Our work ensures Oregonians live healthier lives because our air, water and land are cleaner; our food is more sustainably produced; and the products, energy and transportation we rely on are safer for our environment.

Back in 1968, a group of ordinary citizens came together to form Oregon Environmental Council. These were PTA and garden club members, outdoor enthusiasts, conservationists and others who believed they could get more done by working together.

Our recent accomplishments:

  1. Oregon Climate Action Plan (OCAP) Brings Bold Action On Climate In 2020. After years of advocating for bold climate action, OEC and our partners have succeeded in solidifying Oregon’s role as a national leader in the fight against climate change and moving us one step closer to a sustainable and prosperous future. Governor Kate Brown’s March 2020 executive order is one of the strongest actions any governor has taken to address the climate crisis. The Oregon Climate Action Plan (OCAP) mandates 16 different state agencies to achieve Oregon’s greenhouse gas reduction goals while prioritizing climate and equity in decision-making.

  2. Partnering To Improve Water Management In Rural Oregon. On-the-ground partnerships are the foundation of OEC’s Rural Partnerships work, and water management is one of the top priorities for rural Oregon. Our work to modernize irrigation piping with the Swalley Irrigation District helped return 1.2 million gallons of water per day during the irrigation season to the upper Deschutes River, helping to make the Deschutes basin a better place for fish and frogs, farmers and recreationalists, families and communities.

  3. New State-Wide Transportation Coalition Reshapes Oregon’s Transportation Future. Oregon Environmental Council is working with partners across the state in a new coalition, the Oregon Clean and Just Transportation Network, to push for electrification of heavy- and medium-duty fleets, investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and innovative transportation policy that collects and invests money in an equitable way that supports all Oregonians.

  4. Defending Challenges From Industry To Protect Kids. Oregon Environmental Council is watchdogging implementation of one of our signature accomplishments, the Toxic-Free Kids Act, which requires manufacturers to disclose hazardous chemicals in consumer products targeted at children and phase them out starting in 2022. We ensured public access to the first round of data and have kept the law strong despite continued chemical industry attacks throughout the final phase of rulemaking. We will also be proposing a policy expansion of the current TFKA Framework in 2021.

  5. Clean Fuels Stronger Than Ever And Making Great Strides. Thanks to the Oregon Climate Action Plan’s directive to expand and strengthen the program, Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program is now the strongest in the nation. Now in its fourth year, the Oregon Clean Fuels Program is accelerating the use of healthier, lower-carbon fuels throughout the state. The program has cut over 4 million tons of climate pollution so far, equal to taking nearly 800,000 cars off the road, while supporting locals jobs and cutting air pollution.

  6. New Water Partnership Centers Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and Low-Income Communities. Communities of color, particularly those that are rural and low-income, are often on the frontlines of Oregon’s water challenges. Oregon Environmental Council co-founded the Oregon Water Futures Project to help lift up priorities identified by Indigenous peoples and communities of color for the future of Oregon’s water resources and culturally-specific resiliency as state and federal policymakers consider water investments in 2021. We also partnered with Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians to produce and launch an anthem video for the Changing Currents Tribal Water Project, elevating tribal voices for the future of Oregon’s waters and water resource management.

  7. Expanding Environmental Health Education Into Diverse Communities. Toxic chemicals disproportionately affect low income and communities of color. Oregon Environmental Council is partnering with Hacienda CDC, a low-income housing community that specializes in LatinX culturally specific services, on a pilot project that seeks to jointly identify toxic threats in home and personal care products, identify affordable non-toxic alternatives, and find solutions to barriers obtaining these alternatives. OEC will be providing direct services in the form of language-specific eco-healthy home cleaning kits and survey residents to aid in the development of statewide policy that will protect our most vulnerable communities from unregulated toxic exposures.

  8. Defending And Protecting Current Environmental Policies. In just 3.5 years, the Trump administration has dismantled an alarming number of critical environmental and climate protections, from advancing climate-change causing resource extraction on public lands and waters, to rolling back keystone environmental laws like the Clean Air Act and National Environmental Policy Act. OEC and our allies continue to challenge these attacks with targeted advocacy and public-facing environmental campaigns making Oregon a prominent leader in pushing back on and holding the line against the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks.

  9. Working With Nature To Craft Innovative Solutions To Oregon’s Water Challenges. OEC is working at the state level to identify and remove barriers to the use of natural infrastructure, and encourage project designers and managers, municipalities and funders to embrace the advantages of working with, not against, the flow. Streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans are all part of nature’s water infrastructure. By working with those systems — incorporating them into our approach to flood management and drinking water protection, mimicking their functions in our wastewater treatment processes — we can achieve multiple benefits (such as drawing down climate pollution, providing habitat, etc.) at lower costs than we can by relying on traditional built infrastructure.

  10. Adapting To Crisis And Advocating To Help Impacted Communities. This has been a year of overlapping crisis, from COVID to climate. From early in the coronavirus pandemic, we have looked for ways to use our influence and capacity to support urgent needs arising from communities in crisis. We supported $30M in emergency energy assistance. We’ve helped elevate the growing water affordability crisis with the Governor’s office and House Water Committee, urging policymakers to take action to prevent water shutoffs in households unable to pay their water bills. Our staff have helped elderly neighbors buy groceries, donated blood, advocated for protective equipment for essential workers, and most recently, collected supplies for communities throughout Oregon whose lives have been disrupted by the wildfires. We believe in coming together, no matter the challenge.