Climate Emergency

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January 25, 2021 - Week 2

Lots of progress at the federal level this past week. The Biden administration's four major priorities are Covid-19, Climate, Racial Equity, and Economic Relief. These are also reflected in Gov Browns Budget 2021-2023 recommendation and recent State of the State speech.

Priority Bills (Kathy Moyd)

SB 56 - Governor Kate Brown - GHGE Civil Penalty - Authorizes the Department of Environmental Quality to include an amount estimated to equal economic benefit of violation when imposing civil penalty for violation of rule pertaining to a program to cap and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from large stationary sources, transportation fuels or other liquid and gaseous fuels, including natural gas. Confers original jurisdiction on the Supreme Court to review rules pertaining to programs to cap and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from large stationary sources, transportation fuels or other liquid and gaseous fuels, including natural gas. Takes effect on 91st day following adjournment sine die.

HB 2995 - Rep Karin Power, Pam Marsh - 100% Clean Energy - Requires 100 percent of electricity sold in 2035 and each subsequent calendar year to retail electricity consumers to be clean electricity. Accelerates deadline, to 2025, for electric companies to eliminate coal from electricity supply. Extends, to 2035, ad valorem property tax exemption for alternative energy systems. Requires systems constructed on or after January 1, 2022, to be constructed pursuant to project labor agreement to qualify for exemption. Removes electricity generated from direct combustion of municipal solid waste from qualifying electricity for purposes of renewable portfolio standards. Modifies requirements for community-based renewable energy projects.

HB 2692 - Rep Witt - Nuclear Power - Exempts issuance of site certificate for small modular reactors from requirement that proposal by Energy Facility Siting Council to issue site certificate for nuclear-fueled thermal power plant must be approved by voters. Requires State Department of Energy to develop and administer program for educating public about small modular reactors.

SB 333 - Sen Beyer - Hydrogen study - Directs Legislative Revenue Office to conduct study related to renewable hydrogen and report results to interim committees of Legislative Assembly related to revenue no later than September 15, 2022. Sunsets January 2, 2023. Takes effect on 91st day following adjournment sine die.

HB 2479 - Rep Karin Power - Black carbon in definition of “global warming - Modifies definition of "global warming" to include certain aerosol air contaminants, including black carbon. Directs Department of Environmental Quality to estimate black carbon emissions in this state and recommend mitigation strategies in report to interim committees of Legislative Assembly no later than September 15, 2022. Takes effect on 91st day following adjournment sine die.

DEQ Meeting - Climate Protection Program RAC Meeting

The First Climate Protection Program meeting, formerly known as Cap and Reduce, was on January 14. LWVOR provided written comments following the meeting expressing concerns about DEQ’s not taking the Executive Order seriously, especially with respect to 2035 goals; eliminating regulation of in-state electricity generation because they are not allowed to regulate imported electricity; and possibly having the supplier be regulated for the natural gas combusted at large stationary sources and possibly eliminating all regulation of stationary sources. Although Equity is supposed to be an equal part of the program, there was no specific mention in the materials.

Other Climate Emergency Bills

HB 2398 - Clean Buildings - Reach Building Codes (Rep Helm, Sen Beyer and Dembrow ) Requires Director of Dept of Consumer and Business Services to ensure that statewide Reach Code mandates achievement of not more than 90 percent of site energy use that other statewide residential and commercial building codes require. Permits municipality to adopt Reach Code and require adherence to code as minimum construction standard and method within municipality's jurisdiction.

HB 2842 - Healthy Homes would help low-income communities make repairs and updates on older homes, helping to improve indoor air quality, save money on heating/cooling, and make homes more energy efficient.

HB 2688 - “Buy Clean” Oregon agencies do not factor in the carbon footprint or environmental externalities of the products they purchase. HB 2688 would create a pilot program that requires state agencies to factor in environmental costs of certain construction materials when purchasing those materials. The program effectively incentivizes the purchase of more environmentally friendly products that are more often made locally.

HB 2065 - Modernize Recycling System Relating to modernizing Oregon's recycling system. requires producers of covered products to join the producer responsibility organization unless exempt.

HB 2475 - The Oregon Energy Affordability Act - The Oregon Energy Affordability Act would help make energy bills more affordable by providing protection from rate increases, especially for low-income households who spend a large portion of their income on energy needs.

Some Highlights: Governor Kate Brown 2021-2023 Budget (Claudia Keith)

Racial Justice Council and Environmental Equity:

SB 289 - An Environmental Equity Committee was formed as part of the Governor’s Racial Justice Council to develop recommendations to establish environmental justice and access to the outdoors for Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American and Tribal members in Oregon.

The Governor’s Budget invests in several of the recommendations put forward by the committee, including:

SB 286 - Creation of an Office of Environmental Justice, in the Dept of Environmental Quality (DEQ), to coordinate interagency efforts related to environmental justice, through data collection, policy development and community engagement. The Office is also tasked with development of a cumulative impact analysis for environmental justice across all Natural Resource agencies.

Bill Number? Funding in DEQ to conduct a study to determine obstacles and opportunities for electrifying farm, medium, and heavy duty vehicles to reduce pollution and carbon emissions.

