Zenith Again!

Thanks to the good work of Breach Collective and several journalists, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests proved that the City of Portland was in conversations with Zenith Energy through the summer and fall of 2022.  This was in spite of the active lawsuit making its way through the Oregon courts.  

Our climate coalition was rightfully outraged when the City reversed course in October 2022 and granted a Land Use Compatibility Statement to Zenith based on Zenith’s promise to move to renewable fuels in five years. The FOIA requests revealed notes from meetings and emails documenting the ongoing communication between Zenith and the City.  Because Zenith had sued the City and there were other parties (intervenors Columbia Riverkeeper and Willamette Riverkeeper) to the lawsuit, Zenith and the City acted in a legally questionable way by engaging in “ex parte” communications while making this backroom deal. 

After analyzing the information from the FOIA documents, a number of organizations wrote to DEQ Director Leah Feldon, outlining why the City’s LUCS process was legally insufficient and encouraging DEQ to deny Zenith the air quality permit based on that insufficiency.  She recently responded claiming that DEQ did not have the authority to deny the permit.  Many more organizations, including XR PDX, are signing on to a follow up letter rebutting that claim.

The Emerging Coalition of groups working on Zenith and the CEI hub are continuing to organize and work to get the DEQ permit denied.  Join us in raising your voice! We have a number of opportunities coming up in November:

  1. Turn out on November 10th at 3 pm for a Rally Against Portland’s Climate Villains at City Hall.  
  2. Come to the next Rumble on the River, November 16th at Havurah Shalom, to hear the latest and write comments to DEQ.
  3. Come out to the Environmental Quality Commission meeting on November 17th to testify and show that the community does not want this permit issued. 
About Margaret Butler

Margaret Butler was born and raised in Portland and spent 40 years in the labor movement. Upon retirement, she embraced climate justice activism with Climate Jobs PDX and XRPDX.


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