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.
- Oregon is leading on climate. As a co-founder of the Renew Oregon campaign, Oregon Environmental Council is part of the movement to ensure Oregon acts to reduce climate pollution. As a climate leader, Oregon is poised to be a beacon for other states and countries, while protecting our natural legacy and communities, especially those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. By galvanizing voices around the state—large and small businesses, farmers and ranchers, clergy and nonprofits, and residents from every county—we persuaded the Governor and state legislature to create an Office of Carbon Policy that is now developing a “cap and invest” carbon pricing program to be voted on in 2019.
- From big cities to small towns, Oregonians will have more bus service. For the first time, Oregon is dedicating significant resources to expanding public transit all across the state (more than $1 billion over 10 years). Oregon Environmental Council and partner organizations championed this new fund for transit so that people can get where they need to go in a climate-friendly way. The result: cleaner air, healthier communities and more affordable transportation options.
- Drivers are filling up with cleaner fuels. By watchdogging the Clean Fuels Standard, which holds oil companies accountable for reducing carbon, Oregon Environmental Council is making sure Oregon drivers have a cleaner choice of transportation fuels. The results are huge. The Clean Fuels Standard prevented 1.7 million tons of climate pollution in its first two years—the equivalent of taking nearly 365,000 cars off the road each year—all while curbing harmful pollutants like benzene and arsenic in our air, providing consumers with better choices, and attracting investment in homegrown fuels and local jobs.
- The future of transportation is electric. Oregon Environmental Council is not only working to expand transportation options, but also supporting electric cars and buses. We helped secure consumer rebates for electric cars (which are double in value for low-income drivers), and we helped inform a Governor’s Executive Order that requires new buildings be ready for EV charging and calls for tripling electric vehicles in Oregon to 50,000 by 2020.
- Toxic toys are on their way out. Oregon Environmental Council is watchdogging implementation of one of our signature accomplishments, the Toxic-Free Kids Act, which requires manufacturers to disclose and phase out hazardous chemicals in consumer products targeted at children. And we are defending it against continued chemical industry attacks at the state and federal level.
- The writing’s on the wall for dirty diesel. Nearly 90% of Oregonians live in counties where diesel exhaust increases risk of cancer over a lifetime. Oregon Environmental Council helped direct $20 million to cleaning up 450 old diesel school buses statewide. This investment helps Oregon students breathe easier, and it sets the groundwork for future legislation to require replacement of all old dirty diesel engines. To make sure state legislators take action, we are working with lower-wealth, racially diverse communities in Salem and Portland to sample diesel emissions and raise awareness of health impacts.
- Buildings will be built to save energy. Residential and commercial buildings consume about 30% of Oregon’s electricity. Oregon Environmental Council helped secure a Governor’s Executive Order requiring new buildings to be equipped for solar panel installation, be on the path to be zero-energy (generate as much energy as they consume) ready, and use high-efficiency water fixtures. We also worked with the City of Portland to require that home sellers disclose a home’s energy use and cost to provide better information for consumers and better value for energy efficiency investments.
- The Governor and state agencies are developing a 100-year investment program for water. Oregon Environmental Council has been working to secure greater state attention to the fact that Oregon’s waterways are threatened by pollution and that water scarcity is a growing problem exacerbated by climate change. We are spreading the message that we are all part of Oregon’s water future, with the launch of the first statewide celebration of World Water Day in 2018 and a partnership with the Affiliated Tribes of the Northwest Indians. State agencies are now working with the Governor’s office to assess what investments are needed to secure clean and reliable water for the next 100 years.
- Oregon is challenging federal rollbacks to environmental protections. Spurred by Oregon Environmental Council and our allies, Oregon has joined other states in challenging 20 of the 52 environmental regulations the Trump Administration has moved to eliminate or roll back. Collectively, these allied states have preserved energy efficiency standards and stopped delay of a rule to reduce ozone pollution.
- We’re building a bridge for environmental justice. People on the front lines—directly impacted by climate change and polluted air and water—must be included in policy decisions that affect them. That’s why Oregon Environmental Council is working with impacted neighborhoods to sample diesel pollution. That’s why we’re engaging with communities of color in developing and advancing policies that create a safer, healthier future for all and working together to increase representation of people of color on Natural Resource Boards and Commissions. That’s why we are standing in solidarity against hate speech, anti-immigrant actions, and racial discrimination.
BONUS: Last but not least: We are recognized as one of Oregon’s top nonprofits to work for by Oregon Business magazine.