October 30, 2020

Dineen O’Rourke, Campaign Manager, 350PDX 631-830-7478, dineen@350pdx.org

Youth Activists Deliver Letter to Governor Brown, Oregon Department of Energy from 14 Organizations, Demanding Action Against Major Fracked Gas Project

Salem, OR – Today, a group of youth-led activists delivered a letter from 14 conservation and climate justice organizations across Oregon to Governor Brown and the Oregon Department of Energy, asking for immediate action to be taken to address illegal site work at the Perennial Wind Chaser fracked gas facility in Umatilla County. In September, the developer of the facility began illegal road work to facilitate a 415 MW fracked gas power plant without a construction stormwater permit.

The letter, signed by 14 organizations, was delivered in person by a group of activists from 350PDX and Sunrise Movement PDX during a socially-distanced, masked, COVID-19-safe visibility event with hand-painted banners that read “Gov Brown: no new fracked gas power plant” and “the climate crisis is here.” 

“It is unbelievable and insulting that Sumitomo Corp, the company behind the Perennial fracked gas plant, began building the illegal road for this polluting gas facility while our state was on fire, while millions of Oregonians were breathing in the worst air quality in the world, and while thousands of people were losing their homes.” stated Ben Stevenson, a youth organizer with SunrisePDX. 

“If Governor Brown wants to be seen as a climate leader, she must use her authority to stop this project from being built and becoming one of our state’s top five polluters,” stated Aurelia, a 13-year-old organizer with SunrisePDX. “There’s no more time for deliberating; our entire futures are on the line.”

Governor Brown has previously expressed that all energy facilities in Oregon must follow state law, which includes adhering to siting rules and obtaining required permits, such as a construction stormwater permit, prior to beginning construction. In a rush to meet a construction deadline and to avoid seeking a site certificate amendment, Perennial did not obtain a construction stormwater permit before beginning work on a road for its proposed 415 MW fracked gas power plant. The rushed road work broke the law in an attempt to allow Perennial to avoid paying higher state carbon emission fees that EFSC established in June 2020, in response to Governor Brown’s Executive Order 20-04. Additionally, Perennial lacks an air contaminant discharge permit from the DEQ for the power plant itself. 

“We pushed for the Energy Council to strengthen and uphold its greenhouse gas standards, yet here they have allowed a fracked gas polluter to sneak around Oregon’s rules and laws, all in the midst of our region living through the impacts of the climate crisis firsthand,” said Dineen O’Rourke, Campaign Manager of 350PDX. “It’s time for Governor Brown to step in and stop this would-be polluter from undercutting Oregon’s climate goals.”

“It is extremely frustrating to see the Oregon Department of Energy and the Siting Council disregard their own rules in favor of a major fracked gas power plant that would clearly set Oregon back in meeting its climate goals at a time such as this,” said Sophia Truempi, a student at the University of Portland. “We demand that Governor Brown use her power to uphold the law and Oregon’s climate goals.”