What does bike-riding, climate-championing, granola-crunching, weird and wacky Portland, Oregon, have in common with the bleak, smouldering, poisonous mines of Alberta’s tar sands? Well, depending on decisions to be made by Portland’s Sustainability Commission, soon they might share in common an economic interest in exporting fossil fuels from the tar sands to Asian markets.
A proposal to build a $500 million propane export terminal in Portland is being pushed through by the largest pipeline company in the Canadian tar sands region, Pembina Pipeline Corporation, without appropriate citizen input and government oversight. And Portlanders are outraged. A cadre of faith, labor and environmental justice groups, bike riders, “Raging Grannies,” and other protesters say the terminal would threaten Portland’s reputation as an environmental leader and should be rejected.