Climate Emergency

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April 18, 2022 - Sine Die

Back to Full Legislative Report

Climate Emergency Highlights

National, Regional, and Oregon CE News Highlights

Clean Energy

Floating Offshore Wind (FOSW) Climate Protection Program

Clean Buildings

Transportation

HCR 203

Jordan Cove Energy Project Forestry

Our Children’s Trust (OCT) and Other Climate Lawsuits

Volunteer Opportunities


Coordinator: Claudia Keith

Team: Julie Chapman, Shirley Weathers, Cathy Frischmann, Josie Koehne, Kathy Moyd, Robin

Tokmakian, Nancy Rosenberger and Greg Martin


Climate Emergency - Mitigation and Adaptation - Highlights and Priority Bills


CE Priority Bills – Passed and signed by the Governor


establishes and expands permanent state Environmental Justice Council and develops an environmental justice mapping tool to help state agencies develop policies and programs that alleviate burdens and yield environmental benefits for vulnerable and highly impacted communities. Fiscal $.8M. The bill had a historic bipartisan effort, major celebrated win for Oregon; one of two states in the nation with this kind of EJ legislation.


  • HB4058 (League testimony) and SB1536 (League testimony) w merged into Emergency Heat Relief for Communities and for Renters. Protects communities from extreme heat events by distributing energy efficient air conditioners and electric heat pumps, prioritizing low-income and environmental justice communities. Protects renters from extreme heat events by removing barriers to installing air conditioners, providing funding for electric heat pump installation by landlords, and establishing community cooling centers. Fiscal $34M


  • SB 1518 Reach Code, an optional energy efficient building code. (League testimony). Gives cities and counties the choice to adopt the state’s “Reach Code” as their mandatory building code; via an amendment, was replaced with a building decarbonization task force. Fiscal $179K. Expect the 26+person Task Force to propose a new bill for 2023 or 2024 session.



CE Priority Bills that died in Committee


  • SB 1534 Oregon Global Warming Commission‘s Natural & Working Lands - Carbon Sequestration League Testimony. Expect this bill to be reintroduced next session.


(Find additional information on CE bills below)


Oregon, Global, National, Regional CE News Highlights

By Claudia Keith

Oregon’s Climate Action Plan Update: Environmental advocates track Oregon’s progress on climate goals | OPB-Think Out Loud. At Least Three Lawsuits Filed to Challenge Oregon’s Climate Protection Program (DEQ CPP) Rules| SLC. Oregon report details dehumanizing experience of farmworkers during COVID pandemic. | OSUtoday. After two-year review, Oregon’s climate change strategy must be more aggressive, committee says |OCC. Biden's boost for mineral mining splits Hill climate hawks.| E&E News. NW Natural Lies About Pollution – Eugene Weekly ( The Gas Index). Oregonians perceive greater risk than benefit from natural gas exports in the state, OSU study finds.|OSUToday. Offshore Wind Development in Oregon: A Status Report | Marten Law LLP - JDSupra


IPCC Report: Tick, tick, tick : The latest IPCC report argues that stabilizing the climate will require fast action - Emissions must peak by 2025 for the world to have a chance of meeting the Paris goals.| The Economist. We have the tools to save the planet from climate change. Politics is getting in the way, new IPCC report says. |PBS. Analysis: What the new IPCC report says about how to limit warming to 1.5C or 2C .| Carbon Brief.


One Big Detail Could Derail Northwest’s Clean-Energy Goals. |INVW. Report to California Legislature: Prepare for sweeping effects of climate change. |IJPR. PACIFIC NORTHWEST STATES PAID $700 MILLION FOR RUSSIAN OIL LAST YEAR ALONE -Cascadia’s oil imports and Russia’s war. |Sightline Institute.


President Biden’s FY 2023 Budget Reduces Energy Costs, Combats the Climate Crisis, and Advances Environmental Justice. | White House. 3 takeaways from Biden’s energy plan. | EENews. Here’s what Biden’s budget would do, and not do, for climate change - The president’s federal spending proposal for the next year contains almost $45 billion to deal with global warming. We looked at the details. | NYT


Clean Energy

By Kathy Moyd, Greg Martin


All the Clean Energy bills followed by the League were passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor.

