Zenith: LUBA Decides, Climate Activists Rally

On Thursday, February 3, the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) issued a final opinion that the City of Portland has the authority to deny Zenith’s application for a Land Use Compatibility Statement (LUCS), directing the City to make additional findings in support of its decision.  DEQ denied Zenith’s air quality renewal application based on the City’s denial of Zenith’s LUCS. Without an air quality permit, Zenith’s current operations should be shut down. 

On Friday, February 4, XRPDX folks and other climate activists issued an Eviction Notice to Zenith in a lively rally. Singing “LUBA, LUBA, oh no, Zenith’s gotta go!” to the tune of “Louie, Louie,” we held space in front of the facility for an hour and attempted to deliver the Eviction Notice. An irate guard refused delivery. 

We do not want Houston-based Zenith Energy to postpone ending their fossil fuel exports by continuing to appeal to higher courts. Portlanders have been very clear in opposition to their multiple threats with dangerous train cars that could derail in the Gorge or within our neighborhoods. Open venting of toxic chemicals affects air quality in N/NE Portland already disproportionately affected by other sources. Tar sands diluted bitumen and shale oil, the products that Zenith ships to SF Bay Area refineries, contribute to climate chaos.

Finally, in the event of an earthquake, the possibility of a catastrophe on the scale of Deep Horizon and Fukushima looms over the city and the region, since the facility is located in a liquefaction zone.

Following the LUBA decision, Portland citizens who have long opposed the multiple threats posed by Zenith’s dangerous operations must pressure the City to defend the LUCS denial through strong additional findings. Zenith’s operations are clearly incompatible with the City’s 2035 Comprehensive plan and livability.

Write and/or call your City Council members today congratulating them on the LUBA decision AND making clear that we are counting on them coming up with strong additional findings. Shut down Zenith!

Contact info:
Mayor Wheeler: mayorwheeler@portlandoregon.gov503-823-4120
Commissioner Mapps: MappsOffice@portlandoregon.gov503-823-4682
Commissioner Ryan: CommissionerRyanOffice@portlandoregon.gov503-823-3589
Commissioner Hardesty: joann@portlandoregon.gov503-823-4151
Commissioner Rubio: comm.rubio@portlandoregon.gov503-823-3008

(Photo credits: Janet Weil)

About Diana Meisenhelter

Diana Meisenhelter has been involved on the Action Team of XRPDX since January 2019.  She served on the National Restructure Working Group proposal for a year and a half.  Active in antiracist, social justice, labor, and environmental organizing since the early 1970s, Diana has over 30 years of experience in movements for justice.

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