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Climate Emergency

Legislative Report - Week of 3/20

Jump to a topic:

  • Climate Emergency Priorities

  • Other CE Bills

  • Interstate 5 Bridge Project

  • Oregon Economic Analysis 

  • Oregon Treasury

  • Climate Related Lawsuits: Oregon and…

Climate Emergency Priorities

By Claudia Keith, Climate Emergency Coordinator

Good news, all CE priorities have Work Sessions scheduled or have already moved forward from their policy committee. Find in previous LR reports additional background on each CE priority.

1. Natural and Working Lands: SB 530 LWVOR Alert: Work Session 3/27. The fiscal has not been posted. An amendment may get posted to simplify multiple-agency policy implementation. The League continues to be an active coalition member.

2. Resilient Buildings (RB): LWVOR Alert. Work sessions are 3/28 and 3/30. The League is an active RB coalition partner. Link to League testimonies: SB 868, 869, 870 and 871. The fiscals have not yet been posted. I understand that the HOMES part of the federal IRA hasn’t released guidance yet, this makes it difficult for the legislature to know what to count on and what matching might be needed.

3. Environmental Justice (EJ) 2023 Leg bills: The League joined the Worker Advocate Coalition on 2/13 and SB 593 is one of two bills the League will follow and support. The ‘Right to Refuse dangerous work’ SB 907, League testimony. Public Hearing (#2) and Work Session is 3/28. There are issues with this bill that need to be addressed, in an expected amendment.

4. Oregon Climate Action Commission (currently Oregon Global Warming Commission): Roadmap, SB 522, 3/23. -2 amendment was posted 3/22.

5. Other Governor Climate / Carbon Policy Topics: See 20-04 Executive Order topics. This area includes other GHG emission mitigation/reductions (DEQ) and new clean renewable energy (DOE), OHA public health, and ODOT (Dept of Transportation) policy and funding bills.

6. CE related total 2023-2025 biennium budget: The governor’s budget* was published Jan 31; Kotek’s budget priorities. A main funding problem concerns how the favorable ending current period balance, estimated to be >$765M, can be used. It will take a 3/5 vote to pass this proposed change. We provided testimony on the Oregon Dept. of Energy (ODOE) budget (HB 5016), requesting additional agency requests that were not included in the Governor’s budget. Another major issue, the upcoming mid-May Forecast will provide required budget balancing guidelines.

Other CE Bills

By Claudia Keith

HB 2763 : Creates a State public bank Task Force. Like RB task force the 23 member Task Force is required to recommend no later than Jan 2024. “The report must include a recommendation for a governing structure for a public bank.” This topic will likely have a bill in the 2024 session.

HB 3016 community green (tree canopy) infrastructure, Rep Pham K, Senator Dembrow, Rep Gamba. Work Session was 3/15. Legislative Summary description. Fiscal is not clear for agency FTE adds, maybe ~$900K, nor source of grant funds.

House Bill 2816, Recent amendments posted

“… scheduled for a committee (work session) vote on March 27, would require every (major) carbon emitter to follow the same rules as major utilities. (data centers) A 2021 law set ambitious timelines for utilities, including the state’s two biggest electrical providers, Portland General Electric and Pacific Power, to lower their carbon emissions and switch to non-carbon-emitting power sources by 2040.” Oregon could tighten climate regulations for data centers, cryptocurrency farms | Oregon Capital Chronicle. No fiscal posted. Climate Solutions testimony.

HB 2713 -1, PH 3/29 and work session 4/3. Local Regulation of Fossil Fuels: home rule cities and counties have constitutional authority to prohibit or limit use of fossil fuels in new buildings or installation of fossil fuel infrastructure. Permits cities and counties, whether home rule or not, to prohibit or limit use of fossil fuels in new buildings or installation of fossil fuel infrastructure. No fiscal posted.

House CE&E Meeting

By Greg Martin

The committee moved HB 3418-1 to the floor with a do-pass recommendation, with referral to Joint Tax Expenditures. The bill would extend the sunset date of the Solar and Storage Rebate Program from 1/2/2024 to 1/2/2029. ODOE would have to waive the requirement that construction begin within 12 months of an award if construction was delayed because of supply chain or workforce disruptions or shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fiscal impact is estimated at $547K for 2023-25, $703K for 2025-27. ODOE received a GF appropriation of $15 million in 2021-23 and anticipates that all funds will be obligated by the end of the biennium. If additional funding were provided to carry the program forward, ODOE would change three existing limited-duration administrative positions into permanent positions.

Senate E&E

By Greg Martin

The committee sent these bills to the floor with a do-pass recommendation:

SB 145 (w/ referral to Joint Tax Exp.), extends until 7/1/2032 the sunset date for the property tax exemption for the High Desert Biomass Coop, which burns "hog fuel" to produce hot water and steam for delivery in Burns. No fiscal impact (or comments, please).

