April 19, 2021 - Week 14
By Claudia Keith Climate Emergency Coordinator and Climate Emergency portfolio team members: Julie Chapman, Shirley Weathers, Cathy Frischmann, Josie Koehne, Kathy Moyd, Robin Tokmakian and Greg Martin
Climate Emergency Highlights and Priority Legislation (Claudia Keith)
Please contact your Representative and Senator and ask them to support these three Climate Emergency Priority Bills. (Find Your Legislators)
1) 100% Clean Energy HB 2021 is now in House Revenue awaiting additional policy changes.
2) HB 2475: The Oregon Energy Affordability Act has moved to the Senate, League Testimony
3) HB 2842 Healthy Homes passed out of policy committee, referred to Joint W&M. League Testimony
A formal OCAP (Oregon Climate Action Plan) Coalition Progress report was formally released March 29. This coalition was formed after Gov Brown ‘s March 2020 Carbon Policy Executive Oreders, more information at Renew Oregon and OCAP update interview on NPR. The recommended OCAP Coalition budget items, which cover 10+ state agencies find HERE.
Mark your calendars:
-Joint Ways and Means April Public Hearings by Congressional District, details HERE.
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission April 23 Public Hearing: ADAPTING TO CLIMATE AND OCEAN CHANGE REPORT :“Update on
Implementing Executive Order 20-04 - Directing State Agencies to Take Actions to Reduce and Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions” and “Climate Adaptive Inland Angling Policy Framework” More info HERE
-Oregon Global Warming Commission met April 16, 2021, see the CE LR Forestry Report.
-Oregon Dept of Lands and Conservation Development:
Climate-Friendly and Equitable Communities, Rulemaking Effort Seeks Your Guidance. e info HERE
-Oregon Regional Solutions $40M may be approved by the Legislature this session. See NR Report: Possibility of major Infrastructure Investments by Region – join the conversation via Public Hearings.
Please consider following this infrastructure funding topic,sign up HERE
-Oregon Environmental Task Force April 20 Meeting
Global/National/Federal Updates (Claudia Keith)
Opinion: Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR.), OPINION CONTRIBUTOR “It’s Time To Declare A National Climate Emergency”. “ Scientific American and other major outlets “ We Are Living in a Climate Emergency, and We’re Going to Say So… given the circumstances, Scientific American has agreed with major news outlets worldwide to start using the term
“climate emergency” in its coverage of climate change. An official statement about this decision, and the impact we hope it can have throughout the media landscape, …”.
Biden's Earth Day Summit aims for Reset on Climate Change. New Zealand to launch world-first climate change rules. Report, Biden plans Big Pledge on U.S. Emission Cuts… Climate ambition. Interior Secretary Haaland revokes Trump-era orders on Energy. New York Magazine’s David Wallace-Wells Testifies Before the Senate on Climate Change.
Scientific American (SA): Climate Emergency Stymies Forecasts of Local Disaster Risks-After a record-setting year for hurricanes and wildfires, the insurance industry is grappling with the role of our climate emergency in estimating local disaster damages. Carbon Pricing refuses to go away. NATURE: Will the U.S. make its most dramatic climate pledge yet? President Joe Biden is preparing to announce the country’s commitment to slashing emissions, but political obstacles
remain. How Environmental Racism continues to Affect Communities of Color. New Report: CFAP: Learning from California’s ambitious Climate Policy. U.S. pushes Trade as a Tool in Climate Crisis. Global Regulators to Refine Climate Fallout on Banks. SA: Big Businesses Say They Want a Price on Carbon-But environmental groups remain wary. Intelligence chiefs say China and Russia are the biggest threats to the U.S. Admin gets serious about Funding Environmental Justice. Find Active 117th Congressional Legislation Climate bills HERE.
Region and State:
Oregon Coast Tourism declares a climate emergency. A proposed Fossil Fuel Energy facility may be cancelled. Why renewable Electricity Powers Decarbonization and Pays OFF. Oregon House reaches deal to avoid slow down; “Now that there is a break in the logjam, the Speaker is focused on passing policies and budgets that will combat the pandemic, advance racial justice and equity, support workers, address Oregon’s housing crisis, and create clean energy opportunities.” Oregon Legislature Halfway Point: ‘Policies take a backseat to Politics…’ New Hydrogen in Washington State: status of Climate related Legislation bills. Western Governors Assoc: ‘BEST OF THE WEST: Infrastructure updates, free days highlight National Parks Week; rural towns adding EV infrastructure; security breaches highlight need for cyber workforce’. Watch LWVPDX Climate March 2021 Program: ‘The speakers represent the Portland Clean Energy Fund, Verde, Oregon Business for Climate, and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality….”
