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Mayor Hales To Attend White House Clean Power Conference

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales will attend a clean power conference at the White House Monday with 10 other mayors from around the country.

The group will discuss the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to cut emissions at power plants around the U.S.

“We need the President and EPA to set national limits on greenhouse gas emissions," said Hales in a statement earlier this week about the Clean Power Plan. "Then our local efforts to use electricity more efficiently, and get more of it from renewables, can build on those limits and not be undermined by their absence."

Some of the invited mayors also attended the climate change and human trafficking talks at the Vatican with Pope Francis last week. Hales said on OPB's daily talk show, Think Out Loud, that the Pope's remarks on climate change make a case for interrelated problems with the environment and social consequences.

"We heard from climate scientists, we heard from the the Pope himself the very consistent message, which is 'This is really bad, this is really serious, this is a crisis.' But there's still time to make a difference. There's still time to not have this become an environmental apocalypse," said Hales.

While in Washington, D.C., Hales plans to meet with Sen. Jeff Merkley about the senator's proposal to ban Arctic drilling. The meeting comes after the environmental group Greenpeace USA attempted to block Royal Dutch Shell's contracted icebreaker, Fennica, from leaving Portland.

Hales said protests are helpful and also that he agrees that the Arctic should be "off-limits," a message he intends to take to the White House.

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<p>Mayor Hales stopped by OPB on Tuesday&nbsp;to discuss his trip to the Vatican.</p>

Christina Belasco

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Mayor Hales stopped by OPB on Tuesday to discuss his trip to the Vatican.

Lizzy Duffy