Legislative Report - September 2022
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Fossil Fuel Infrastructure Expansion
Climate Emergency Team
Portfolio Coordinator: Claudia Keith
Clean Renewable Energy and GHGE Mitigation: Kathy Moyd
Climate Friendly Equitable Communities & Green New Deal: Nancy Rosenberger
NWL Forestry: Josie Koehne
Efficient & Resilient Buildings: Kathy Moyd
Fossil Fuel Infrastructure LNG & NG: Shirley Weathers
Climate/Environmental Justice: Shirley Weathers and Claudia Keith
Our Children’s Trust: Claudia Keith
Climate Change Budget/Funding, OEA, and Treasury: Claudia Keith
Public Health: Vacant
Climate Emergency Highlights
By Claudia Keith
Historical Congressional Climate policy:
Just a week ago: “the Senate ratified the Kigali Amendment, a treaty that will phase out the world’s use of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, a climate pollutant used as an industrial refrigerant and in sprayable consumer products.” The Senate Just Quietly Passed a Major Climate Treaty| The Atlantic
2021 & 2022 “…The Inflation Reduction Act, the Chips and Science Act and the bipartisan infrastructure bill will unlock a multi-year public spending commitment that will also attract private capital in areas with high-return potential, said Deese, director of the National Economic Council…” Biden Policies to Boost Investment, Slow Inflation: Economic Adviser Deese | Bloomberg
IRA details: “On August 16, 2022, President Biden signed a historic climate bill, the Inflation Reduction Act (P.L.117-18), into law. Along with tax reforms and investments in healthcare, the law provides $369 billion to confront the climate crisis by expanding tax credits for clean energy and electric vehicles, boosting energy efficiency, establishing a national climate bank, supporting climate-smart agriculture, bolstering production of sustainable aviation fuel, reducing air pollution at ports, and much more. The law represents the boldest action Congress has taken on climate yet—it will put the United States on a path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, according to several independent analyses…” How the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Work Together to Advance Climate Action | Article | EESI
International Perspective: Inflation Reduction Act Comes into Focus at UNGA | Center for Strategic and International Studies
Physics Perspective: The Week of September 26, 2022 | FYI This Week highlights upcoming science policy events and summarizes news from the past week. |American Institute of Physics
Security Exchange Commission (SEC): The League Responds to SEC Proposal to Require Climate Risk Disclosure | League of Women Voters.(June 2022 LWVUS testimony was proposed by LWVOR Action Committee). The SEC in August published their 5-year Strategic Plan for public comment; it assumes Climate Risk Disclosure requirements are implemented. In May 2022: Here’s An Overview of the SEC's Proposed Climate-Related Disclosures - The CPA Journal. Related, Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance: Enhanced ESG Disclosures for Investment Funds and Advisers: A Comments from BlackRock
The Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development is hosting a series of public workshops encouraging constituents to comment on how changing weather patterns are affecting their lives and their communities. Dates and times can be found here.
North America’s first wind-solar-battery ‘hybrid’ power plant commissioned in Oregon |oregonlive.com. Off the grid: Oregon plant aims to prove renewable energy can work - A tiny town in Oregon is the site of a new type of energy farm that harvests wind and solar power and stores it in massive batteries. Experts say the innovative project could power a small city. | Christian Science Monitor
As the US explores building offshore wind farm in Oregon, concerns arise | OPB. Oregon-based hydrogen hub eyes $8 billion offered in federal infrastructure law. Oregon, Washington hope to make Northwest the U.S. leader of ‘green hydrogen’ energy |Oregon Capital Chronicle
Oregon commission adopts strongest clean fuel standards in US, | KPTV. Oregon Department of Energy Identifies Floating Wind Benefits and Challenges | Offshore Wind.biz. Oregon joins western states in opposing more natural gas from Canadian pipeline |Oregon Capital Chronicle. Portland : Zenith Energy to phase out crude oil at Portland terminal | OPB.
Ocean Wave Energy: “...Winds and currents, they go in one direction. It’s very easy to spin a turbine or a windmill when you’ve got linear movement. The waves really aren’t linear. They’re oscillating. And so we have to be able to turn this oscillatory energy into some sort of catchable form,” said Burke Hales, professor of oceanography at Oregon State University and chief scientist at PacWave, a Department of Energy-funded wave energy test site off the Oregon Coast…” Why wave power could complement solar and wind | CNBC.