Bill Number? Domestic Food Market Access-Funding Opportunities

supporting domestic food market access to Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, and Tribal communities to address food insecurity, food access, and support Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, and Tribal farmers with funding opportunities administered by the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

Bill Number? Establishing a place-based community centered program to address water needs of Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, and Tribal communities by addressing Indigenous treaty water rights, water scarcity, and ecosystem services in the Water Resources Department.

Bill Number? Incorporating environmental justice analysis measures in land use decisions within the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) current processes.

Bill Number? Develop a grant program to fund adaptive transportation solutions in rural communities and Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, and Tribal populations in DLCD.

Bill Number? Establishing grant funds to benefit Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, and Tribal communities recreation engagement, support and fund community-led recreation programs, and establish/enhance safe and comfortable outdoor tourism and recreation for Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, and Tribal populations as part of the Office of Outdoor Recreation within the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

Bill Number? Creation of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion positions in the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Department of Environmental Quality, Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation.

Public/Green Banking

It's not clear if the League will have an opinion about these Bills related to Public/Green banking.

SJR 22 - Senator Frederick - Proposing amendment to Oregon Constitution relating to bank. Proposes amendment to Oregon Constitution to specify that section restricting certain banks does not prohibit establishment of bank owned or operated by State of Oregon. Refers proposed amendment to people for their approval or rejection at next regular general election.

SB 339 - Senator Jeff Golden. Establishes Bank of the State of Oregon. Specifies purposes of bank.

HJR 3 - Representative Evans - Proposing amendment to Oregon Constitution relating to banks. Proposes amendment to Oregon Constitution to specify that section restricting certain banks does not prohibit establishment of bank owned or operated by State of Oregon. Refers proposed amendment to people for their approval or rejection at next regular general election.

HB 2743 - Representative Pham, Senator Dembrow, Frederick - Provides that local government may not become stockholder in or loan credit to or in aid of municipal bank. Provides that municipal bank is not required to obtain deposit insurance from Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation under certain conditions. Provides that municipal bank may act as depository or custodian of public funds under certain conditions.

Find these Climate bills in NR Leg Report

HB 2488: "Equity and Climate in Land Use”: A bill to incorporate environmental justice, equity and climate goals into our statewide land use planning goals, to be introduced by Representatives Power and Helm and Senator Golden, Frederick, Manning and Dembrow.

Forestry (Josie Koehne)

Since the last board of Forestry met on January 4, and the next meeting won’t meet until March 3, there is very little information to report concerning forestry climate action.

One of the Dept of Forestry's goals for its forest management plan is Goal G, the climate goal the dept is managing with carbon sequestration, afforestation (if no trees were there before) and reforestation (replanting after harvesting and wildfire). There was no substantive discussion on changing our weak Forest Practices laws or discussion of ways to meet the carbon reduction goals, nor was there discussion about what Goal G on climate revisions should include. Because the board barely has a quorum with only three members and the chair is only staying on until new board candidates have been approved, there will be little progress. Rumor has it that candidates will be decided sometime in February, but they will require a full legislative vote to be approved the next time the full legislature convenes.

The ODF climate team is working in consultation with the DEQ, the Global Warming Commission, and other agencies. Please see the other climate team reports about their progress.

Jordan Cove Energy Project (JCEP) (Shirley Weathers)

Pembina’s attempt to negate Oregon’s denial of Jordan Cove and Pacific Connector Pipeline’s (JC/PCP) Section 401 Water Quality Certification has failed, piling one more obstacle in front of the project’s list of challenges. In a move that frankly surprised most project opponents, including affected local leagues and LWVOR, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ruled in favor of Oregon on this permit—the day before the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

Among around 50 federal, state, and local permits required for a project like JC/PCP to be constructed, the Section 401 (of the Clean Water Act) permit is one of just a few state-level “show-stopper” permits, whereby state statutory and regulatory concerns with a federally approved project that add up to a denial can prevent its construction. After a long and arduous permitting process, Oregon’s DEQ denied the 401 in May 2019. Pembina (JC/PCP’s Canadian owner) sought federal intervention by petitioning FERC to declare the denial null and void. FERC put the matter on their agenda for a special January 19 meeting, but instead of supporting Pembina, they upheld Oregon’s denial. Pembina could reapply, but would have to start at Square One at a time when the project already faces numerous other obstacles including permitting setbacks. FERC now has a full roster of Commissioners and Biden named Richard Glick Chair, frequent dissenter against majority FERC decisions on fossil fuel projects, on January 21.

Meanwhile, the outcome of another key state permit—the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) certification—remains a mystery at this writing. Oregon’s Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) denied that permit in February 2020. As noted in the last LR, Pembina petitioned the Secretary of Commerce under the Trump Administration to override the denial by finding the project to be of such critical national interest that harms to coastal resources articulated by the state would be justified. Some months ago, Secretary Ross delegated the evaluation to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). As Ross left his post on January 20, no decision had been announced. It appears that NOAA still has the authority to render the decision, but they would need to do so by January 26 or apply for a short extension. Many are watching this second important outcome.

Attorneys for the state, as well as those representing opposition groups, landowners, and Tribes, are said to have filed briefs on challenges to FERC’s project authorizations in the Court of Appeals of the DC Circuit on January 22.