HB 4058 and SB 1536 respectively, were merged into SB 1536, thus providing cooling for renters and vulnerable homeowners either with temporary air conditioners or installed heat pumps. Testimony for HB 4058 and SB 1536 had been provided while the bills were separate. The combined bill provides $34 million to protect Oregonians during extreme temperature emergencies: $25 million for heat pump installation and associated home upgrades, $5 million for air conditioner distribution, and $4 million to operate community cooling and warming centers.


SB 1519 A, Property Tax Exemption for Community Solar Projects was supported by League Testimony agreeing that the proportion of a community solar project owned by residential customers or leased by residential subscribers should receive a property tax exemption just as certain alternative energy systems already receive one. The measure has minimal fiscal impact; the revenue impact statement projects a loss of $3.5 million to local government and schools through the 2025-27 biennium.


HB 4059, which contains fixes for the large-project labor standards in HB 2021 (2021) was amended to remove the requirement for apprenticeship programs on renewable energy generation, sequestration or storage facility projects other than community solar between 2 and 10 megawatts capacity. League testimony had supported the lower value on all projects. The bill has no revenue impact and limited fiscal impact.


SB 1567 requires an owner or operator of a large bulk oil or liquid fuels terminal in Columbia, Multnomah, or Lane County to conduct a comprehensive seismic vulnerability assessment and provide a mitigation plan. In addition, the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) is required to develop an energy security plan evaluating the ability to recover from physical threats including a magnitude 9.0 Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake or cybersecurity threats. The League provided testimony. A Ways and Means amendment provided $712,318 for the 2021-23 biennium. The fiscal impact statement estimated costs of $4.2 million for the 2023-25 biennium: $1.6 million general fund, $1 million federal funds, $1.7 million from fees submitted by terminal owners/operators.


Floating Offshore Wind (FOSW)


League members have been concerned about the speed with which the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has selected the three call areas for lease sales for Floating Offshore Wind. Additional discussion may be found in the Coastal Issues Section of the Natural Resources Report.


With respect to clean energy, our major concern is that the existing transmission lines on the coast and connecting inland cannot support the planned 3 Gigawatts of FOSW. The analysis presented at the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) public meeting on April 7 was done assuming five substations spread along the full length of Oregon up to Astoria could be used; however, the three call areas selected by BOEM are within reasonable distance of only the two southernmost substations.


Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), which provides the coastal transmission lines and most of the power used on the coast, provided comments at ODOE’s request before the call areas had been selected. Even with the full set of substations they stated: “The transmission network on the Oregon Coast was designed for local deliveries to meet load service, and comprehensive transmission planning studies need to be performed for determining (a) the amount of offshore resources that can be interconnected using the existing system, and (b) what transmission system reinforcements are needed for integrating large offshore resources and exporting that power to major load centers east of the cascade range.”


Suggestions were made at the April 7 meeting for using the excess renewable electricity locally including the generation of hydrogen; direct air capture of carbon dioxide, becoming more critical based on the latest IPCC assessment; and desalination, which may be more important as the water supply decreases with climate change. But use of renewable electricity to quickly replace fossil-fuel generated power and support the increasing electrification of transportation and buildings is essential.


Climate Protection Program


Oregon’s natural gas utilities, Northwest Natural Gas, Avista, and Cascade Natural Gas, and separately several business associations, including Oregon Farm Bureau, Oregon Business & Industry Association, Oregon Manufacturers and Commerce, and Alliance of Western Energy Consumers filed lawsuits on March 18 against the Environmental Quality Commission of the Department of Environmental Quality challenging Oregon’s first greenhouse gas regulatory program, known as the Climate Protection Program (CPP). The petitions do not explain what allegedly is illegal about the CPP rules but cite a statute that allows a court to invalidate agency rulemaking if it is unconstitutional, exceeds the agency’s authority, or was adopted in a procedurally deficient way. Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) published an article about the suit.


League members were involved in the year and a half development of the program initially designated as “Cap and Reduce” under Executive Order 20-04, which survived several court challenges. The Executive Order specified that agencies should reduce greenhouse gas emissions while staying compatible with existing legislation. During the development process, the Department of Environmental Quality made significant efforts to stay within their legislative boundaries despite public pressure. Fortunately, the passage of HB 2021 (2021), 100% Clean Energy, solved one of the key issues: excluding natural-gas power plants from the Program.

