Kitzhaber signs order in support of green chemistry
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber put his signature on an executive order Friday designed to support green chemistry in Oregon.
Gov. John Kitzhaber gathered with Oregon business representatives and members of the environmental community Friday morning to sign an executive order calling on state agencies to support the development of Oregon's green chemistry industry through new purchasing policies and program development.
The order, signed at the University of Oregon's White Stag building, identifies green chemistry as a path to improving sustainability across multiple industries while creating jobs.
"By fostering the development of the next generation of green materials, Oregon has the opportunity to demonstrate national leadership and commitment to the quality of life that Oregonians value," the order reads.
The meat of the order is in requiring state agencies to overhaul purchasing guidelines for products including, but not limited to electronics, furniture and building materials to favor nontoxic, greener alternatives. The order also requires agencies to raise awareness and develop programs to nurture green chemistry industries in Oregon.
The Governor will also convene agency leaders to develop an Oregon Interagency Toxic Chemical and Pollutant Reduction Strategy.
Green chemistry has long been identified as an area of economic opportunity for Oregon. It's also an area of collaboration between the state's universities. Supporters applauded the executive order and an official show of support for policies that will support companies that embrace green chemistry practices.
"Gov. Kitzhaber's leadership in advancing green chemistry and promoting its application by the state's agencies is an important step for Oregon," said Jim Hutchison, University of Oregon chemist and a state leader in green chemistry, in a statement. "The executive order will catalyze the development, production and use of greener products and leverage our nation-leading strengths within the state's industrial sector and its universities."
"Oregon is one of only a handful of states that proactively promotes green chemistry practices," said Andrea Durbin, executive director of the Oregon Environmental Council. "Our leaders in business, state agencies and the Governor are to be applauded for their actions and foresight."
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