Climate Emergency

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April 26, 2021 - Week 15

Climate Emergency

4/26/2021

 

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

 

Volunteer Opportunities: Our CE portfolio team lacks volunteers in these critical policy areas:

1)  Natural and Working lands outside forestry portfolio, 2) Clean Buildings, 3) Public Health Climate adaptation, 4) Regional Infrastructure, and 5) CE Portfolio Agency and Commission Budgets. We all collaborate with Natural Resource Action members on many Climate mitigation and adaptation topics.

 

Climate Emergency Highlights & Priority Legislation (Claudia Keith)

ALERT:

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 2021A is now in House Revenue potentially awaiting additional policy changes.

2)  HB 2475 A The Oregon Energy Affordability Act has moved to the Senate Energy and Environment, recent League Testimony.

3)  HB 2842 A Healthy Homes passed out of policy committee, referred to Joint W&M. League Testimony

 

Coalition Work:


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 Orders, more information at Renew Oregon and OCAP NPR update interview. The recommended OCAP Coalition budget items, which cover 10+ state agencies are HERE. The CE and NR Action Teams are in discussion about the best way to support all funding items on this list.

 

Mark your calendars:

(attend or view recorded Agency and Commission meetings including new reports and studies.)

-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, audio, meeting materials.

-Oregon Dept of Lands and Conservation Development:

Climate-Friendly and Equitable Communities, Rulemaking Effort Seeks Your Guidance. 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 Meetings

-Oregon Racial Council Meetings

- Northwest Energy Coalition Conference

 

Global/National/Federal Updates (Claudia Keith)

Biden calling for action, Commits U.S. to Halving Its Climate Emissions. Both Senator Wyden and Merkley reintroduce the New Green Deal in the 117th Congress. Ahead of Biden’s Climate Summit Congress lawmakers reintroduce GREEN New Deal.


Scientific American: U.S. Commits to Greater CO2 Reductions, China and India Do Not. Climate Change Emergency will force us to rethink migration and asylum. Nature: Equity is more important for the social cost of methane than climate uncertainty. Biden’s Intelligence Director vows to put Climate in 'Center' of Foreign Policy.

 

Crises collide: Homeless in America when climate disaster strikes. EU reaches major climate deal ahead of Biden climate summit. Climate Change Could Cut the World Economy by $23 Trillion in 2050, Insurance Giant Warns. There’s a Booming Business in America’s Forests. Some

Aren’t Happy About It. Senator Wyden bill would unleash clean energy that accelerates our electric future. NYT Opinion: Biden Wants to Slash Emissions. Success Would Mean a Very Different America. The Climate crisis has shifted the Earth’s axis, study shows. VOA; Biden Touts Economic Benefits of Combating Climate Change. FEMA Seeks Comment on How Its Programs Deal with Climate Change and Underserved Communities and Populations. WP: Humanity’s greatest ally against climate change is the Earth itself. NPR: Is Your Home at Risk from Climate Change? Here's How to Know. NBC: New risk on wildfire smoke health issues. Global reorganization of Ocean Currents changes could have 'devastating effects' on climate. UN HCR: Climate change link to displacement of most vulnerable is clear. Climate crisis threatens U.S. national security, Defense secretary says. US PIRG: Carbon Pricing 101. White House: Readout of the Third National Climate Task Force Meeting. Oregon Congressional Rep Cliff Bentz says Biden policies, executive orders halting new oil, gas leases killing energy, industry - KTVZ.

ERG: It's DeFazio's time to shine on climate. Senators Merkley and Wyden support the Clean Commute for Kids Act. WP: Biden Admin rolls out 100 day plan to improve Electric Grid Cybersecurity. Nature: Animal- Based Foods have high social and climate costs. Find Active 117th Congressional Legislation Climate bills HERE.

