Letters: Brown must speak out against pipeline
Gov. Kate Brown's re-election website says she is "Oregon's Progressive Champion" and "She is standing up to anyone who would take our rights away, threaten our access to affordable health care, or pollute our air and water," yet she refuses to speak out against the Jordan Cove fracked gas pipeline.
This proposed pipeline and export terminal would become one of the largest polluters in Oregon, use eminent domain to take property rights from private landowners so a Canadian company could sell cheap fracked gas to Asian markets, disturb Native American territories and burial grounds, and endanger 400 waterways, estuaries and salmon habitat.
And that's the best-case scenario. If there are accidents or mishaps, which are the rule not the exception with pipelines, the damage could be catastrophic. The Democratic Party of Oregon's platform already says it is a legislative priority to keep this fracked gas pipeline from being built, yet our Democratic governor refuses to stand with her party on this issue.
Gov. Brown, you cannot claim to be a "progressive champion" for Oregon and remain silent on Jordan Cove. Will you defend the rights of Native Americans and the health of our environment for current and future generations?
End taxpayer-funded animal experiments
I came to Portland to study animal law at Lewis & Clark Law School, with the hope of using the law to help animals. So for me, the question of whether or not the United States should be doing painful experiments on dogs is an easy one.
And for this issue I am not alone. In 2016, Americans spent $66.8 billion on companion animals and 60.2 million U.S. households contain a dog. Portland is certainly part of America's love of dogs: In one ranking, Portland had the most dog parks per 100,000 residents among the other 74 cities on the list.
All this is to say that for a country that welcomes so many dogs into their homes, I would guess Preventing Unkind and Painful Procedures and Experiments on Respected Species (PUPPERS) Act (H.R. 3197) would be a no-brainer.
The PUPPERS Act would end our taxes from being used to fund experiments at the Department of Veterans Affairs that cause "significant pain or distress to dogs." The bill came about as a result of a report documenting numerous violations of federal animal welfare regulations at the McGuire VA Medical Center (VAMC).
Rep. Dave Brat, R-Virginia, the sponsor of the bill, described revelations in the report as "almost on the scale of torture." And if documentation of animal abuse is not enough to convince you that this bill is a good idea, these taxpayer-funded animal experiments have a greater than 90 percent chance of failing to help veterans.
Revitalize 'left behind' communities
As tax reform moves through Congress with the goal of spurring economic growth, many Americans are still feeling left behind by the economic recovery.
Our recent research shows that these anxieties are not misplaced. Economic well-being varies drastically between communities, often blocks apart from one another. One in six Americans are living in distressed communities nationwide, rural and urban alike.
Luckily, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, is leading Congress to reverse these trends by co-sponsoring the Investing in Opportunity Act — bipartisan legislation designed to inject new life into America's economy by connecting "left behind" communities with long-term private investments.
This legislation will be helpful for Oregon, where almost 6 percent of the population lives in a distressed ZIP code. With tax reform under consideration in Washington right now, supporting the inclusion of the Investing in Opportunity Act is an immediate opportunity to help revitalize distressed communities across the nation.
At a time when the American Dream seems in doubt for many, these policymakers are working to give every community in Oregon the chance to thrive.
The letter's authors are co-founders of the Economic Innovation Group.