Victories for energy justice
This past week, it’s likely you have learned the essentiality of a cool home. With record-setting temperatures in Bend that are becoming the new normal, we need to create resilience to these extreme weather events and we need to transition to emission-free, clean electricity so we’re not contributing to these devastating impacts. There’s good news though. Oregon just passed the Energy Affordability Act, 100% Clean Energy for All, Healthy Homes bills.
Positive benefits of these bills include allowing for the reduction in energy costs for low-income Oregonians and greater participation in energy decision making for front-line communities; transitioning Oregon’s two largest utilities to 100% clean energy electricity; investing $50 million into community-based renewable energy projects like disaster-resilient battery and microgrid projects to sustain access to electricity during extreme weather events; and creating a home repair grant program for low-income renters and homeowners to receive fixes and upgrades in energy efficiency, smoke filtration and home hardening.
This victory is the result of countless hours spent by front-line communities across Oregon. Rural, coastal, low-income and communities of color — those feeling the first and worst impacts of climate change — led the way on writing, advocating and passing these bills. I contributed as a member of the Oregon Just Transition Alliance along with folks from Bend to Coos Bay, Portland to Lakeview and Ontario to Phoenix.
Amidst record heat and an early wildfire season, these victories are good news for Oregonians, and demonstrates the power of front-line communities coming together for energy justice.
— Priscilla Calleros, Bend
Getting people vaccinated still matters
Dr. H.D. Kelley and Kim Gammond’s recent letters in support of the COVID-19 vaccine and medical innovation are worth a reread in the wake of Oregon’s reopening. First, reopening is great news for all Oregonians, especially businesses that struggled during the pandemic. Second, Gammond is 100% right, COVID-19 is not over. An outbreak recently swept through the child care my kids have attended since they were babies. The exposure caused multiple infections amongst kids and family members. The center closed for two weeks.
We all felt the blow of the COVID-19 exposure whether, we contracted the virus or not. Oregon’s overdue reopening comes as news of a more infectious strain of the virus gains steam, and while COVID-19 vaccination rates are dipping. To those not yet vaccinated, I would ask them to think about others for a moment. Think about child care centers full of the youngest kids who aren’t eligible to get vaccinated yet, and other small businesses. They are all just one exposure away from having to reimplement safety protocols or shutting their doors and wonder if they’ll be able to reopen.
To those who got vaccinated, thank you. You helped move us closer to a post -pandemic normal. And, to our federal leaders, please think about the importance of medical innovation and medical research before passing legislation that could put in policies like price setting that could hamper both. Medical innovation and our collective spirit will get us through this, and we cannot let up on either right now.
— Jennifer Stephens, Redmond
Ensure sequestration works
Jay Feinstein has made a great point about carbon sequestration in a recent letter to the editor. In many if not most instances, it is unproven and is the most subjective of the programs proposed by carbon price legislation. However, its inclusion, when actually doable, can assist in the reduction of carbon. Let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water here; let’s, however, insist on the effectiveness of a sequestration process before allowing it as part of a carbon price program. Thanks, Jay.
— Brenda Pace, Bend