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OCN Announces the 2015 Priorities for a Healthy Oregon

In News by April Christenson

Today, the Oregon Conservation Network – a coalition of environmental advocates from across Oregon coordinated by the Oregon League of Conservation Voters –together announced their 2015 Priorities for a Healthy Oregon.

“These priorities are the next steps Oregon must take to protect our natural legacy,” said Christy Splitt, OCN coordinator and Oregon League of Conservation Voters External Affairs Director. “Together, OCN will advocate for crucial legislation on a host of issues, from climate change to protecting wildlife and wild places.”

On climate change, with important ties to public health, the coalition will advocate for the removal of the sunset on Oregon’s Clean Fuel Program, encourage passage of legislation to move Oregon off of coal and toward clean energy by 2025, and ensure that any transportation package includes funding for transit operations, safe walking and biking routes, and existing road maintenance.

“Climate change is our top priority this session,” said OLCV Executive Director Doug Moore. “It has to be. Oregonians agree that this is a pressing issue on which Oregon must lead the nation. The Legislature is poised to take that leadership role this session.”

OCN’s other Priorities for a Healthy Oregon revolve around wilderness and wildlife protection.

The coalition has already been hard at work on saving the Elliott State Forest from privatization and encouraging both new ownership and a management plan that preserves old-growth forest, clean water, and crucial habitat. Last month, the Land Board announced that consideration of privatization was off the table.

OCN members are also seeking to reform the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, which faces as $32 million shortfall this session. “It is critical that new investment from the state’s general fund go toward underserved conservation programs,” said Splitt.

As session advances, OCN will share other bills of support or concern via a weekly Hotlist that goes to legislators and the press. The coalition also works to identify bills that would particularly harm the environment, the worst of which become Major Threats to a Healthy Oregon.

More information on the Priorities and on the Oregon Conservation Network can be found at www.forahealthyoregon.org.