 

Region and State:


OPB: Studies: Renewable electricity can slash Cascadia pollution, ward off climate change. With cap-and-trade off the table, here’s how Oregon lawmakers are tackling climate change. Washington House Passes Carbon-Pricing Bill With Promise of a 5-Cent Gas Tax for Transportation Projects. Using Hydrogen to back up the Grid. Cascadia: Renewable Electricity Is Coming on Strong - The Tyee. Sightline: The Smoke and Mirrors Defense of RNG (renewable natural gas). OPB: City Action moves Zenith Energy (Fossil Fuel) close to expanding in NW

Portland. 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.”

 

Agency and Commissions:

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)

HB 2475 A The Senate Energy and Environment Committee had a public hearing on this priority bill for LWVOR. Oral testimony by investor- owned utility representatives and community and environmental justice representatives was broadly supportive. The bill would allow the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to establish a rate class that takes into account the differential energy burdens on low-income utility customers and other factors that affect affordability for certain classes of customers. The costs of those programs would be collected through charges paid by all retail electricity consumers, a provision objected to by the Alliance of Western Energy Consumers (AWEC), a group representing industrial electricity and natural gas users. The bill would authorize financial assistance for organizations that intervene in PUC proceedings on behalf of low-income residential customers or members of environmental justice communities, up to an aggregate total of $500,000 per year.

 

Toward the end of the hearing, a few testifiers mentioned opposition to Amendment-A11. We discovered that this amendment, thought to be a simple technical change, would actually severely limit the ability of utility customers representatives to be compensated for participation in regulatory proceedings of the PUC. We were able to submit a letter supporting the bill, but opposing the Amendment right before the 24-hour post-hearing deadline. The work session to vote on the bill has been scheduled for April 29.

 

Two bills LWVOR supported in the Senate have public hearings scheduled for next week in the House Energy and Environment Committee. Both bills were changed significantly after the public hearings in the Senate Energy and Environment Committee for which we had provided testimony; we will evaluate the versions adopted by the Senate and probably provide updated testimony.

SB 333 A, providing a study of renewable hydrogen, is scheduled for April 26.


SB 589 A, dealing with evaluating participation in a regional transmission organization for electricity planning, is scheduled for April 28.

 

Transportation (Julie Chapman)

HB 2180 passed the House and will be heard in Senate Energy and Environment on April 29. Amends state building code to require that all new construction of residential housing of 5 or more units, and all commercial buildings, include provisions allowing electrical service capacity for at least 20% of parking spaces. The bill requires installation of a conduit system installed from building electrical service to parking spaces that can support electrical wiring for installation of level 2 electric vehicle charging stations. Requires electrical service that has adequate space to add the overcurrent devices. The bill does not require installation of the dedicated wiring or the charging station itself. The need for transition to electric vehicles is urgent, and the savings compared with after-construction addition of this charging infrastructure is on the order of 6:1. LWVOR will provide testimony in support.

 

HB 2165 A, Work session in Jt Transportation, April 27 - Requires large electric companies to collect an amount from all retail electricity consumers, to support transportation electrification infrastructure expansion. Also expands rebates for purchase of new and used vehicles, for both standard purchase of zero emission vehicles or through the Charge Ahead Program for low income Oregonians.


HB 3055 A, 25-page bill from Jt Transportation with a broad range of disparate transportation issues is scheduled for a work session on April 29. The bill received a good analysis of its impact for transportation electrification in testimony from FORTH, which called for an emphasis on congestion pricing from Portland Metro area agencies.

 

Forestry (Josie Koehne)

The three new members of the Board of Forestry joined with the three current board members on Wednesday April 21 for their first Board meeting with the Department of Forestry staff. Everyone had a chance to speak, and the predominant topic on everyone’s mind was the need to address the climate emergency. Several of the new Board members, as well as private forest guest speakers, spoke about how the climate was already affecting their trees and their forest management decisions because of severe drought and the increasing risks from wildfires. All seemed committed to working well together, including the need to examine the adequacy of the current Forest Practices Act, to address our climate emergency. For details on this very positive and upbeat meeting, see the Forestry section in Natural Resources.


