Article II. Natural Resources Protection and Recovery — Platform of the Multnomah County Democratic Party

PREAMBLE

Our shared natural resources: the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land we stand on are the lifeblood of our county and our planet. We and other species and whole ecosystems that are sustained by these precious resources are now under serious threat due to human-induced global warming. Without protection and recovery of our shared natural resources, humanity will experience the destruction of its own habitat. There are no economic or legal standards that prevent an economy from destroying the natural resources needed to sustain itself. Oregon can and must assert vital leadership on the global stage to inspire others to join us in the protection, preservation, and recovery of our planet’s natural resources by developing a body of law to protect the Rights of Nature.

PLANKS

  1. We support instituting a body of law establishing the Rights of Nature to protect natural resources.
  2. Historic racism and systemic environmental injustice have consistently hurt Oregon’s and the planet’s Tribes, communities of color, and the economically vulnerable first and worst. Future legislation and policy must correct this by creating a just transition to address climate change and protect the most vulnerable.
  3. We support creation and application of a binding climate test to all permits and public spending. The test must include financial accounting and reporting rules to disclose known liabilities attributed to risks from climate change impacting natural resources. This must be in the form of a new state environmental policy act.”
  4. Legislation to mandate actions guided by best science is the only effective option to preserve, protect and recover critical natural resources.
  5. Oregon’s forests must be protected, restored and managed for public benefit rather than short-term profit and must employ climate resilient practices.
  6. Oregon’s living soil resources must be protected and restored to sequester carbon and improve food quality and production, minimizing and ultimately eliminating the use of pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers to protect our water, soil and health.
  7. Oregon’s agricultural communities must be incentivized to transition to local organic and regenerative farming and ranching practices.
  8. Oregon should establish itself as a global leader in waste reduction and recycling.
  9. Oregon must protect remaining wetlands to ensure habitat for migrating birds and other wildlife as well as providing crucial water storage.
  10. We oppose privatizing public water resources.
  11. We support providing incentives and mandates to speed up the adoption of advanced technology and infrastructure necessary for rapid transitioning to zero Green-House Gases emissions that is consistent with the best science.
  12. We support issuing State stop work orders against every carbon fuel infrastructure project regardless of permit status, justified by home rule principle.
  13. Oregon must protect public and environmental health from toxins from industry, agriculture and forestry.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION ITEMS

  1. Work with legislators to create a Declaration of the Rights of Nature to establish guiding principles for laws to protect our natural resources and require State agencies to modify practices accordingly.
  2. We support the implementation of the Portland Clean Energy Fund along with the passage of similar initiatives in other cities.
  3. We support passage of state legislation to change our goals for economy-wide reduction of Oregon’s Greenhouse Gas emissions to net zero by 2050 and at least 50% reduction by 2035.
  4. We support legislation to document and mitigate negative impacts to Oregon’s food production, such as removal of land from farming use, support for family farmers and other threats.
  5. We support legislation to study the impacts of climate change on Oregon’s croplands, rangelands and ranchlands.
  6. We support the development and passage of a Forest Protection and Restoration Act that will:
    • Eliminate clear-cut forestry on all publicly held and managed lands and maximize climate resilient management.
    • Eliminate all tax incentives to industrial forests not employing climate resilient management practices that re-establish multi-species and multi-aged forests, including protecting riparian areas that will lower stream temperature for fish habitat, restore intact functioning watershed areas, reduce landslides, protect municipal water supplies, and restore floodplain functioning to Oregon’s rivers and streams. Maintain incentives and subsidize independent landholders who engage in these practices.
    • Reduce roads in forests.
    • Develop and implement treatments to restore healthy forest soils.
    • Accelerate programs to reduce and eventually eliminate forest stream passage barriers in Oregon.
    • Re-evaluate the property tax structure for Oregon’s commercial forests.
  7. We support the development and passage of a Soils Protection Act that will incentivize a transition in Oregon’s agricultural sector from practices that compact or erode existing soil resources, mine soil organic matter and kill soil-borne biota, to restorative practices that reduce soil compaction and erosion, contribute organic material to soils, and re-establish and allow native soil biota to flourish.
  8. We support legislation to regulate agricultural practices, such as concentrated animal feed operations that are major sources of air, water and ground pollution as well as greenhouse gas emissions as an industrial source of pollution.[1]
  9. We support the development and passage of waste reduction and recycling legislation that will:
    • Ban non-recyclable materials and minimize packaging waste.
    • Incentivize technology and infrastructure to increase product reuse and recycling in Oregon, with the target of establishing a zero-waste society.
  10. We support the development and passage of legislation to strengthen protections for wetlands and streams and prevent the privatization of public water resources.
  11. We support the development and passage of legislation to provide mandates and incentives to:
    • Expand public transportation systems
    • Advance an early transition to electric and zero-emission vehicles
    • Advance weatherization and structural improvements in existing buildings
    • Support implementation of solar energy production.
    • Advance new net-zero-energy buildings and methane-free new construction.
    • Incentivize energy efficiency in Oregon’s industries
    • Improve tree canopy and rooftop plantings where possible in all urban areas to reduce heat island effect.
    • Require that electricity be produced entirely by renewable sources by 2040 and require net zero carbon building codes by 2030.
  12. We believe that Oregon should identify and clean-up all existing toxic waste sites, and work with our industrial, agricultural and forestry sectors to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of toxic chemicals
  13. We support product stewardship programs for all manufactured products (require companies to manage discarded items) to encourage better life cycle management of consumer goods and packaging, where possible, and to reduce planned obsolescence and toxic items.
  14. We support incentives and programs that encourage local food production through edible landscaping, community gardens and small orchards.
  15. We call for just economic alternatives for carbon dependent communities.
  16. We support a ban for any new fossil fuel infrastructure.

[1] A concentrated animal feed operation is an agricultural enterprise where animals are kept and raised in confined situations where more than 1,000 animal units are confined on a site for more than 45 days of the year. Any CAFO that discharges manure or wastewater into a natural or man-made ditch, stream, or other waterway is defined as a CAFO, regardless of size. https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/plantsanimals/livestock/afo/