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Climate Emergency

Legislative Report - Week of 3/27

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  • Climate Emergency Priorities

  • Other CE Bills

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  • Climate Related Lawsuits: Oregon and…

Climate Emergency Priorities

By Claudia Keith, Climate Emergency Coordinator

CE priority bills continue to move forward. Find in previous LR reports additional background on each CE priority. (Find additional more current details below.)

1. Natural and Working Lands: expect Amendments. New Work Sessions scheduled 3/29 and 4/3. The -6 amendment fiscal has not been posted. -4 amendment fiscal. The League continues to be an active coalition member.

2. Resilient Buildings (RB): LWVOR Alert. Work sessions were held on  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, expect them prior to work sessions. Recently posted to OLIS:

3. Environmental Justice (EJ) 2023 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 was on 3/30. New on OLIS: SB 907 staff measure summary. Given input from a number of industry reps, expect an amendment for the 3/30 work session. SB907 Coalition Sign-on Letter - LWVOR one of many… (Scroll down to page 2 for all the LOGOS.)

4. Oregon Climate Action Commission (currently Oregon Global Warming Commission): Roadmap, SB 522, New Work Session  3/30. New -3 amendment.

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 (DEQ & 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) and will be adding climate items to (DEQ)  HB 5018 League 3/30 testimony. In both cases, our testimony will request additional agency requests that were not included in the Governor’s Jan budget. Another major issue, the upcoming mid-May Forecast, will likely provide new required budget balancing guidelines.

Other CE Bills

By Claudia Keith

HB 2763: League Testimony. Creates a State public bank Task Force. Like the 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. Moved on 3/14 with recommendation to JWM with -1 amendment.

HB 3016 community green infrastructure, Rep Pham K, Senator Dembrow, Rep Gamba. Work Session was 3/15. Moved to JWM unanimously. Legislative Summary description. Fiscal is not clear for multiple-agency FTE adds, ~$900K, nor source of grant funds. “The Legislative Fiscal Office (LFO) notes that the measure establishes a program for awarding grants for which the revenue source has yet to be identified… “

HB 2816, -3 amendment ‘ Data Center / High Energy Use Facility. New Work Session 4/3. 3/20 Staff Summary

HB 2713 No longer active bill. The -1 amendment, PH 3/29 and work session 4/3 OLIS postings were deleted. 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. League testimony was posted to OLIS on 3/23.

Senate E&E 3/28

By Greg Martin

The committee had a high old time today with the jokes and jibes flowing freely. In between the chuckles, they moved a couple of bills of interest:

SB 1015 -- moved to the floor with prior reference to Joint Tax Exp. It would accelerate the depreciation of "carbon reducing upgrades" that demonstrably reduce emissions, e.g. from older heavy-duty trucks, manufacturing facilities, or building upgrades and remodels. DoR estimates the introduced bill would cost $116K GF and $29K Other Funds in 2023-25, and slightly more in the next biennium. 

SB 678 -- moved without recommendation back to the Senate president w/ request to refer to Rules. It would establish state policy on benefits and priorities of offshore wind development. No fiscal or revenue impacts identified at this time.

Other work sessions: 

SB 542, the Right to Repair bill -- the committee carried over the work session to Thursday to allow more discussion of amendments brought by Chair Sollman. Among other issues, she indicated her intent to remove the potential for class action suits.

SBs 868, 869, 870, and 871: The committee spent 10 minutes or so discussing this suite of bills, all of which have amendments posted, before carrying the work session over to Thursday. 

House CE&E 3/20

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 were 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 Meeting

By Greg Martin

Senate E&E held a work session 3/23 on SB 522, the OGWC bill, for the sole purpose of inviting Sen. Dembrow to explain the -2 amendment, posted on 3/22. First, Dembrow said he had heard several concerns not yet addressed by the proposed amendment:

Legacy language from the 2007 enabling legislation requiring OGWC to "examine cap-and-trade systems" as a means of achieving the state's GHG emission goals. This language was flagged  before submitting testimony in support of the introduced bill. Sen. Findley said he would like to see all references to cap and trade removed, and Dembrow said he had no problem with that.

Potential overlap or redundancy with SB 530 in the requirement for OGWC to develop carbon sequestration goals for N&WL; Dembrow said he would be OK with removing that language from SB 522-2 if necessary.

Sen. Brock Smith's concern that adding two new members to the commission might upset the balance of interests; Dembrow suggested adding someone with expertise in fisheries.

A fiscal impact statement was not available yet but Dembrow said he understands that ODOE will need more staff to support the commission's expanded work.

Concern arose during the work session about the elevated targets for GHG emission reduction (including net zero emissions by 2050) in Section 1. Dembrow inserted these new targets, which the OGWC recommended at the end of its TIGHGER study, to replace the outdated targets in the 2007 statute. 

