillion–nationwide to a
August 16, 2023, 11:51 am


Sweeping Environmental Wins in Oregon’s 2023 Legislative Session

At the end of the 2023 Oregon Legislative Session, OEC is proud to have secured several major policy victories that will benefit Oregonians and our shared environment. Thanks to our coalition partners, supporters, and legislative champions, the Oregon legislature delivered critical action to reduce climate and air pollution, support healthy, affordable, resilient communities, and leverage once-in-a-lifetime federal funding for clean energy and clean water infrastructure. Healthy
June 29, 2023, 11:40 am


Windmills over green terrain

Climate Win! Oregon Lawmakers Take Powerful Action Passing the ‘Climate Resilience Package’

Oregon’s 2023 Legislative Session ended with a momentous victory in the fight against climate change with the passage of the bipartisan Climate Resilience Package (HB 3409 & HB 3630). With over $90 million in funding and strategic leveraging of federal investments, this victory represents significant progress in our relentless pursuit of a climate-resilient future for Oregon.
June 29, 2023, 11:13 am


Huge Wins for Public Health! Oregon Lawmakers Act to Keep Toxic Chemicals Out of Cosmetics and Kids’ Products

In a resounding victory for the health and well-being of Oregonians, Oregon Environmental Council and coalition partners successfully advocated for the passage of two crucial environmental health bills in the 2023 legislative session.  Despite facing staunch opposition from the chemical industry, our coalition’s unwavering commitment and tenacity paid off, as we se
June 27, 2023, 2:46 pm


Oregon Health Authority Report Finds Devastating Public Health Impacts from Climate Change in Oregon, Underscoring Urgent Need for Legislative Action to Pass the Climate Resilience Package

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 22, 2023 Media Contact Kat Driessen, kat@empirical.media PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Health Authority today released a comprehensive report on the public health impacts of climate change in Oregon. The “2021-2022 Climate and Health in Oregon Rep
June 22, 2023, 11:00 am


Sparks Lake Oregon

Oregon’s Looming Water Crisis

There are over 12 state agencies involved with managing Oregon’s water. And a recent state audit determined that things are not as coordinated as they need to be. Existing laws are tied to property rights and based on an outdated worldview. These policies make it hard to live up to the Endangered Species Act, honor T
March 21, 2023, 10:00 pm


water bottles lined up

On Valentine’s Day, groups call on the Oregon Legislature to ‘break up with plastic’

For Immediate Release Tuesday, February 14, 2023 — Plastic pollution reduction bills are having a public hearing. Salem, Ore.— Valentine’s Day is typically a day for expressing love and affection to romantic partners. However, it can also be a reminder of toxic relationships: like the one we have with plastics. This Valentine’s Day, environmental g
February 14, 2023, 6:54 pm


A farmworker carries berries in a field

Climate Protection Win for Oregon Workers

Industry plaintiffs brought two claims against rules to protect workers in Oregon from the harmful and dangerous impacts of exposure to heat and smoke. Both suits were dismissed “with prejudice” which means they were dismissed permanently and cannot be brought to Court again.   On December 20, 2022, the U.S. District Court in Medford dismissed
January 23, 2023, 8:03 pm