Voices of Support: Defending Oregon’s Climate Protection Program

On September 29, 2023, OEC gathered with a growing coalition of community-based organizations, lawmakers, and business groups following oral arguments heard by the Oregon Court of Appeals to rally behind the Oregon Climate Protection Program (CPP), which is under attack from the fossil fuel industry.

Oregon’s Climate Protection Program (CPP) is a cornerstone in our state’s recent climate action. This powerful law requires a steady reduction of climate pollution from the largest emitters. This creates a transition to more efficient, cleaner, healthier ways of doing business–all while enhancing public health, job creation, and economic vitality for Oregonians–particularly those most burdened by climate change including Black, Indigenous, and people of color, people with low incomes and people who live in rural communities. 

This critical program is being challenged in three separate legal cases backed by major fossil fuel companies and their allies including Northwest Natural Gas Company, Avista and Cascade Natural Gas along with industry trade associations like Western States Petroleum Association, Oregon Business & Industry, Oregon Farm Bureau, Associated Oregon Loggers. Climate, business, public health, environmental justice, and Tribal partners are engaging in legal defense to protect the CPP against rollbacks.

If the oil and gas industry succeeds in its litigation, it will hinder DEQ’s authority to regulate climate pollution more broadly and set a worrying precedent for other states looking to adopt similar programs in the face of continued federal inaction. Given the essential role of the CPP in achieving our state’s climate goals, it is absolutely critical that we use every tool to defend this program against rollbacks.


Nora Apter, senior program director for climate at the Oregon Environmental Council speaking at the pro-CPP Rally in Salem on September, 29, 2023.

Nora Apter, senior program director for climate at the Oregon Environmental Council speaking at the pro-CPP Rally in Salem on September, 29, 2023.

“We cannot continue to put Oregon lives and livelihoods at stake just to preserve business as usual for oil companies and gas utilities. These same companies are on the one hand publicly claiming to be part of the climate solution, while simultaneously suing the state to overturn protections for Oregon’s climate and communities. Oregonians don’t just deserve the cleaner, cheaper, healthier future the Climate Protection Program will deliver. We desperately need it. And together, we’ll keep fighting to deliver.” – Nora Apter, Senior Program Director for Climate at the Oregon Environmental Council

“For generations, our communities have been expected to carry the burden of pollution while the fossil fuel industry, who are fighting us in court today, have raked in record profits year after year. It’s long past time to put our health and safety first. We’re calling on Oregon to seize this opportunity to demonstrate true leadership and protect this historic win.” – Se-ah-dom Edmo, Executive Director of Seeding Justice

“Any business that has been paying attention knows we must address climate change – for the sake of our communities and our economy. And smart businesses, in all industries, know there is a huge opportunity in leading this transition. The Climate Protection Plan puts us on a clear path of action toward that leadership.” Tim Miller, Director of Oregon Business for Climate

Oregon State Representative Pam Marsh

Oregon State Representative Pam Marsh

“We cannot care for our communities if we do not care for our climate. The families in my district and the families across Oregon deserve clean air, healthy homes, and safe water. The climate crisis is already here, and we cannot afford delay or inaction. The Climate Protection Program is critical to delivering a more resilient future for all Oregonians, and it does so in a way that is fair and forward-looking.” – Oregon State Representative Pam Marsh, whose district spans southern Jackson County

“The Climate Protection Program gives Oregon the opportunity not only to help secure a healthy climate future, but also to spur job growth and innovation, to improve public health, and to create cleaner, cheaper, healthier energy and transportation options for Oregonians across the state.” – Oregon State Senator Jeff Golden, whose district includes rural and urban Southern Oregon

Oregon State Senator Jeff Golden

Oregon State Senator Jeff Golden

“It’s no secret that our environment affects our health. From respiratory disorders like asthma to chemical illness and cancer, burning fossil fuels harms Oregonians—Black, Indigenous and Oregonians of color most of all. Not to mention the devastating damage done to our communities by climate disasters like wildfires and floods. The Climate Protection Program is vital to protecting the health of all Oregonians.” – Jesse Beason, President and Chief Executive Officer of Northwest Health Foundation

“The Climate Protection Plan is a significant victory in the fight against climate change, especially for our communities who have borne the brunt of pollution, our health and well-being sacrificed in the name of profit. We’re calling on the Court to stand firm in upholding this vital program, and clean energy investments needed to improve our air quality, our water, our health, and our future.” – Candace Avalos, Executive Director of Verde

“In Eugene, there are working class communities struggling everyday to make ends meet. A successful Community Climate Investment program will lighten the economic load of rising energy costs while helping families install efficient, modern HVAC systems in their homes. Petroleum and natural gas corporations who are suing the state to stop the Climate Protection Program are sending a clear message that their massive profits and political control are more important than the economic security and safety of working Oregonians.” – Lisa Arkin, Executive Director of Beyond Toxics

“Oregon communities and taxpayers should not shoulder the burden of climate change alone, 

especially when major fossil fuel companies continue to profit immensely. By protecting the Climate Protection Oregon, the Court will ensure the path forward to restore the places we call home, support our communities most affected, and pave the way for a healthier, more resilient Oregon.” – Emily Henke, MPH Executive Director for Oregon Public Health Institute. 

“We look forward to the Court considering and dismissing the weak and self-serving arguments of the plaintiffs so all of us — including the industrial polluter plaintiffs — can get out of the courtroom and on with the critical work of reducing Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions. Neither the people of Oregon nor the planet can live with any lesser outcome,” – Angus Duncan, consultant for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

“The costly and harmful climate impacts bearing down on Oregonians underscore the vital need for strong state leadership. Now armed with new investments from the Inflation Reduction Act, Oregon must double-down on doing its part to lower harmful climate pollution through a strong Climate Protection Program. We can’t afford to roll back progress toward building a clean and resilient economy. We need to stand up for the thousands of Oregonians who spoke out in support of the Climate Protection Program.” – Caroline Jones, Senior Analyst for U.S. Climate at Environmental Defense Fund

Be sure to continue following OEC’s newsletters for developments on these lawsuits and the future of the CPP.

OEC’s climate work is made possible by people across the state who care about safeguarding the future. Make a difference. Become a member of OEC today.  

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