Supporting Portland’s Fossil Fuel Limitations

by | Climate, Fighting Fossil Fuels

On December 18, 2019, the Portland City Council voted unanimously to re-adopt a city ordinance restricting fossil fuels. Portland’s Fossil Fuel Ordinance prohibits new bulk fossil fuel terminal development and restricts expansion of existing terminals within Portland. Large-scale fossil fuel emissions are the leading cause of the climate crisis, which has drastic stakes for the future of our planet.

This ordinance is a proactive step by the city government that acknowledges the risks that fossil fuels pose to the safety, health, and livability of the city in light of earthquake risk and train derailment/spills, and the contributions to climate change, and pollution from the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels.

The readoption of the ordinance came after the decision was remanded by the Oregon LUBA in 2017. On remand, the City adopted additional findings to address its comprehensive plan policies and provided and analyzed additional evidence to support its decision to adopt the ordinance.

Portland Tank Farm

Following the City’s rea-doptiong of the ordinance local and national business and petroleum industry groups appealed the zoning amendments for a second time. Crag again intervened on behalf of our clients to support the City of Portland in defending the zoning ordinance. LUBA again remanded to the City to make additional findings with respect to several policies in the City’s new comprehensive plan.

The Portland City Council is expected to initiate the process for addressing those issues and re-adopting the fossil fuel ordinance in Fall 2021. Throughout this process, Crag will continue our representation of coalition groups to provide testimony and evidence in support of Portland’s ordinance before the City Council and to ensure the City properly cures any technical defects with the ordinance, so that it may be quickly and effectively implemented.

Our work in defending Portland’s ordinance and building a collaborative relationship between the grassroots coalition and government officials has positioned us to take on the significant challenge of addressing fossil fuel infrastructure in Portland and throughout the region.


What's at Stake


As we know, fossil fuel emissions are the leading cause of the climate crisis. The creation and expansion of these large scale fossil fuel projects directly contribute to climate change through the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels. 

Community Health

Fossil fuel projects threaten the health and safety of the surrounding communities. The exposure to toxic substances from fossil fuel fumes, dust and other pollution is linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems. There is also the risk of accidents such as train derailment and spills. 

Team Effort

Our clients and partners include Columbia Riverkeeper, Audubon Society of Portland, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Center for Sustainable Economy, and 350PDX

Our clients’ ultimate goal is to see Portland’s fossil fuel ordinance serve as a model for other local communities and to protect the ability of Portland and other local governments to enact laws and policies to combat climate change and protect the safety and well-being of their residents. Building upon the successes and lessons learned from the campaign for Portland’s fossil fuel ordinance, we will work with our clients and other coalition partners to support similar proactive policies to prevent new fossil fuel infrastructure investment in Pacific Northwest communities.


Explore the City of Portland’s webpage on Fossil Fuel Terminal Zoning Amendments

Read what Columbia Riverkeeper posted about the ordinance here

Read a more in depth post here.

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