A report published by The Natural Research Defense Council (NRDC) informed the public that The Oregon Legislature voted on March 3, 2016 to eliminate coal generation from the state’s future and committed to supply at least half of their electricity from renewable resources by 2040. The report, “Oregon Legislature Delivers a Big Clean Energy Win!” by Noah Long of NRDC and Angus Duncan of the Oregon Global Warming Commissions Chair, relayed to the public that this new legislation “[W]ill make Oregon’s energy among the cleanest in the country, and puts the state in the growing top tier of renewable energy standards, along with California, New York and Hawaii.” Regional and national environmental groups worked with Portland General Electric and Pacific Power as well as the state’s utility consumer advocate to support this bill. Unlike in other related circumstances, environmentalists worked one on one with power plants in order to strive for a cleaner future.
This positive move towards a cleaner environment is something the news media should cover. The report finds that, “Reducing the amount of electricity generated by burning coal also will help avoid the worst effects of climate change– which could have huge financial and health costs to households in the state.” In other words, eliminating coal and advancing towards a future of renewable energy resources will benefit public health and wealth.
Authors Long and Duncan go on to state, “If we needed another reminder of the risks of failure, just last week there was news that sea levels were rising faster than at any time in the last 2,800 years; and that this effect, as so many others, is traceable directly back to ballooning carbon emissions.” The effects of carbon emissions are very serious and they won’t go away until we eliminate coal power generation. Oregon’s success is a model for other states. Unfortunately, not many people know about this story because it was mostly only reported on environmental news sites. The general public tends to view corporate mass media. Some independent media outlets mention the story but don’t go into great detail, while corporate media seem to neglect the topic all together.
“Oregon Legislature Delivers a Big Clean Energy Win!” National Resource Defense Council, March 3, 2016, https://www.nrdc.org/experts/noah-long/oregon-legislature-delivers-big-clean-energy-win
Student Researcher: Nicole Nordahl (Diablo Valley College)
Faculty Evaluator: Mickey Huff (Diablo Valley College)