2021 Environmental Scorecard for the Oregon Legislature

A NOTE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

The 2021 Legislative Session was unique. Certainly the pandemic will be front and center, along with the memories of our Capitol’s hallways empty and constituents testifying via computer screen. But, the Session will also be defined by the increasing impact climate change is having on our health, our families, our communities, and our state.

At the beginning of the 2021 Legislative Session, we saw a record-breaking ice storm that left hundreds of thousands without power for days, and, at the end, we saw a record-breaking, deadly heat wave that killed hundreds of people. We remain in a dangerous, sustained drought, and we have now added a fifth season to the calendar: wildfire smoke season. Could the need for climate action be any more clear?

Heading into the 2021 Legislative Session, climate change was certainly at the top of our list of key priorities. The Legislature agreed, and together with our champions, partners, and advocates, we saw an entire suite of climate legislation – Oregon’s Clean Energy Opportunity – pass, including legislation that requires 100% Clean Energy by 2040.

In the wake of the devastating wildfires of 2020, working to protect homes and communities was high on the list as well, and there, too, we saw important legislation pass. In fact, there were wins across several key areas, though most importantly on the budget. For the first time in many Legislative Sessions, we saw significant additional investment in key state agencies.

However, we still see too many excellent bills and concepts left by the wayside. And again in 2021, we saw powerful interests derail key environmental priorities, including reforming the Oregon Forest Resources Institute, protecting farmworkers from heat and poor air quality, and an expansion of the Toxic Free Kids Act.

Since the 2021 Legislative Session wasn’t marred by walkouts to stop action on climate like in 2019 and 2020, we are able to return to our normal scorecard format this year. We also had more votes to score than in many recent Legislative Sessions, which is another positive sign that our work is having an impact.

Climate, the environment, and justice are important issues, and I’m glad the legislature is giving them the attention they need – and deserve. And for that, I thank you for your support, engagement, and activism. OLCV members, volunteers, partners, and allies have made this possible through hard work and persistence.

It’s never easy, but, together, we make great things possible.

Doug Moore
OLCV Executive Director

 
 

About OLCV

The Oregon League of Conservation Voters is a non-partisan organization with a simple mission: to pass laws that protect Oregon's environmental legacy, elect pro-environment candidates to office, and hold all of our elected officials accountable.

For more information about OLCV, visit our website at olcv.org.

About the Scorecard

For more than 40 years, OLCV has protected Oregon's natural legacy. An essential part of our work is holding our elected officials accountable. The OLCV Environmental Scorecard is not only one of our most important accountability tools, but also a tradition. The first scorecard was published in 1973.

By sharing how each member of the Legislature voted on the most critical conservation bills, we help Oregonians understand whether legislators listened to their constituents, or if they listened to special interest groups instead. It also serves as a summary of environmental bills and includes special recognition of the legislative champions.