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By Claudia Keith, Climate Emergency Coordinator and team
Climate Emergency Highlights
By Claudia Keith
Updating Oregon statute with meaningful (to align with best available science) Greenhouse Gas Emission reduction goals continues to be a League priority. See Senator Dembrow’s Jan 13 newsletter: LC 173. [now SB 1559, a one-pager]. This topic was eliminated from the 2023 Climate Action Omnibus bill, HB 3409.
LWV Oregon’s environmental coalition partner Oregon Conservation Network (OCN) recently published their priorities which include two Climate-related topics:
“1) A Strong Climate Budget: We must continue to make progress on climate every legislative session, and this year our priority is to ensure a strong climate budget. We must continue funding the incredible climate programs we passed over the last few years. We are asking for a $50 million climate budget that prioritizes two things: 1) a $15 million investment in the Healthy Homes Program to enable urgently needed home repairs including health, safety, and efficiency upgrades, and 2) a $20 million investment in the Charge Ahead Electric Vehicle rebate program to make new and used electric vehicles more affordable and accessible for lower-income Oregonians. Together, these continued investments in successful programs that are running out of funding will lower the cost of living, improve health and resilience, and reduce climate pollution.
2) Right to Repair: You may recall this bill as part of our Zero Waste Priority bill package from the last session (SB 542). Well, the bill didn’t quite make it (largely due to the historically long Republican walkout), and we’re bringing it back this year to get it over the finish line! People should be able to repair their electronics just like they can repair their car. This will save people money and reduce electronic waste. States like New York and California have passed similar legislation, but in Oregon, our bill is poised to be the strongest version passed by any state. “
Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG)/Divest & Public Banking
A Public Banking LC was mentioned in Senator Golden’s recent newsletter. It would likely be a modified bill addressing Gov Kotek’s reasons for vetoing 2023 HB2763. An LC related to the Oregon Treasury divesting coal securities was also mentioned. Treasurer Tobias Read has announced a plan to address fossil fuel investments. ‘Treasurer readies plan to get state pension fund to ‘net-zero’ greenhouse gas emissions - Another proposal from a group of Democratic lawmakers would divest the state’s retirement fund of $1 billion in coal investments’.
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Climate Protection Plan
As explained in OEC’s ‘the fight is not over’ Dec. article, the court ruled unfavorably based on ‘a procedural technicality’. LWVOR plans to support several efforts to solve this technical issue. It is not clear if a bill will be introduced during the short session but there will be public testimonies provided at the EQC January 24 meeting.
2025 Long Session
The following policy/budget topics are expected to move to the 2025 long session: Water, Transportation, Air, Fracking moratorium update, and likely, the data center (and crypto mining facilities) GHG emission reduction goals.
Senate Energy & Environment
By Greg Martin
Right to Repair
Chair Sollman: This is the fourth time this bill concept has come forward. A big coalition has worked on the bill since the end of the 2023 session. Four other states (including CA) passed similar measures, and 20 states are working on some form. 70% of Oregonians surveyed say if they own a piece of equipment, they should be able to fix it. Key objectives = saving families’ money, supporting small businesses, reducing litter and pollution, and closing the digital divide.
Charlie Fisher, OSPIRG, outlined major changes from 2023 proposals, mainly based on enacted CA legislation:
· Enforcement – private right of action (consumer lawsuits) is out, in favor of attorney general enforcement
· Data security – manufacturers are not required to provide tools or software that would enable hacks
· Expanded intellectual property protections – added language (from CA) to protect licensing, copyrights, patents
· Third-party repair services – expanded requirements for consumer protection
· Look-back period for covered devices – limited to products introduced after 1/1/2021 for smartphones, 2015 for other devices such as appliances “Parts pairing” is prohibited (not in CA statute)
Kyle Wiens, CEO, iFixit: –Wants to enable a repair economy to add “main street” jobs. Largest barrier = manufacturers block after-market.
Steven Nickel, Google: Supports this concept as a common-sense repair bill to serve as a model for other states.
Bottle Bill Overview
Eric Chambers, Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative: Oregon’s 1971 statute is still the best in the nation. Not a lot happened in statute until 2010. Refund went from a nickel to a dime in 2017, spurring more recycling. Other beverages – water, kombucha – added in 2018. Program has a $60 million budget for infrastructure (redemption centers, drop-off sites). Consumers can now return three times as many bottles to redemption centers. Statewide redemption rate = 85% vs. national average of 35%. All plastic and glass is processed in Oregon.
