With county officials mailing ballots in just a few short weeks, leading environmental advocates are urging support for Jeff Merkley:
An open letter to our fellow Oregonians,
In Oregon, we are ahead of the curve in forward thinking ideas to protect the environment. Our proud legacy is rooted in good ideas that become the envy of others across the nation, such as our bottle bill, universal beach access, and sensible solutions to urban growth that protect farm and forestland.
We believe that as Oregon's next United States Senator, Jeff Merkley will foster this environmental legacy and take action to protect and restore our state's natural heritage for this and future generations. The son of a mill worker, Jeff understands that a good economy and a healthy environment go hand in hand.
We applaud Jeff for all that he has done to maintain and improve our quality of life in Oregon. As Speaker of the House, Jeff helped pass one of the nation's strongest renewable energy standards, historic new recycling programs, new programs to reduce toxic pollution of our rivers, and new measures to protect farm and forestland from urban sprawl. He achieved these victories with superb leadership, organizing, and negotiating skills, grounded in a strong vision of a better Oregon. He will take these skills and values to Washington D.C, and we are excited to see him flourish on the national stage.
There are many environmental values we share with Jeff. Below are a few of the issues we are confident he will pursue when he is in the Unites States Senate.
Global warming is the most pressing problem facing our state, nation and planet. Receding glaciers and shrinking mountain snowpack, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, increasing rates of severe forest fires, and dramatic weather changes threaten our way of life and will directly affect Oregonians in the years to come.
We agree with Jeff's four-part plan to reduce global warming pollution, which includes auctioning of pollution permits for an 80 percent pollution reduction by 2050. This ensures that polluters pay to reduce pollution and allows Oregonians to invest in global warming solutions such as energy efficiency.
The energy crisis creates many challenges. With the cost of gas skyrocketing, our overdependence on fossil fuels is threatening public health and challenging families' and businesses' ability to make ends meet. We agree with Jeff's solution - a renewable energy standard of 25% by 2025 an increased gas mileage standard to curb our dependence on fossil fuels, and transportation and land use choices that can reduce our need to drive.
Oregon is home to awe-inspiring natural landscapes, including stunning shorelines, dramatic stretches of high desert, ecologically critical wetlands, undersea wonderlands, and lush temperate rainforests. We believe that Jeff will work hard to protect natural areas, such as supporting the establishment of additional Wilderness, Wild & Scenic Rivers, special areas in our oceans and other special management areas that protect and sustain Oregon's natural resources.
Spectacular old-growth forests define Oregon. Mature and old-growth forests are sources of clean water, wildlife and inspiration, which also help sequester tremendous amounts of carbon dioxide annually and mitigate global warming.
We believe that there are abundant and diverse restoration needs on federal forestlands that can create jobs in rural Oregon while conserving and restoring our magnificent forests and watersheds. We agree with Jeff's belief that Oregon's remaining ancient forests should be permanently protected for future generations.
The Oregon coast is one of our state's most beloved destinations and one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, but our oceans just off shore are in jeopardy, with marine mammals, fish, birds and critical habitat threatened by past overfishing, population increase, coastal development, pollution, and global warming. We are confident Jeff will support proactive and sustainable protections for our oceans and fishing-dependent communities, including protected areas in our oceans that help the ocean heal itself and protect its natural ability to produce more and bigger fish. Jeff understands the importance of continuing Oregon's legacy of land stewardship so that our children can continue to use and enjoy this valuable landscape.
Wild salmon are an icon and a valuable economic resource of the Pacific Northwest. Unfortunately there are many challenges facing this iconic species, such as habitat destruction, insufficient stream flows, poor water quality, and dams that lack adequate fish passage. We are confident that Jeff will do everything he can to preserve and restore wild salmon populations for this and future generations and to ensure the economic certainty that restoring these populations will provide. For example, we agree with Jeff's pledge to allow science, not politics, to determine the best approach for protecting our salmon, including the option of removing the four lower Snake River dams if the science shows it is needed.
Livable cities are a primary reason people like to live and work in Oregon and sustainable transportation systems, including alternatives to driving, are critical for Oregonians to get to school and work and run basic errands while avoiding the rising cost of gas and the growth in greenhouse gas pollution from driving. Jeff understands that attractive cities must offer good living conditions with roads that are safe for pedestrians, bikers, and cars. Jeff knows that mass transit options must be available to allow people to move about the city with ease. We know that while in office Jeff will pursue sensible land use and transportation policies.
Jeff Merkley will prioritize environmental issues and will serve us well in the United States Senate. As leading environmentalists, we sign this letter with pride and hope that others will join us. Please express your support for Oregon by going to www.JeffMerkley.com.