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2019 Legislation



Thanks to Climate Solutions for a starting point.

Activists ask: Please join us to rally on the Capitol steps and lobby your legislators on February 6 in Salem.

We hope you can join us for lobby day to ensure a strong Clean Energy Jobs bill! Elevate climate action in state government Multiple proposals will be considered to elevate climate action and coordination in state government, offering the potential to transform and strengthen how the state addresses climate change.

Cap climate pollution and invest in clean energy

Governor Brown, and House and Senate Leadership have made passing Clean Energy Jobs a priority. However, opponents are already trying to weaken the legislation before it is even introduced. Your voice is needed to keep it strong.

Our top priority is to finally pass the Clean Energy Jobs bill to reduce carbon emissions economy-wide and accelerate clean energy solutions. The Clean Energy Jobs bill would be the most ambitious climate program in Oregon history, and would finally move Oregon to meet the state’s climate goals. It has been a multi-year effort, and this will be the year we will get it over the finish line.

What makes for a strong Clean Energy Jobs bill?

Important note: The Cap and Invest mechanism is written around a system that is intended to prevent price changes that are “too much”. The scheme used is called allowance reserve and a paper on that subject is available here.

“We believe this approach, which we call an allowance reserve, is particularly promising. The basic idea goes one step beyond the safety valve: while the safety valve stipulates that an unlimited number of allowances be made available at the specified safety-valve price, the allowance reserve stipulates both a ceiling price at which cost relief is provided and a maximum number of allowances to be issued in exercising that relief. Much like a safety-valve mechanism can mimic either a pure price or pure quantity control, depending on how the cap and safety-valve price are set, an allowance reserve can mimic a pure price, pure quantity, or safety-valve approach, depending on how the ceiling price and volume are set.”

  • No new carbon fuel growth should be allowed - that should include export terminals.
  • A hard cap on climate emissions that gets smaller each year until 2050, with an aggressive interim target for 2030 and 2040 that ensures we achieve necessary near-term reductions and stay on track. This must agree with the UNIPCC SR15 target of staying under 1.5 degrees C – or newer recommendations that might come in from future science reports.
  • Credits for Oregon Carbon Market project should be allowed, but highly limited to a small percentage of each company's credits.
  • The largest polluters in all sectors should be held accountable under the cap, including oil companies, large industrial polluters, and utilities. We should expect that before 2030 that we will have found reasons and technology to support including the cement industry.
  • Proceeds from the sale of allowances are reinvested in renewable energy, clean transportation, healthy forests, and other efforts that reduce emissions and benefit Oregon’s communities.
  • The majority of investments must be directed to communities most impacted by climate change, including communities of color, Tribes, rural communities, and low income communities.
  • Investments should also be considered for targeting technology change that allows excluded business to come under the cap in the future. Cement is an example.

What else makes for a strong climate policy?

  • Somewhere, Best Available Science needs to take control.
    • There needs to be an agency that takes responsibility for it.
    • There needs to be someone you can name in a lawsuit when Best Available Science is obviously being ignored.
  • No new carbon fuel growth should be allowed
    • - that should include export terminals.
    • - that should include refineries
  • Land Use Planning for Carbon Sequestration needs to be prepared to start aggressively with as much local community planning as possible.
  • Green Energy Equipment installation needs to be done by growing local, preferably unionized, employees
  • Carbon Sequestration in Forests, croplands and elsewhere needs to be done by growing local skills that are specific to the problems of the local lands.
  • We need a list of Oregon-based species that need protection such as Salmon, Oysters, Shrimp, Clams
    • And we need to recognize that land use permits must not further endanger any of these already-endangered species. For example, Jordan Cove and the Pacific Connector Pipeline clearly endanger remaining salmon in the range of the pipeline, at every stream or river crossing. That needs to be justification for withholding permits.

Oregon Climate Authority and other agency changes:

The Legislature will be considering the Governor’s bold proposal to create a new state agency that focuses exclusively on addressing climate change and the transition to clean energy. Oregon Climate Authority The Oregon Climate Authority would be the first of its kind in the country. Designed well, it would elevate the importance of climate in state government and provide better coordination among state agencies to address the climate crisis.