Jordan Cove Energy Project (JCEP) (Shirley Weathers)

On April 22, Pembina filed a motion “to suspend the current merits briefing schedule and hold these consolidated cases [of the Jordan Cove LNG and Pacific Connector Pipeline Project] in abeyance........................................... while they assess the impact of recent regulatory decisions involving denial of permits authorizations necessary for the Project to move forward.” The motion was filed in the petition against FERC’s authorization of the project the State of Oregon, landowners, non-governmental organizations, and Tribal groups filed in the Court of Appeals of the D.C. Circuit. There isn’t an explicit statement that the corporation is considering abandoning the project, but attorneys for the Petitioners informed us that, later that day, FERC filed a brief asking the Court to put the case on hold, noting that it is unclear whether the project will ever be constructed. The Petitioners oppose the pause and are working on a response to Pembina’s motion. After that, we’re told that they will continue to work towards submitting their merits reply brief on schedule in June. Pembina’s motion strongly suggests that we are one more step closer to the desired result of seeing this project finally go away.

 

SB 392A, Relating to fugitive emissions study (Shirley Weathers)

SB 392A remains in the Joint Committee on Ways and Means due to its

$300,000 fiscal impact statement. The LWVOR supports.

 

SCR 17, Establishing an environmental justice framework of principles for the State of Oregon (Shirley Weathers)


SCR 17 is awaiting scheduling for a public hearing in House Energy & Environment. LWVOR supports.

 

Our Children’s Trust

LWVUS Blog: Celebrating Earth Day by Fighting for Our Children’s

Health

JESSICA JONES CAPPARELL 4/21/2021

 

Tomorrow, April 22, 2021 is the 51st anniversary of Earth Day! First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day was created in a world that had few regulatory protections for the environment. The first Earth Day brought together people across the country to champion and raise awareness on environmental issues. It also brought the topic to the forefront of the national conversation and helped establish the Environmental Protection Agency.

 

The League has worked hard to tackle environmental issues over the decades by supporting measures like the Clean Power Plan and advocating for the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts at the national level. Local and state Leagues have also engaged in this work by addressing resource management and water issues in their communities.

 

The League has also worked to stand up for communities affected by climate change in the courts, in the case of Juliana v. US, where a group of young plaintiffs argued that it is the job of the federal government to protect them from the damaging effects of climate change. Together, at all levels, the League continues to fight climate change across the country and around the world.

 

This year on Earth Day, the League continues our fight to protect those affected by climate change by joining Our Children’s Trust and more than 70 other organizations in endorsing the Children’s Fundamental Climate Rights and Recovery Resolution. The resolution will be introduced in both chambers of Congress today and it supports the underlying fundamentals of the Juliana case. It was first introduced in the 116th session of Congress and the League is proud to support it again. The resolution recognizes our current human-caused climate crisis and the hazards it poses to our children’s health and futures. To uphold the fundamental rights of coming generations, the resolution mandates that the United States develop and implement a bold, comprehensive climate recovery plan. This plan seeks to put the nation on a trajectory consistent with reducing global atmospheric carbon dioxide to below 350 parts per million by the year 2100.

 

Younger generations are calling on us to go further to repair the harm done by human-caused climate change and protect their freedoms and futures. The League of Women Voters stands ready to follow the leadership of young people in demanding a just climate recovery plan that prioritizes those most impacted, including indigenous peoples, communities of color, and working-class families caught in economic transition. The Children’s Fundamental Rights and Climate Recovery

Resolution calls for bold and comprehensive action. Anything less would constitute neglect of future generations’ constitutional and human rights.


Press Release: Senator MERKLEY, SCHAKOWSKY, JAYAPAL AND RUSH REINTRODUCE RESOLUTION RECOGNIZING CHILDREN’S FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND NEED FOR CLIMATE RECOVERY PLANNING ON EARTH DAY