The committee also heard testimony for Sen. Hayden's SB 1015, which would allow accelerated depreciation (over two years) of “carbon reducing upgrades” that could include replacement of older heavy-duty diesel trucks, manufacturing and building upgrades, adoption of clean vehicles for fleet use. Would apply to tax years beginning on or after 1/1/2020. No fiscal impact statement was available but committee members seemed favorable.

Interstate 5 (I5) Bridge Project

By Liz Stewart

Final design is undecided. Stakeholders have been identified and engaged. 

  • Draft Environmental Impact Statement to be released early this fall, with a 45-60 day comment period once released. Final environmental impact decision anticipated in 2024

  • Finance plan will be released in March and updated annually

  • Section 106 impacts (historical, cultural, archeological): An online public open house is planned for April related to Section 106 impacts. 

The Equity and Mobility Advisory Committee (EMAC) has worked to help identify strategies to improve outcomes and access to travel choices for all demographics. Their most recent meeting, March 20, covered the design process. 

To find background on the project or get involved, sign up for email on IBR project website.

Meetings & Events | I-5 Bridge Replacement Program

IBR has several public groups formed to give input on the project. Find out about participation at public meetings here and here.

Oregon Economic Analysis 

By Claudia Keith

The Oregon Economic and Revenue Forecast was released Feb 22. The next forecast is due May 17. JW&M recommended budget will use the May forecast to balance the budget.

The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis has continued to ignore the recommended SEC Climate Risk disclosure rule. The Need For Climate Risk Disclosures: A Case Study Of Physical Risk Of Two REITS, EQR And ARE | Forbes. Federal and state policies impacting ESG reporting could be issued in 2023 | U.S. Green Building Council. SEC Chair Responds to Questions on Potential Lawsuit on Climate Disclosure, Fast Paced Rulemaking | Reuters. Gensler says SEC climate disclosure rule will focus on consistency | Pensions & Investments. Key insights for asset owners developing investor climate action plans | Ceres.

See supportive SEC disclosure LWVOR-initiated LWVUS Testimony, June 2022. 

Oregon Treasury

By Claudia Keith

It is unclear how Oregon Treasury/Treasurer Tobias will assist with addressing the $27B Federal funds, contingent on formation of an Oregon Green Bank. Up To $27B Available for NPO Clean Energy Activities. | TNPT.

Treasurer Tobias Read Releases First-Ever Oregon Financial Wellness Scorecard| OST. Jan 2023 Pers Statement

Climate Related Lawsuits: Oregon and…

By Claudia Keith

Numerous lawsuits are challenging Oregon’s DEQ CPP regulations. Here is one example of how to track them. Basically, there are a number of active state and federal lawsuits, (March 2023 update) some of which could assist in meeting Oregon's Net Zero GHG Emissions before 2050 targets and other lawsuits, which challenge 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 62 lawsuits with OREGON mentioned. Climate lawsuits:

Oregon and PNW News

Oregon’s $4 Billion Economic Opportunity From Ambitious Climate Policy | Forbes. Ashland youth push city to ban fossil fuel infrastructure in new buildings | Jefferson Public Radio. Oregon could tighten climate regulations for data centers, cryptocurrency farms – Oregon Capital Chronicle. Portland Inno - Tech industry, E. Oregon lawmakers warn of economic toll if data center emissions bill passes | BizJR. Energy Facility Siting Council to Meet March 24, 2023 — ODOE.

National and Global News

A ‘Rocking Chair Rebellion’: Seniors Call On Banks to Dump Big Oil - The New York Times. Why India Walks a Tightrope Between US and Russia ( cheap oil…) - The Washington Post. Shaheen to admin: Get me the Black Sea strategy| Politico. The climate debate over the Willow oil project, explained - The Washington Post. States debate whether to restrict—or invite—crypto mining – GCN. FACT SHEET: One Year of Supporting Ukraine | The White House. Commentary: Biden weighs in on the battle for the soul of Wall Street. Here’s how the president’s first veto will shape the way Americans’ money is managed | Fortune. Modi’s Climate Change Goal at Risk as India Renewable Energy Push Hits Hurdles – Bloomberg. Russia Wants a Fossil Fuel Relationship. China Has Cold Feet | Time. Climate protesters call on banks to divest from fossil fuels : NPR. Weekly Planet | The Atlantic Journal

Volunteers Needed 

By Claudia Keith

Request to Local Leagues; please let us know your climate, resilience, or sustainability advocacy actions. Please consider joining the CE portfolio team; we lack volunteers in these critical policy and law areas:

  •     Natural and Working lands, specifically 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

We collaborate with Natural Resource Action members on many Climate Change mitigation and adaptation policy topics. Volunteers are needed: The 2023 legislative session began Jan 17. If any area of Climate Emergency interests you, please contact Claudia Keith, CE Coordinator. Orientation to Legislative and State Agency advocacy processes is available.

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