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71% of Oregon voters support legislation to transition from coal to renewable energy

200 Oregonians Rally at Capitol in Support of Coal to Clean Energy Transition

71% of Oregon voters support legislation to transition from coal to renewable energy


Salem, OR – WEBWIRE

Today two hundred leaders from the public health, academic, business, and environmental community traveled to Salem to rally and hold lobby meetings with legislators on this session’s top environmental bills as part of the Oregon Conservation Network’s Clean Green Lobby Machine lobby day. The priority bill for the day was the Coal to Clean Energy legislation, Senate Bill 477 and House Bill 2729, which would move Oregon’s electric utilities Pacific Power and PGE off of coal by 2025 and onto more local clean, renewable energy. 

“Oregon has an obligation, and an incredible opportunity, to stop paying for out-of-state coal that contributes to the increasingly urgent threat of climate disruption,” said Jim Diamond, Ph.D., professor of chemistry at Linfield College. “Legislators should vote for the Coal to Clean bill so that we hold utilities accountable to create a serious regional coal transition plan that reduces climate pollution, and in the process, brings more local clean energy jobs to Oregonians.” 

The Sierra Club, the Oregon Conservation Network, and two hundred clean air and clean energy advocates gathered for a boisterous rally in support of the Coal to Clean Energy legislation, featuring a “tug of war” between clean energy and coal.

“Oregonians have an opportunity to stop paying for out-of-state coal that contributes to heart and lung diseases and climate disruption,” said Dr. Martin Donohoe, physician, adjunct faculty in the Master of Public Health program at Portland State University, and resident of Lake Oswego. “It’s a no-brainer. Our leaders should vote for the commonsense Coal to Clean bill to protect public health and bring more local clean energy jobs to our region.” 

Oregon’s last in-state coal plant is scheduled to retire in 2020. Yet Oregon still gets one-third of its energy from coal, much of that coming from out-of-state coal plants. $295 million leaves Oregon every year to pay for out-of-state coal energy.  

“Oregon has more than 1,000 megawatts of clean energy projects that are already permitted and ready to build,” said Rachel Shimshak, Executive Director of Renewable Northwest. “Removing out-of-state coal from our electricity mix could allow these clean energy projects to be developed, bringing more clean energy on-line that is closer to home, and creating jobs in our state and region.” 

The Coal to Clean Energy legislation, sponsored by Senator Chris Edwards and Representative Tobias Read, will redirect money that currently goes to pay for out-of-state coal to regional clean energy development. The legislation will work to create more local clean energy jobs and protect Oregon’s climate by encouraging coal plant retirements. Recent polling conducted by Strategies 360 shows that 71% of Oregon voters support the legislation. 

“Two hundred Oregonians from the business, public health, academic, and environmental communities traveled to the Capitol on Tuesday because we all recognize that it’s better for our state to create well-paying local solar and wind energy jobs that can support families than it is for us to send our money to out-of-state coal plants,” said Amy Hojnowski, Beyond Coal Senior Campaign Representative, Sierra Club. “By supporting the Coal to Clean legislation, we’re supporting climate action and local clean energy jobs"

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