For nearly 50 years, Oregon Environmental Council has found collaborative, innovative and effective solutions to Oregon’s environmental challenges. Our work has ensured that Oregonians live healthier lives because our air, water and land are cleaner; our food is more sustainably produced; and the products, energy and transportation that make our lives possible are safer for our environment and climate.
Back in 1968, a group of ordinary citizens came together to form the Oregon Environmental Council. These were PTA and garden club members, outdoor enthusiasts, conservationists and other folks who believed they could get more done to protect the legacy of a clean and healthy Oregon by working together.
Some accomplishments for 2015-2016 are listed below.
You can also See the OEC Top 10 2015-16
- Oregon will be coal-free. Oregon became the first state to take legislative action to go coal-free. As a founding member of the Renew Oregon coalition and a lead advocate for this legislation, OEC is proud of our role in ensuring that by 2030 our state will no longer produce or purchase electric power made with coal. This landmark law ensured that dirty, coal-fired power will be replaced with clean, renewable energy–making Oregon’s electricity mix one of the cleanest in the world.
- Oregon’s children will be safer. OEC successfully championed the Toxic Free Kids Act. This powerful law requires manufacturers of children’s products to disclose the known toxic chemicals in the products they make for children and—most importantly—to replace the chemicals most likely to harm the youngest Oregonians with safer alternatives.
- Oregon’s air will be cleaner. OEC championed Oregon’s Clean Fuels Standard, which provides drivers across Oregon with a cleaner choice of fuels, improving air quality and protecting our climate. This law removes the carbon pollution equivalent to 1.5 million cars from our roads over the next ten years while curbing emissions of harmful air pollutants like benzene and arsenic.
- We’ve harnessed $1.5 billion in purchasing power for green. OEC created the Healthy Purchasing Initiative to increase market demand for safer, less-toxic products. Counties, cities, large institutions and even the State of Oregon have improved their purchasing practices, harnessing over $1.5 billion of market demand. Now OEC is assisting state advocates from California to Connecticut to adopt this model for action across the country.
- Our buildings are more energy efficient. OEC joined business partners from across the Portland metro area in advocating for the city’s new energy disclosure benchmarking. Now, commercial buildings must track their energy performance, while buyers and sellers will have a fuller picture of energy usage in buildings and incentives to increase efficiency—all while cutting Portland’s carbon footprint.
- We promote environmental justice. OEC serves on the Governor’s Environmental Justice Task Force; provides resources to communities of color on environmental health issues; and advocates for social and environmental justice initiatives that protect communities directly impacted by climate change and air pollution, including improved transit options for youth and reductions in diesel exhaust.
- We’re cleaning rivers. Working with partners in the Clackamas River Basin, we have engaged nursery operators and Christmas tree growers in a series of trainings and workshops to reduce their use of harmful pesticides. Now, levels of toxic pesticides are going down in this vital river, which serves as a drinking water source for 400,000 people in the Portland metro area and is the region’s last salmon stronghold.
- Oregon businesses are leading on climate change. Over 500 Oregon businesses in over 60 cities across the state–companies like Intel and the Portland Trail Blazers–have publicly recognized the critical need for action on climate change through the Oregon Business Climate Declaration. OEC helped build this growing coalition of companies that recognize Oregon must act to reduce carbon pollution and protect our state’s natural legacy.
- We’re growing the tent. One thing that makes OEC effective is that we never work alone. OEC brings together partners from across the state and from areas as diverse as agriculture, health care, tech and manufacturing. We meet with legislators on both sides, securing bill sponsors from across the political spectrum. Right now we’re convening a table of powerful non-profit allies, legislators and decision-makers to develop and implement solutions that will protect our most precious resource: Oregon’s water.
- Our endowment is 100% impact-driven. OEC’s endowment funds have begun to change corporate practices from the inside out. By investing with Trillium Asset Management, OEC supports shareholder advocacy to improve the environmental and social practices of public corporations. We have put our money and name behind proposals for major natural gas producers to track and disclose their rogue methane emissions while, at the same time, securing stronger methane emissions rules at the EPA. Our shareholder engagement is also focused on transparency and disclosure of corporate political and lobbying contributions that undermine environmental protection.
BONUS: Last but not least: We are recognized as one of Oregon’s top nonprofits to work for by Oregon Business magazine.