Find updates across many agencies on the State of Oregon ‘Action on Climate Change’ topics HERE. Find weekly 2021 updates at Oregon Greenhouse Emissions Program web page HERE. And DOE weekly blog updates HERE.
Clean Energy and Other CE Topics (Kathy Moyd and Greg Martin)
Two independent amendments, both supported by our testimony, were combined into Amendment-23 shortly before the Work Session at which HB 2021 was to be voted on. There are still some remaining issues, so HB 2021-23 was sent to House Revenue by a 4-3 vote as HB 2021 A, thus keeping it alive for further work without a floor recommendation.
The amended bill would require retail electricity providers to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 using the existing integrated resource planning process. It would require a study of small scale renewable energy projects and customer- supported renewables; establish responsible contractor labor standards for large power projects; and create the Community Renewable Energy Project Grant Program, supported by a new investment fund with a General Fund appropriation of $50 million for 2021–23. LWVOR testified in support of previous versions of the bill, and the version reported out of committee preserves the positive features.
HB 3278-1 would direct the Department of Fish and Wildlife, in consultation with the Department of State Lands and the State Parks and Rec, to study the potential for developing commercial seaweed production to produce feed for livestock as means to reduce methane emissions. Fiscal impact is estimated at $320,000 for 2021–23, so the bill was unanimously referred to Joint W&M. LWVOR provided testimony In support.
HB 3375-2 would establish the goal of planning for development of 3 gigawatts of commercial-scale floating offshore wind energy projects within federal waters off the Oregon coast by 2030. The bill is scheduled for a House floor vote on April 21 after receiving a unanimous Committee vote. LWVOR provided testimony in support.
The Senate E&E Committee voted 4-1 to move SB 784-5 to the Senate floor with a do-pass recommendation. The bill would authorize electric utilities to seek rate recovery for costs associated with measures to maintain resilience during an emergency. It contains provisions for community-wide “green tariffs” for electric service and responsible contractor labor standards for large-scale power projects, similar to those in HB 2021. It also would require the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to establish a voluntary emission reduction program to incentivize natural gas utilities to invest in projects that reduce emissions “directly or indirectly” and to recover the costs through rates, subject to a cost cap.
Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC) Meeting 3
This was the last scheduled RAC meeting to consider rule changes aimed at reducing methane emissions from landfills, in response to Executive Order 20-04, however with concerns from RAC members. The rulemaking seeks to align Oregon’s landfill gas emission rules with the most stringent requirements of adjacent states and the federal government. RAC discussion of the key topics to date is summarized here.
The draft rules would require all active and closed landfills with greater than 200,000 tons of waste in place and the potential to generate over 664 metric tons of methane per year to obtain air quality permits from DEQ. The regulations would apply to 39 landfills that have not previously been required to have permits, as well as 12 landfills with current permits.
RAC members expressed concern about the lack of data supporting the expected emissions reductions and whether smaller landfills would actually generate enough methane to justify the cost of the control. In considering the draft fiscal-impact statement, some RAC members challenged DEQ’s compliance cost estimates as much too low. They noted that costs would increase more for the smaller landfills newly brought into the program than for landfills with the required controls already in place. Environmental representatives lifted up the positive impacts in terms of avoided health care costs.
DEQ had expected to issue its notice of proposed rulemaking in May, followed by a one-month public comment period and Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) deliberation in July. However, because of RAC members’ concerns it is likely that this timeline will slip based on the demand for additional data collection and fiscal analysis.
Forestry (Josie Koehne)
On April 16, Catherine MacDonald of the Oregon Global Warming Commission hosted a panel of expert speakers in the field of carbon sequestration of working lands that includes forests, agriculture, and marine/wetlands carbon storage and uptake. Representatives of various related agencies participated and spoke about their agency’s work on climate strategies to reduce atmospheric carbon. Copies of the excellent scientific presentations will be posted on the Oregon Global Warming Commission website.