Is Geothermal Power the Missing Piece of a Renewable Future? | Governing.com
By Claudia Keith
Senator Merkley… “Senators Highlight Environmental Justice Concerns on Permitting Leg” | FOE.org. Oregon mentioned: Hewlett Foundation: How communities of color lead on climate solutions — and ways to support them.|Hewlett.org. March 2022: HB 4077 Passes, Solidifying Oregon’s Environmental Justice Council
It is not clear to the League the status of the new Environmental Justice Council, (2022) HB4077 formed and funded during the 2022 Leg session; though a recent news article does mention some of the new council members:, “OFS Executive Director Katie Murray and OFS Associate Director for Policy & Outreach Tiffany Monroe were appointed by Governor Kate Brown to serve 3-year terms on the Environmental Justice Council. This week, Katie and Tiffany joined Council members and others at the bill signing ceremony for HB 4077, which passed in the 2022 session with engagement and key amendments from OFS and other natural resource stakeholders.”
Fossil Fuel Infrastructure Expansion
By Shirley Weathers
Jordan Cove is gone, but Oregon is again targeted for fossil fuel infrastructure build-out, despite widespread evidence that this kind of activity must end. The Gas Transmission Northwest or GTN Xpress is on the move. Unlike Jordan Cove that was 100% new construction, GTN Xpress involves expansion of an existing, operational pipeline. But like Jordan Cove, it is designed to increase production and send to market natural gas from the fields of British Columbia. Owned by Canadian TC Energy, the company alleges need for more natural gas along the pipeline as it passes through Idaho and Washington, bifurcates Oregon, and connects at Malin, OR to PG & E lines running south through central California. TC Energy’s applications to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) indicate plans for an expansion of 250,000 dekatherms/day, enough to gas-power 1.2 million more households per day than are currently being served.
At the same time, the project would add almost 3.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year for the next 30 years—as much as if over 750,000 additional internal combustion cars were put on the road until 2052. The need for natural gas expansion is questionable. Opposition is mounting, but one piece of the project has been approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). But we are not alone in this fight. The Washington Attorney General’s Office weighed in on GTN’s proposal, filing a motion to intervene and opposing the GTN Pipeline capacity expansion. The motion cited conflict with west coast plans to reduce emissions to impact climate change, hidden costs to consumers, lack of public need as west coast states are all acting to limit use and reliance on methane-emitting natural gas going forward and increased public health costs compounded by violations of environmental justice commitments. Oregon and California joined the OEA and State Treasury:
Related to the SEC disclosure proposal, Oregon Office of Economic Analysis continues to exclude reference to climate risk in their quarterly reporting. A few years ago climate was mentioned but that topic has now been removed.
Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read ‘s NYT s opinion page ‘Form of Climate Obstruction Hurts Pension Funds’ |The New York Times. “…I encourage those charged with oversight of state funds and pension funds to return to the core values we all share: Transparency and accountability are good for investors. Markets should be free from excessive manipulation. Prudent investors should be allowed to weigh long-term risks. If our nation’s military leaders, insurance officials and oil executives all factor climate risk into decisions, then hard-working firefighters and teachers should be given the same courtesy. The states they serve shouldn’t be playing politics with their retirement.”
Oregon Attorney General DOJ Climate related work:
-AG Rosenblum along with 7 other states asks EPA …AG Rosenblum Asks EPA to Consider National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Greenhouse Gasses.
-Western State Attorneys General Seek to Halt Capacity Expansion of GTN Pipeline. AG Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, California Attorney General Rob Bonta, and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson today filed a motion to intervene and request that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) deny the proposed capacity expansion of the Gas Transmission Northwest Express (GTN) pipeline. The proposed capacity expansion would increase the amount of natural gas carried by the pipeline by… View Article
Posted in Media Release on August 22, 2022:
--Rosenblum Statement on Today’s U.S. Supreme Court Environmental Ruling
The U.S. Supreme Court dealt another severe blow to our climate today in a case that addresses the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan. “Today’s decision in West Virginia v. EPA—which hamstrings the Environmental Protection Agency in its ability to address greenhouse gas emissions from power plants under section 111(d) of the federal Clean Air Act—is deeply… View Article
This past summer the League joined other PNW groups Sign-On Letter to EPA related to heavy Duty Clean Truck Rules.
August Update: California Attorney General Bonta: EPA Decision on California Waivers for Heavy Duty Truck Regulations Will Have Life or Death Consequences for Communities Breathing Dirty Air
Oregon Global Warming Commission – Highlights