- Nuclear Power
- Environmental Health
- Healthy Food
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Addressing climate change is one of the most important public health issues facing us today. Water shortages, increased storms and droughts, rising sea level and increases in ground level ozone are just a few of the ways that climate change will harm Oregonians! Global temperatures have already warmed on average 1.4° F with a minimum of 3° F rise even if we cut CO2 emissions by 80% of 1990 levels as recommended by climate scientists. We are already feeling the increase in rain on the west side of the Cascades with more droughts on the east. Solving the human-induced causes of climate change will improve our health by decreasing air pollution and will help our economy by keeping our energy dollars at home.
Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility believes that the U.S. should initiate an expedited phase-out of all nuclear power. Despite technical advances in running nuclear power plants, the issues of pollution associated with uranium mining, and safe disposal of nuclear waste HAVE NOT changed in 50 years. Nuclear power generation no place in our clean energy future. U.S. nuclear reactors have created 77,000 tons of high-level radioactive waste, leaving us with an enormous toxic legacy that will plague the nation for hundreds of thousands of years. In addition nuclear energy generation is not financially viable without huge federal subsidies, and is in fact the most highly subsidized energy source in the U.S.
In September 2003, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), Chair of the Senate Democratic Task Force on Homeland Security, stated that given al-Qaeda's consideration of U.S. nuclear power plants as potential targets, too little has been done to protect and prevent such an attack. Senator Schumer cited design flaws, insufficient security funding, and delayed analysis of potential vulnerabilities in nuclear power plants.
A secure, sustainable energy policy will rely on a least-cost, environmentally sustainable energy system, based on improved energy efficiency and the full utilization of decentralized energy infrastructure and renewable energy sources.
For more on the dangers of nuclear power, go to the National PSR nuclear energy page.
Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility appreciates the ongoing efforts of Senators Kerry and Lieberman to develop legislation -- the American Power Act (S. 1733) -- that addresses the grave threat to human health posed by climate change.
Some of the provisions in the discussion draft of their bill, however, would fail to protect public health. Until those provisions are improved, it will be difficult for PSR to support this legislation. The provisions of greatest concern include:
Read more about the American Power Act (S. 1733) here.
Nick Engelfried wrote a review of the 2009 Oregon State Legislature’s climate and energy work at his blog, excerpted here:
“House Bill 2186: This bill gave Oregon a low-carbon fuel standard, of the type already being pioneered in California. According to the new law, the life cycle greenhouse emissions from a gallon of gasoline sold in this state must be reduced by 10% by the year 2020.
“Senate Bill 101: A bill pushed through the legislature partly thanks to climate champion Bill Cannon (D-East Portland), this one sets an “Emissions Performance Standard” for new power plants which puts a VIRTUAL BAN ON NEW COAL PLANTS in this state. New power plants in Oregon will be required to produce no more emissions than a combined cycle natural gas plant
“House Bill 2626: This bill sets up programs to fund energy efficiency projects in Oregon, including projects in low-income areas. HB 2626 was widely seen as a “green jobs bill,” and the bill passed unanimously, 57-0.
“Senate Bill 79: This bill sets statewide codes to increase the energy efficiency of new buildings. The efficiency of non-residential buildings must be increased 15-25% by the year 2012, with residential buildings increasing in efficiency by 10-15% over the same time span.
“In addition to passing these pieces of legislation, climate activists in Oregon scored another major victory in the defeat of House Bill 3058 – a bill that would have eased the way for construction of dirty Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) infrastructure in Oregon.”
In 1993 Portland became the first U.S. city to adopt a plan to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. In 2001, Multnomah County joined these efforts creating the Local Action Plan on Global Warming, outlining an aggressive goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions to 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2010. Check out the Portland Global Warming Progress Report 6-2005 to see how this plan is already making a difference.
For more information on this program, please contact:
812 SW Washington Street, Suite 1050
Portland, OR 97205
Call your Senators and Representatives today and ask them to support these actions.
Congress switchboard in D.C. toll free # is 1-800-828-0498 or 1-877-851-6437 -remember that calling is better than emailing!
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