Mayoral candidate Rep. Jefferson Smith (D-Portland) joined the liberal wave of opposition to Oregon coal exports last week when he called for a largely symbolic anti-coal resolution by the City of Portland.
But if he enters City Hall, Smith can expect some largely symbolic opposition.
Steve Novick, who was elected to City Council in the primary, writes in the comments of a WW blog post that he won't support a coal ban.
"A third of America's electricity comes from coal," Novick writes. "The half-million Oregonians who happen to live in the Pacificorp service area get most of their electricity from coal. And of course anyone who drives is getting much of their gas from imported oil. Given that I still drive, and it's only by accident of residence that I don't happen to live in the Pacificorp service area, if I came out against any and all coal exports I'd feel like a heroin addict denouncing drug trafficking."
Novick says he instead supports reducing the city's own fossil fuel consumption.
The commissioner-elect early in his career worked as a lawyer for the U.S. Department of Justice, prosecuting polluters on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He drew fire in the primary for accepting donations from Portland Harbor companies responsible for Superfund cleanup.
UPDATE, 12:45 pm: Novick adds in a text message to WW:
"I should make it clear that I agree that coal is evil. We should be phasing it out. It's this particular proposal, not the general point that coal is evil, that I have issues with."