If the Oregon Climate Authority can be cleaned of the carbon-fuel bias of the ODOE, then it might be the owner for Best Available Science that needs to govern decisions.

Another proposal would bolster the stature of the Oregon Global Warming Commission to become effective advisor to Oregon Climate Authority by providing funds to hire staff (SB 598). It’s not yet clear if or how these proposals will interact, but it’s sure to be an exciting session for the state’s climate governance.

Expand renewable energy

Renewable Energy” is used for all the truely carbon-free energy such as solar, wind, tides, waves, geothermal, etc. but it is also being used to mean non-fossil carbon fuels with the various “surface-cycle” excuses for calling them green. These are NOT GREEN. Their CO2 and Methane are the same as any other. They should only be supported where it prevents venting digester methane.

Good Renewable energy helps reduce emissions, creates local jobs, increases resilience and improves air quality.

Rooftop solar: Over the past five years, the legislature has phased out the tax credit program supporting rooftop solar installation on Oregon homes and businesses. With no state based financial incentives in place, solar installations have dropped dramatically and solar installers have begun reducing staff. House Bill 2618 would create a solar rooftop grant program to reduce the cost of solar system installations for homes and businesses. The grant program would help Oregon’s rooftop solar industry begin to grow again, while reducing carbon emissions, expanding clean energy jobs, and saving consumers money on electricity bills.

Bad Renewable gas and other biofuels: Under current law, utilities that provide gas to our homes and businesses are not allowed to purchase renewable gas if it costs even slightly more than dirty fossil fuel gas. Senate Bill 98 would loosen this requirement and encourage gas utilities to invest in renewable gas from appropriate sources such as dairy digesters and wastewater treatment plants.

On the one hand, digesters that are venting methane to the atmosphere need a solution. On the other hand, deciding it is a good idea to design anaerobic digesters to indefinitely increase the generation of methane is a bad idea. So, this is a mixed bag. Replacing all our fracked methane with digested methane would be wrong, as the prime Decarbonization need is to eliminate carbon pollution, not replace or resource it.

Other Issues

Oil train safety: The Legislature failed to pass protections for our communities from oil train hazards in previous sessions. Transporting oil by rail through our communities is inherently unsafe and bad for the climate and a clear reminder we need to transition away from fossil fuels. While that transport continues, we support legislation (HB 2064 and SB 99) to improve safety standards for oil spills, including requiring railroads to improve contingency plans, carry adequate insurance, and support an emergency response fund.

This is an example of the way in which transported and stored fuels can present enormous risk. One of the ways of dealing with such risk is for the responsible party to purchase in advance hazard bonds that would cover damages in case of an accident.

Fracking and offshore drilling bans: We support legislation that would ban both fracked gas drilling within our state (HB 2623) as well as extending the moratorium on offshore drilling for fossil fuels off the Oregon coast (SB 256). Oregon would be the first state west of the Mississippi to ban fracking, leading the way for other states and continuing its leadership with coastal states to ban offshore drilling. Expand equitable climate action Climate change disproportionately impacts communities of color, native peoples, immigrant and other front line communities, and solutions should address the needs identified by these underserved communities.

Equity in utility planning: Following a deep dive by stakeholders working with the Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) on the future of utilities, the need for utility planning to consider the needs of low income customers arose as a top priority, along with more authority to combat climate change. House Bill 2242 would add equity as a consideration for PUC actions, authorize financial assistance to groups representing low income and environmental justice communities to participate in PUC proceedings, and create a new environmental justice advocate position at the PUC.

Home weatherization incentives: With the elimination of Oregon’s Residential Energy Tax Credit program, the number of homeowners and apartment building owners investing in energy efficiency upgrades like home weatherization has declined dramatically. Proposed legislation would create a new incentive to contractors and building owners to make upgrades to low and moderate income homes.

2019_legislation.txt · Last modified: 2019/02/01 16:53 by admin