Clean Buildings

By Julie Chapman, Kathy Moyd

The League submitted testimony in support of SB 1518 to adopt a construction Reach Code to reduce building emissions by at least 10% below the base code. The bill was amended to establish a Task Force on Resilient Efficient Buildings to identify and evaluate policies related to building codes and building decarbonization for new and existing buildings that would enable this state to meet greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals while maximizing additional benefits, such as increasing energy efficiency, improving resilience against climate change, improving public health and air quality, reducing the percentage of household income that goes toward energy costs and mitigating the displacement and other impacts that result from wildfires, heat waves and other climate change events. A Ways and Means amendment provided the amount of $279,359 to support the Task Force.


Transportation

By Julie Chapman, Kathy Moyd

HB 4139 requires ODOT to establish a pilot program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by means of replacing or substituting certain materials used in constructing or maintaining the state transportation system The League joined environmental, materials manufacturing, and contractor associations to testify in favor of the bill. The bill also establishes the Medium and Heavy-Duty Electrification Charging Fund for a grant program to support medium and heavy-duty zero emission vehicle charging and fueling infrastructure projects. An amount of $15 million was appropriated by Section 397 of HB 5202 (the omnibus budget bill) to the Department of Environmental Quality for the Medium and Heavy-Duty Electrification Charging Fund.


Bills followed by LWVOR that didn’t pass

HCR 203

By Shirley Weathers


Through HCR 203, Rep. Alonso Leon sought to address and protect outdoor frontline workers from health and safety risks due to the hazardous impacts of climate change. Deaths have occurred, but also health impacts and injuries. Many of these workers are farmworkers, but also included are utility, construction, and others. Oregon Occupational Safety and Health (Oregon OSHA) has implemented temporary rules to protect these workers, but sponsors and advocates believe additional measures are needed. HCR 203 outlines the extreme conditions caused or exacerbated by climate change, such as wildfire smoke and excessively high temperatures. It declares the intent of the Legislature to work towards reducing the risks to worker health, safety, and well-being and outlines some measures to protect them. LWVOR expected to support, but the bill never emerged from House Rules.


Other Climate Emergency Issue

Jordan Cove Energy Project

By Shirley Weathers


Victory secured at last! After 15 years of tenacious opposition by a large and varied coalition including the League of Women Voters (four Local Leagues and the League of Oregon), the Jordan Cove LNG and Pacific Connector Pipeline Project is finally dead! On January 25, 2022, the last step remaining to declare total defeat of the project occurred: The Court of Appeals of the DC Circuit issued an order dismissing challenges to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) March 2020 authorizations for the project and allows FERC to vacate those authorizations. More specifically, the court granted FERC’s request to dismiss the petitions filed last year challenging these critical permits by the State of Oregon, affected landowners, the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw and Cow Creek band of the Umpqua Tribes, and environmental organizations.


Forestry

By Josie Koehne


Please see the Natural Resources portion of this report for more information.



Our Children’s Trust (OCT) and Other Climate Lawsuits

By Claudia Keith


Youth file lawsuit against state of Utah for failing to address the climate crisis | Utah Public Radio. Baltimore gets venue win in climate case against Exxon, BP | Insurance Jr & Reuters. Why 2022 Will Be a Banner Year for Climate Litigation in Europe | Law.com International


Mark Your Calendars

By Claudia Keith


Attend as a League Observer, interested citizen, and/or view recorded agency and commission meetings, including new reports and studies.



Agency and Commissions

By Claudia Keith


Find updates across many agencies: State of Oregon “Action on Climate Change”.

Find weekly 2022 updates: Oregon Greenhouse Emissions Program, and DOE weekly blog updates, and New Oregon Dept of Energy (ODOE) Report. DEQ Director Whitman Report (4/5/22). Governor Brown’s Climate Policy Reporting.



Climate Emergency Team Volunteer Opportunities

By Claudia Keith


Please consider joining the CE portfolio team. We lack volunteers in these critical policy areas:

1) Natural and Working lands, specifically Agriculture/ODA, 2) Clean Buildings, 3) Public Health Climate adaptation, 4) CE related Regional Solutions Infrastructure, 5) State Procurement Practices (Dept. of Admin. Services), 6) CE Portfolio State Agency and Commission Budgets, 7) Oregon Treasury: ESG investing/Fossil Fuel divestment, 8) Join Julie, DOT/Transportation with a focus on DLCD/LCD Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities – a major program across multiple agencies. 9) Climate Related OSHA Regs and 10) a priority focus on a just transition, Climate and Environmental Justice. We all collaborate with Natural Resource and Social Policy Action members on many Climate Change mitigation and adaptation policy topics. Please write to lwvor@lwvor.org.