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Sierra Club’s Clean Energy Solutions Campaign in Oregon

Sierra Club’s Clean Energy Solutions Campaign in Oregon

The Sierra Club is working hard to move Oregon and the nation past our dependence on fossil fuels and towards clean energy solutions to create green jobs and clean up our environment. Human-caused climate change is a significant threat to Oregon's beloved mountains, rivers, forests and coastline, but we do have the ability to implement solutions that will move our economy forward while protecting our environment.

The Oregon Chapter Sierra Club has been a leader in efforts to reduce dependence on burning coal for electricity, in creating green jobs through weatherization and energy conservation, and supporting the smart development of renewable energy.

Energy Efficiency and Conservation

Energy efficiency and conservation are key ways to reduce our use of fossil fuels for heating, cooling and electricity. By working to pass legislation to incentivize weatherization in homes, businesses, and municipal buildings, we can substantially reduce energy consumption while helping create high quality jobs across the state. In 2010, the Sierra Club participated in the implementation of Clean Energy Works Portland, a project to weatherize 500 homes across the city while sustaining and creating high quality local jobs.

Read about our successful efforts with our partner organizations to drive demand for energy efficient home retrofits through community-based organizing in Portland's Cully neighborhood.

Changing the Climate in Cully

In 2011 we will continue to work to expand weatherization efforts across the state, while working to support new efforts in the Oregon legislature to weatherize schools and other public buildings.

We are continuing to partner with the Laborer’s Union, community organizations and home performance contractors to advance energy efficient home retrofits through Weatherize for Good, and through Clean Energy Works Oregon.


Moving Oregon Beyond Coal

Boardman Coal Plant

PGE Boardman Coal-Fired Power Plant

Most Oregonians don't realize that over 40% of our electricity comes from burning coal. Over the decades, the environmental costs of burning coal have been tremendous: from harmful mercury and haze emissions that have damaged our water and air quality, to acid rain and staggering emissions of greenhouse gases responsible for accelerating global climate change. For environmental and public health reasons, it's simply time to move beyond coal.

Between 2008 and 2010, the Sierra Club spearheaded the campaign to secure a closure date for Portland General Electric's Boardman coal fired power plant, Oregon's single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and harmful air pollution. The plant is now slated to close no later than 2020, while being forced to install interim pollution controls for mercury, sulfur dioxide and other harmful emissions. Through ongoing legal action, the Sierra Club hopes to see this plant retired even sooner than 2020 and transitioned to cleaner energy sources.

The coal for the Boardman plant is mined in the Powder River Basin on the Montana/Wyoming border, where Portland General Electric and Oregon's second largest utility, PacifiCorp, own stake in the harmful Colstrip coal fired power plant. PacifiCorp additionally operates coal plants in other western states, powering Oregon homes with coal mined and burned in places as far away as Utah.

Preventing Massive Coal Exports to Asia

Most recently, ports along the Columbia River have become the site of possible coal export terminals, which would ship millions of tons of Powder River Basin coal to China, undermining the Pacific Northwest's efforts to reduce pollution from coal fired power plants. Mercury emitted from existing coal fired power plants in China is already finding its way into Oregon's rivers, streams and fish. Through the work of the Sierra Club, citizens across the region are making a coal free Northwest possible.

Learn More about Coal Exports

For more information on how to get involved in these efforts, please contact: Cesia Kearns.