· Dr. Shandas, Research Director, Institute for Sustainable Solutions, Portland State University;
· Thomas H DeLuca, Dean, School of Forestry, Oregon State University;
· Dr. Jennifer Moore, Research Soil Scientist, USDA Agricultural Research Station;
· Dr. Steve Crooks, Principal, Wetland Science and Coastal Management, Silvestrum Climate Associates
The four-hour presentation provided a fast-paced stream of valuable scientific research on such topics as forests’ carbon cycle over time (green carbon); the importance of no-till, manure and cover crops in preserving soils (brown carbon) in agricultural land (which sequester almost as much carbon as mature forests) and the importance of these practices to future soil productivity; and the importance of oceans, wetlands and tidal forests (blue carbon) in sequestering carbon and reducing ocean acidification. Important data included figures on the sources of CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere that contribute to global warming. 92.7% of CO2 emissions is from burning fossil fuels and from land conversion for new construction. Of this, 8% is from tourism (planes and vehicles), 33% is from agricultural practices (bare soils and nitrogen use), and 10% is from concrete, etc.
Forests are carbon sinks, but barely, and could be much increased. Just by growing trees longer and harvesting much later at 80 years instead of 40 years alone, 17% more carbon could be sequestered. A big problem identified is leakage: if we reduce our timber harvests to sequester carbon, other areas of forestland in other countries with fewer restrictions would cut more, such as in Brazil, thereby negating the global benefit of CO2 emission reduction. Global standards and regulations are needed. The big takeaway was the importance of protecting soils in agriculture and by better forestry practices because soils store three times the carbon of vegetation on the land. I strongly urge you to listen to this informative presentation and the materials that will soon be posted on the Oregon Global Warming Commission website, Keep Oregon Cool.
Jordan Cove Energy Project (JCEP) (Shirley Weathers)
We have reported the failure of two high profile attempts by the Jordan Cove Energy Project (JCEP) owner, Pembina, to get federal intervention to overturn Oregon's denial of critical state level permits. These are the Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality permit and Coastal Zone Management Act concurrence. Although owner Pembina still has options (involving a lot of arduous work and significant amounts of additional investment), those happenings plus a number of other factors have made JCEP's prospects look dim in recent weeks.
Pembina’s response to all of these losses hasn’t been clear. Will they keep going or decide it’s time to pull the plug? We wait for signs and this seems to be one: One of the many local permits the pipeline segment of the project must have expired on April 2, 2021 and, for the first time since that permit was obtained from Coos County in 2010, no application for extension was filed. Yes, perhaps someone charged with managing these extensions--this would have been the 7th filing over the decade-- accidently dropped the ball. If they did, the company would have to start that permitting process all over again. That can be done. But if this was intentional, it seems to suggest that Pembina is pulling back from its quest for this LNG export project. Meanwhile, just days ago, the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) issued a favorable remand decision on a pipeline issue in Douglas County. Another small loss for Pembina, but another added to the list.
SB 392A, Relating to fugitive emissions study (Shirley Weathers)
SB 392A was referred on March 24 to Joint W&M due to its
$300,000 fiscal impact. It will remain there until money decisions begin. The LWVOR supports.
SCR 17, Establishing an environmental justice framework of principles for the State of Oregon (Shirley Weathers)
SCR 17 passed the Senate with only seven "nays" and now awaits public hearing scheduling in House Energy & Environment. LWVOR supports.
Our Children’s Trust
Congressional Resolution will be reintroduced on Earth Day. CONGRESSIONAL RESOLUTION RECOGNIZING CHILDREN’S FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND CLIMATE RECOVERY. “A forth coming congressional concurrent resolution - S.Con.Res._ & H.Con.Res._ - will be reintroduced on Earth Day, April 22, 2021, by members of Congress to support the principles underpinning Juliana v. United States, the landmark constitutional climate lawsuit filed by 21 young Americans, including 11 Black, Brown, and Indigenous youth. This resolution recognizing Children’s Fundamental Rights and Climate Recovery is sponsored by Senator Merkley and Representatives Schakowsky, Jayapal, and Rush, and was originally introduced September 23, 2020 during the last Congressional session.
The resolution recognizes that our current climate crisis is disproportionately affecting the health, economic opportunity, and fundamental rights of children, which demands that the United States develop a national, comprehensive, science-based, and just climate recovery plan to meet necessary emissions reduction targets….”