Fossil fuel transportation just got a whole lot stickier on the west coast, where Portland, Oregon Mayor Charlie Hales and city commissioners passed a resolution to oppose any new infrastructure transporting fossil fuels early last month.
With the resolution in place, as well as another May resolution to oppose an increase in crude-oil carrying trains, the next step for the city to take is to change existing city codes to ensure the projects aren’t built.
Partly behind the anti-fossil fuel regime is the fear that with the Keystone XL pipeline out of the picture, Oregon might be the site of the next battle between anti-tar sands activists and midstream development aspirations.
While drastic, the resolutions come as little surprise, because frankly Portland has been looking for ways to out-eco Seattle for decades and it looks like city leaders saw this as the chance they’d all been waiting for.
In truth, the city doesn’t have the authority to actually ban fossil fuels from moving through the city on road or rail or through the ports. But it does have the ability to ban or limit storage and transport using health and safety regulations.
It is too early to know what sort of effect this stance will have on the midstream space and on regional fossil fuel transportation patterns, but it is a bold move for a city that could stand to reap major economic development benefits by allowing the market to expand as it pleases.