Oregon Dept of Energy (ODOE) Proposed Statutory Adjustments
ODOE’s Christy Splitt outlined three proposed “technical fixes”:
Update the statewide energy security plan in response to state and federal mandates. Federal funds have been slower than anticipated – ODOE proposes to realign its deadline to the federal September 30 deadline.
N&WL provisions – HB 3409 directs OCAC (staffed by ODOE) to study natural and working lands (N&WL) inventory, workforce and carbon sequestration goals – ODOE proposes to extend the deadlines by one year, i.e., until 2025.
Community Renewable Energy Grant program (HB 2021) administrative tweaks
Amendment expected: The Community Heat Pump Deployment program, created by HB 2021, requires that regional administrators run the program but only 6 of 11 regions have an administrator in place. Up to $4 million in funding for those regions could be stuck in program accounts and be unavailable for deployment. Plan B is to transfer moneys to the Oregon
Rental Home Heat Pump program and earmark them to be spent for underserved regions and tribes.
Update on Oregon Clean Vehicle Rebate Program Status
Rachel Sakata, Oregon Dept of Environmental Quality, (DEQ): DEQ has awarded >32,000 rebates totaling >$82 million. In 2022-23, about 25% was spent on the Charge Ahead program for low-income households (at least 20% is required by law). DEQ suspended the program in May 2023 because demand outstripped available funding. The agency has a waiting list totaling about $2 million in rebates – and anticipates lifting the suspension this spring with new funding allotments. DEQ will need another $35 million to fully meet expected demand next year. Underfunding the rebate program could impede the response to climate change via EV adoption.
Climate Lawsuits/Our Children’s Trust
By Claudia Keith
Federal judge in Oregon denies efforts to dismiss climate lawsuit filed by young people - OPB . Here is one resource to track DEQ CPP cases. Basically, there are several active federal lawsuits, (Jan 2024 update) ‘Oregon Federal Court Said Youth Plaintiffs Could Proceed with Due Process and Public Trust Claims in Climate Suit’, some of which could assist in meeting Oregon's Net Zero GHG Emissions before 2050 targets, and other lawsuits, that challenge the current Oregon DEQ CPP policy, which would limit the use of fossil fuels, including diesel, natural gas, and propane over time.
Another source: Columbia University Law - Sabin Climate DB lists 70 lawsuits, mentioning Oregon.
Other Climate Bills
By Claudia Keith
LWVOR may follow or engage with several other CE bills on a long list from Climate Solutions; including these LC’s
• LC 117: Remove Barriers to Siting Battery Storage Projects: We need to update our state’s siting processes to allow for newer technologies like stand-alone battery storage. This bill lessens barriers for a developer who wants to build a much-needed battery energy storage system by allowing them to use the state Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC) process to site the project.
• LC 239: Attract Clean Tech Leadership: Oregon should lead in attracting clean energy businesses and manufacturing. With Inflation Reduction Act incentives available to clean tech manufacturing like battery and heat pump components and other states putting together incentive packages, now is the time for Oregon to grab a slice of this economic development pie.
• LC 58: Harness Offshore Wind Potential: Floating offshore wind on the Oregon coast has the potential to add 3 gigawatts of clean energy into our regional grid (enough to power at least a million homes). This bill would authorize the state to develop an Oregon offshore wind “Roadmap”. This Roadmap would engage stakeholders more deeply to ensure an inclusive, robust, and transparent process in developing this renewable resource. The bill also mandates fair labor standards for component parts construction and manufacturing.
Fossil Fuel Infrastructure Expansion Issues:
Climate Emergency Team and Volunteers Needed
Please consider joining the CE portfolio team; we lack volunteers in these critical policy areas:
• Natural Climate Solutions, specifically Oregon Dept of Agriculture (ODA)
• Climate Related Lawsuits/Our Children’s Trust
• Public Health Climate Adaptation (OHA)
• Regional Solutions / Infrastructure (with NR team)
• State Procurement Practices (DAS: Dept. of Admin. Services)
• CE Portfolio State Agency and Commission Budgets
• Climate Migration
We collaborate with LWVOR Natural Resource Action Committee members on many Climate Change mitigation and adaptation policy topics. Volunteers are needed: Training for Legislative and State Agency advocacy processes is available.