2022 Program Agenda

Each year, Environment Oregon sets out goals for the legislative session and beyond. In addition to helping us measure our progress, our program agenda lets decision-makers know which high-priority environmental items our members want us to tackle.

Wildlife Over Waste
Nothing we use for a few minutes should pollute the environment and harm wildlife for  hundreds of years. Plastic pollution is creating an environmental disaster for ocean wildlife:  plastic and other marine debris kills millions of sea turtles, seabirds and marine mammals every  year. Plastic also contributes to climate change at every step of its lifecycle, from production to  pollution. It’s time to move beyond single-use plastic by getting rid of the most harmful waste,  and stopping the use of things we truly don’t need. 

That’s why Environment Oregon supports: 

  • Strong implementation of Oregon’s new producer responsibility law. A recently passed law seeks to incentivize producers to reduce their use of packaging and build products that are less hazardous, built to last, and are easy to recycle or reuse by requiring that producers are responsible for some waste costs associated with their products. Environment Oregon will be watchdogging the process to ensure it’s implemented as strongly as possible.
  • Updating the administrative rules to allow Oregonians to bring their own reusable containers and produce bags to grocery stores and restaurants. 
  • Local action to address plastic waste. Cities and counties have a critical role to play in the reduction of single-use plastics.
  • Truth in labeling. We support the prohibition of the sale of products in Oregon that make misleading or deceptive claims about recyclability. 
  • Bottle Bill expansion. We support Senate Bill 1520, which would include wine in a can under Oregon’s Bottle Bill and make improvements to the program. 

More Nature 
Every minute, America is losing two football fields worth of forest, meadow, grassland, desert, beachfront, riverside or wetland. This continuous loss of nature diminishes not only the richness of our natural world, but also of our own lives and that of our children’s future. We will be advocating for more nature wherever we can. 

Environment Oregon supports House Bill 4130, a bipartisan bill that would invest in wildlife crossings to make it safer and easier for wildlife to move around their habitat.

Bring the Sea Otters Back
Sea otters are one of the most beloved animals on earth. Unfortunately, more than one hundred years ago, people hunted sea otters to near-extinction off of the Oregon coast. We, along with our ocean, are still paying the price. Without otters around to keep them in check, purple sea urchin populations have exploded in recent years, mowing down critical kelp forests and creating a nearshore wasteland where few other species can survive. Without kelp, many fish and sea creatures are left without shelter, habitat, or their primary food source, and our ability to fight climate change is hindered. Environment Oregon supports efforts underway to reintroduce sea otters to the Oregon coast, to help bolster the endangered species and restore the health of the kelp forest ecosystems.

Destination: Zero Carbon
Electric vehicles will transform our electric grid, reduce air pollution and carbon emissions, and break our transportation system from its oil addiction. Environment Oregon supports initiatives to rapidly expand our electric vehicle charging station infrastructure throughout the state, and the electrification of public transit vehicles and school buses.

Clean, All-Electric Buildings
We have the ability to harness clean, abundant energy from the sun, the wind and the earth, and to fully repower our society with 100 percent renewable sources. But to make that future a reality, we need to electrify our buildings, so they get their energy from clean technologies like solar panels and wind turbines rather than fossil fuels. 

Environment Oregon supports House Bill 1518 in the 2022 legislative session, which would allow Oregon cities to opt in to stronger energy efficiency building standards to reduce climate and air pollution.

Fossil Fuel Free
Even as global warming accelerates, it appears that the major oil, gas and coal companies are sticking to business as usual. Fortunately, it also appears that a growing number of investors understand that the industry’s business model is incompatible with what scientists are telling us we must do to slow global warming. That’s why we’re supporting the fossil fuel divestment movement.

Environment Oregon supports House Bill 4115, which would improve transparency from the state Treasury by requiring a public annual accounting of investments under its management so Oregonians can see if their funds are in climate risky investments, and makes public any climate risk assessments conducted by the Treasury. 

Clean Air, Healthy Communities
Oregon’s clean air laws lag behind nearly every state when it comes to diesel pollution, and the Portland metro area is in the 95th percentile for diesel particulate exposure nationally. Diesel pollution contributes to climate change and exposes Oregonians to increased risk of health threats, including heart attack, stroke and cancer. Environment Oregon supports efforts to limit the aggregate air pollution emissions from facilities and properties that attract trucks, buses, trains and ships, which is currently only being applied to new construction sites. 

Get the lead out
Lead is a potent neurotoxin that affects how our children develop, learn, and behave. Yet across the country thousands of tests are showing lead in the drinking water at schools, pre-schools, and/or child care centers. Environment Oregon supports policies that get the lead out of water at school and early childhood programs.

Right to repair
We generate way too much waste, and companies use their power in the marketplace to make things harder to repair. This only adds to the amount of waste going to landfills. We support legislation that gives every Oregonian and every small business access to the parts, tools, and service information they need to repair products.

Save the Bees
Bees are dying off at an unsustainable rate, with serious consequences for our natural world. They play a vital role as pollinators, and losing them would have a devastating ripple effect across all ecosystems. That’s why we’re working to expand bee habitats and stop the use of bee-killing pesticides.

Healthy Farms, Healthy Environment
The term “Oregon farms,” elicits thoughts of our state’s core values: small farms, clean air and water, and healthy local food. Unfortunately, in recent years, mega-dairies have been moving into rural Oregon and polluting the air with dangerous gases including methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, and contaminating surface and groundwater with nitrates, pharmaceuticals, and pathogens. We support stopping the expansion of mega-dairies in Oregon. 

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

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Celeste Meiffren-Swango

State Director, Environment Oregon

As director of Environment Oregon, Celeste develops and runs campaigns to win real results for Oregon's environment. She has worked on issues ranging from preventing plastic pollution, stopping global warming, defending clean water, and protecting our beautiful places. Celeste's organizing has helped to reduce kids' exposure to lead in drinking water at childcare facilities in Oregon, encourage transportation electrification, ban single-use plastic grocery bags, defend our bedrock environmental laws and more. She is also the author of the children's book, Myrtle the Turtle, empowering kids to prevent plastic pollution. Celeste lives in Portland, Ore., with her husband and two daughters, where they frequently enjoy the bounty of Oregon's natural beauty.

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