Oregon Students Demanded Climate Change Action From Governor Kotek

On Friday (April 21) morning, students concerned about climate change in Oregon rallied to urge Governor Tina Kotek to prevent fossil fuel businesses from extending their operations in the state.

Zenith Energy, a single oil transportation firm, operates 22 fossil fuel storage facilities throughout North America, one of which is a terminal at 5501 NW Front Ave. in Portland. The business said the Portland terminal houses conventional petroleum products and alternative fuel.

However, according to the Breach Collective, a climate justice group, most of the crude oil that the corporation keeps isn’t utilized in Oregon. Many locals, the group claims, have pushed against Zenith Energy’s storage facilities because of the risks they pose to the environment, including the potential for railway derailments and dangers in liquefaction zones0.

Oregon Students Demanded Climate Change Action From Governor Kotek

Zenith Energy had its application for a Land Use Compatibility Statement from the City of Portland’s Bureau of Development Services refused in August 2021. Despite the company’s desire to “pursue a clean energy future,” the city ultimately authorized its LUCS in October 2022.

Students in Oregon are also protesting TC Energy, another energy firm. TC Energy plans to increase the fracked gas transported via the Gas Transmission Northwest pipeline by 150 million cubic feet daily.

The Breach Collective asserts that TC Electricity’s GTN XPress project will “lock the Northwest into expensive fossil fuel energy for decades, impact the health and safety of nearby communities, continue fracking on Tribal lands, and exacerbate the climate crisis.”

Politicians in Oregon, including Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, have spoken out against the project. Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington has also urged the FERC to reject TC Energy’s application.

The latest news on events at Oregon State is as follows:

Students from the Deschutes Youth Climate Coalition and the Portland Youth Climate Strike are now lobbying on Gov. Kotek to take action in line with Inslee’s. Leaving the Oregon Convention Center at 11 a.m. on a Friday, they shouted and marched to Pioneer Courthouse Square.

“Because Kotek is so early into her term in office, she can have her agenda center climate justice in a way we haven’t seen before,” said Jacob Glass, a senior at Ida B. Wells High School. “She has the opportunity to be a climate leader, and this is the time for her to make that decision on whether she will stick to the status quo of climate inaction or be the climate champion Oregon needs.”

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