Community Groups Vow to Keep Pushing For Fossil Fuel Policy in Portland

SALEM, OREGON — Today, the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) ruled that Portland’s Fossil Fuel Terminal Zoning Amendments, passed unanimously in December of 2016, is inconsistent with the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Portland’s fossil fuel policy intended to prevent new major fossil fuel infrastructure projects in the City. LUBA dismissed many of the other arguments brought by the oil industry and the Portland Business Alliance against the City’s policy. LUBA’s ruling is likely to be appealed to the State Court of Appeals.

Photo by Rick Rappaport

“While we are disappointed in the decision, we will work to secure a policy that protects Portland and our climate from reckless fossil fuel projects like coal and oil train terminals,” said Dan Serres, Conservation Director for Columbia Riverkeeper. “The people of Portland overwhelmingly supported this policy and strong climate action. We will not be dissuaded by the fossil fuel industry’s attempt to put our communities and climate at risk.”

“The Portland Business Alliance should be ashamed at their attempt to undercut Portland’s role as a leader in moving towards green energy and a safe community,” said Micah Meskel, Conservation Field Coordinator with the Bird Alliance of Oregon. “Although some of their members claim they to want to see the Paris Climate Accord upheld, the PBA chose to align itself with extreme fossil fuel interests. The people of Portland will continue to push against them to enact strong policy to protect our community.”

“It’s an absurd and incorrect conclusion that Portland is powerless to protect its residents from dangerous fossil fuel infrastructure,” said Nicholas Caleb, Staff Attorney at Center for Sustainable Economy. “We will continue to fight to make sure Portland’s residents and environment are protected from the risk of spills, explosions, derailments, and pollution that are inherent in the dirty practices of the fossil fuel industry.”

“While this decision is a temporary setback for the the health and safety of the most vulnerable among us – low-income communities, communities of color, children, and the elderly  – we’ll continue work to implement bold actions and protect the climate that sustains us,” said Regna Merritt, Healthy Climate Director at Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility.

“The grassroots will continue to fight to protect our communities and our climate. Preventing new fossil fuel infrastructure projects is the only known way to stop catastrophic climate change while protecting the health and safety of our local communities from dirty fossil fuels,” said Mia Reback, organizer with 350PDX. “We are committed to defending this policy and upholding municipalities’ ability to act.”


Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Bird Alliance of Oregon, Columbia Riverkeeper, and Center for Sustainable Economy are represented in this case by the Crag Law Center, a nonprofit public interest environmental law center.


Founded in 1902, Bird Alliance of Oregon is one of the oldest conservation organizations in the nation. It promotes the understanding, enjoyment and protection of native birds, other wildlife and their habitats through its conservation and environmental education programs, its 150-acre Nature Sanctuary and Nature Store in northwest Portland, and its Wildlife Care Center.

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