REMARKS AS PREPARED
Governor Kate Brown
Oregon Environmental Protection Act Announcement
October 3, 2018
I am honored today to be here with the Oregon League of Conservation Voters and the Oregon Environmental Council. They are relentless advocates for Oregonians and the environment that makes our state so special.
And today, we are standing together to take the next step in preserving the beauty and bounty of Oregon for future generations.
Oregon has a long tradition of being on the forefront of environmental stewardship. Many say that it all began 56 years ago when a television reporter named Tom McCall stood in front of this river and hosted a documentary called “Pollution in Paradise.” With arresting images of dying fish and bubbling water, he exposed the businesses that dumped thousands of gallons of toxic waste into the Willamette.
People were so moved not just by his words and passion, but by the reality of what was happening to our river, that a host of environmental regulations were ushered in and polluters were shut down. Years before much of the rest of the country took the same actions. And that’s why today, we can all swim in the Willamette without fearing for our health. And it’s also a big reason that four years later, Governor McCall became one of Oregon’s most beloved Governors.
And today, we are standing together to take the next step in preserving the beauty and bounty of Oregon for future generations. To again cement Oregon’s place on the cutting edge of environmental stewardship.
Oregon’s clean air and water are part of what makes our state a great place to live, work, and play. Unfortunately, the Trump administration has relentlessly attacked environmental safeguards that keep our communities healthy and vibrant.
The Trump administration has reversed course on 46 landmark environmental regulations.
They have cleared the way for coal mines and oil wells on public lands.
They have eliminated the Clean Power Plan and set our national energy policy back by years.
They have taken a back seat to the rest of the world and left the Paris Climate Agreement.
Leaving us to stand alone, while every other country in the world moves forward in meeting the challenges of climate change.
And the list goes on and on.
We cannot and I will not stand idly by.
Today, I am announcing my plan to adopt the standards of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act into state law.
Lest you think this is a radical idea, the Clean Air Act was signed by President Richard Nixon on December 31, 1970. President Richard Nixon recognized the Clean Air Act as a beginning, saying at the time, "I think that 1970 will be known as the year of the beginning, in which we really began to move on the problems of clean air and clean water and open spaces for the future generations of America."
Once the legislation I am proposing passes, Oregon will be able to continue to move forward on this promise. And the Trump Administration won’t be able to let polluters profit at the expense of our children’s health.
People flock to our beautiful state for more than our majestic mountains and natural beauty-- they come to put down roots to build their families and their lives. That’s because we value our environment.
Oregon’s safeguards of our water and our air are something that is celebrated in every corner of our beautiful state. From the Rogue River to the Wallowas. From the Alvord Desert to the mouth of the Columbia. Urban and rural. Republican and democrat.
We must protect these Oregon values.
And these traditions.
In addition to crafting this legislation, here is the second important part.
I’m calling on my colleagues across the country to take the same action.
As states, we can take a leadership role in preventing the erosion of core laws that protect our environment.
Together, states must stand up to the Trump administration’s continuous attacks on our health and environment.
We deserve better.
Our kids and their kids deserve better.
It depends on us. Over the past two years Oregonians have witnessed an unprecedented and aggressive attack on clean air standards and clean water standards.
In Oregon, that rollback stops now.
Under my leadership, Oregon will stand for clean air and clean water, and we will defend the health of our children and our children’s children.