Last week, I testified at a virtual public hearing, urging lawmakers not to cut funding for clean air and water, renewable energy, and so many other environmental programs that Oregonians rely on. Lawmakers are expected to be called into a special session in August to make their final decisions. Don’t miss your chance to speak up: let your state senator and state representative know that Oregon can’t afford to cut protections for air, water, wildlife, forests, and clean energy.
Things are tough right now, and, as the pandemic continues, lawmakers are going to have to make some tough budget decisions. But we can’t afford to roll back hard-won environmental protections: our communities need clean air and water now more than ever. This is especially true in low-income neighborhoods, and communities of color, where highways, factories, and other pollutants lead to higher levels of asthma and cancer, and a higher risk of Covid-19 complications.
And we can’t stop working toward climate action, either. Our future–as Oregonians, and even as human beings–is at stake. We need to continue moving forward, building a clean energy economy that will benefit Oregon’s families while reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. And we can’t stop protecting the forests, rivers, and wildlife that make Oregon the place we know and love. The health and resiliency of people and our economy depends on protecting our air, water, and forest ecosystems. Ask your state representative and state senator to balance the budget in a way that doesn’t sacrifice Oregon’s people and places.
Many environmental programs are already so understaffed they can’t achieve the goals they were designed for, like protecting wildlife from poaching, cleaning up our rivers, providing solar energy rebates to low-income families, and so much more.
This year, for example, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department had to lay off 47 people due to lack of funding. By cutting funding even further, and cutting unfilled positions, Oregonians are missing out on so many job opportunities. We could be investing in these programs as a way to ‘Build Back Better’ after the pandemic, offering good-paying jobs in renewable energy, pollution reduction, habitat restoration, wildfire management, and more while creating a better future.
Please send an email to your state senator and state representative today, before it’s too late! The state’s budget will have long-term impacts on all of us. Let’s make sure that our lawmakers are making thoughtful decisions, and prioritizing the health of Oregonians.