Oregon leaders denounce Trump order on climate

Major Oregon politicians rejected President Donald Trump’s executive order Tuesday to roll back U.S. efforts to combat climate change.

Gov. Kate Brown joined with the governors of Washington and California — and mayors of five major West Coast cities, including Portland’s Ted Wheeler — in a press release denouncing Trump’s executive order, which the White House says will bring back coal jobs and make the country more energy independent.

“This order moves our nation in the wrong direction and puts American prosperity at risk. We will assert our own 21st Century leadership and chart a different course,” the West Coast officials wrote. “Climate change is one of our greatest threats … Too much is at stake — from our health and safety to our jobs and livelihoods — for us to move backwards.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, San Francisco’s Ed Lee, Oakland’s Libby Schaaf and Seattle’s Ed Murray joined Wheeler and the governors in the news release.

The move came just a couple of days after Brown and Inslee held a press conference in Seattle where they vowed to lead a West Coast resistance to Trump on Climate.

Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley also joined the fray Tuesday, announcing he would re-introduce the Keep It in the Ground Act, legislation that would stop new leases and end non-producing leases for fossil fuel extraction in federal waters and on federal lands.

In addition to unwinding the Clean Power Plan and other climate initiatives put in place by President Barack Obama, Trump’s order lifts a moratorium on new leases for coal mined from public lands, which Obama issued in early 2016.

“It would be a monumental mistake for the U.S. to keep issuing new leases for the extraction and combustion of our citizen-owned gas, coal, and oil,” Merkley said in a statement. “Not only would such leases directly magnify the destruction, but they would also undermine the international leadership of the United States in addressing this threat to our planet.”

Merkley’s senate colleague Ron Wyden also released a statement in response to Trump’s order.

“States like Oregon are leading the way to combat climate change by setting goals to increase renewable energy production,” Wyden said. “I will continue to work toward a low and no-carbon future by increasing energy efficiency, the use of cleaner fuels and renewable energy. And I will keep working to support efforts like Oregon’s to find cost-effective ways of making headway toward a low-carbon economy.