Big Oil and Gas Threaten Community Self-Determination with New State Preemption Legislation

Oregon HB 2480 would expressly preempt local governments from any
authority over the transportation or storage of fossil fuels.

Legislation That is Part of a Pattern of States Denying Local Democratic Rights

Wednesday, February 9, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Mary Geddry
[email protected]
541-551-1492

CORVALLIS – HB 2480 was introduced in January by Oregon House Representative Bentz on behalf of Pac/West. The aim of HB 2480, as summarized on the Oregon State Legislature website, is to, “Preempt city, county or other local government from enacting charter provision, ordinance, resolution or other provision regulating expansion of infrastructure for primary purpose of transporting or storing fossil fuels.” The bill currently sits in the House Committee on Energy and Environment.

Pac/West is a corporate public relations and lobbyist firm based in Salem, Oregon. The organization has been assisting in advancing pro-drilling agendas in Colorado over the last four years.  Colorado fracked gas would be transported through the Oregon Pacific Connector pipeline/Jordan Cove export terminal if that fossil fuel project were to be operationalized.

In December 2016, Portland banned any new fossil fuel storage facilities as well as the expansion of existing facilities through a zoning law.

Coos County will be voting on Measure 6-162 in May which would secure a Right to a Sustainable Energy Future that would prohibit unsustainable fossil fuel projects like Jordan Cove. Columbia County is currently circulating an initiative petition to be on the November ballot for a similar rights-based law as Coos County.

Under HB 2480 no communities – city or county – could adopt such laws as Portland, Coos, and Columbia, and the new law would presumably nullify any existing local laws found to be in conflict.

Pattie Gouveia, co-lead on the YES on Measure 6-162 campaign in Coos County, stated, “The transportation, storage, and burning of fossil fuels is absolutely a local issue, whereby the local must be able to assert the greatest authority about what happens in the community. HB 2480 is just another example of the Oregon legislature advancing corporate interests by denying local democratic rights.”

In addition to recent federal executive orders, applauded by the fossil fuel industry, to continue with the build out of the Dakota Access Pipeline and reactivate the Keystone XL Pipeline, the industry has also been moving legislation and litigation to suppress local control in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and Colorado in order to advance infrastructure expansion of pipelines, drill wells, and post-drilling waste storage.

“HB 2480 violates not only our right to a healthy climate by accelerating the burning of fossil fuels, but it also violates our right of local self-government. If we, where we live, don’t push for a sustainable energy future, one that doesn’t include fossil fuels and corporate control of energy, who will?”, says Nancy Ward from Columbia County Sustainable Action for a Green Environment.

“GMO seed, annexations, rent control, minimum wage, pesticides are just a few examples of how the state, on behalf of corporations, has commandeered legal authority over our Oregon communities. We have state laws here in Oregon that forbid communities from legislating on any of these issues where it comes to advancing greater health, safety, and welfare protection. HB 2480 is merely the latest on a long list of corporate fed actions by the state to keep communities and the people that live there contained and controlled,” says Dana Allen, board member of the Oregon Community Rights Network.

The Oregon Community Rights Network launched a constitutional amendment effort through Oregonians for Community Rights in 2015 that would secure the right of local community self-government against such preemptive actions of HB 2480.That amendment is currently being blocked for further petition circulation by the state.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

To learn more about the ORCRN please visit www.orcrn.org. Information on Coos County and Columbia County community rights efforts: www.cooscommons.org and https://www.facebook.com/ccsage.org/. More on Oregon’s Right of Local Community Self-Government constitutional amendment: http://oregoncommunityrights.org/amendment/

ABOUT THE ORCRN – OREGON COMMUNITY RIGHTS NETWORK
The ORCRN is a 501(c)(3) made up of community rights activists from various communities in Oregon. The mission of the ORCRN is to support and empower communities to secure local self-determination and and self-governance rights, superior to corporate power, in order to protect fundamental rights, quality of life, the natural environment, public health, and safety.

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