Findley repeatedly asked for assurance that setting these new targets in statute would not "codify EO 20-04" and "move the goalposts" for businesses struggling to comply with the CPP. Dembrow repeatedly assured him that the targets will not affect the regulation of business sectors under the CPP but represent economy-wide aspirational goals based on the best available science. Sen. Lieber pressed the point: This will not trigger a new rulemaking? Dembrow said no, and Findley asked him to say so again for the record. Findley asked why we should put aspirational goals in statute and "scare the heck out of people" rather than express them in a joint resolution. Dembrow noted that we already have climate action goals in statute; like many other states, but ours are woefully outdated. 

In the end, Dembrow conceded that there will have to be at least one more amendment. Findley said he wants to see the word "aspirational" in there somewhere. Chair Sollman carried over the public hearing to take testimony on the amendments, in view of the potential for what she called "confusion and heightened emotions.” No date has been set yet.

House CE&E 3/27

By Greg Martin

House CE&E moved these "bills of support" on the OCN hot list to the House floor with prior reference to W&M:

HB 2990-1, the Healthy Soils Bill -- requires DHS, OHA, and ODOE to provide grants, support and technical assistance for Resilience Hubs and Networks. Committee vote was 9-1 (Wallan). Fiscal impact statement appears to call for about $512K for DHS and OHA staff support in 2023-25, excluding any amounts appropriated for grants. 

HB 3196-1, CPP Oversight -- allows EQC to set fees to be paid by community climate investment entities to cover DEQ's costs of administering the related portions of the CPP and establishes an interest-bearing Community Climate Investment Oversight Account for that purpose.The League submitted testimony in support of the original bill. Committee vote was 6-4 (Levy B, Osborne, Owens, Wallan). Per the fiscal impact statement, fee revenue is indeterminate but will need to be sufficient to pay for four new positions and associated costs included in Policy Option Package 115 in the Governor’s Budget for DEQ. The package includes a request for $500,000 GF and $1 million in Other Funds expenditure limitation; the GF will pay for program operations until Other Funds are received from the authorized fee. DEQ anticipates setting the fee at a level sufficient to garner $2 million in Other Funds during 2023-25.

Work sessions are scheduled on 8 or 9 bills on Wednesday, April 5.

Senate E&E 3/21

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).

SB 444 (w/ referral to Joint W&M), directs DEQ to establish a Recycling Innovators Grant Program and seeds the grant fund with a $20 million GF appropriation for 2023-25. 

The committee also heard testimony for Sen. Hayden's SB 1015 to 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.

Resilient Buildings

By Arlene Sherrett

Additional amended text was posted on OLIS for SB 868-3, Heating and Cooling for All, 869-2, Build Smart from the Start, 870-3, Building Performance Standard, and 871-2, Smart State Buildings. A short work session was held to briefly go over the amendments intents/effects. A lot of work has been done on the bills in response to issues raised at the public hearing, but the principal goals are the same. The fiscal impacts of one bill, 870-3 the Building Performance Standard, were discussed; six or seven employees would be added to ODOE to handle compliance. A second work session was scheduled on 3/30/23. 

HB 3166-2 was adopted with a do pass recommendation and referred to W&Ms: this whole-home energy savings program should draw IRA ($57 Mil + 56.7 Mil) funds from the federal home energy efficiency program for rebates on electric high-efficiency devices. Costs are indeterminate; an estimate of what would be needed from Oregon general funds is just over half a million for each of the next two biennia. However, funding remains unclear. This bill dovetails with SB 869-2 (above) in creating a one-stop shopping facility for energy efficiency information, technical support, and certified contractor information. 

HB 3056-4 A-Engrossed version was referred with a do pass recommendation to Ways and Means. The bill extends funding for the heat pump grant and rebate program to January 2, 2026. The Fiscal Impact Statement on this bill shows a cost of $20,845,967 to be spent in the 2023-25 biennium.

HB 3152-2 was scheduled for more hearing time on 4/3/2023. There was some confusion over what the bill does in the last hearing. The bill would shorten the time for the PUC to establish any change in utility ratemaking around costs of line extensions. There will be a fiscal impact, but no statement has been issued yet.

All these bills will compete for funding, with others. This session there is a very tight budget with the Governor’s priority being housing.

Interstate 5 (I5) Bridge Project

By Liz Stewart and Arlene Sherrett

The League has identified the I-5 Bridge Replacement as a key project impacting Oregonians and anyone traveling the I-5 corridor. This extensive, multi-year project is projected to cost between $5-7.5 billion and take until 2028 to complete. Washington and Oregon state transportation departments are jointly leading the project.

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: Emerging trends in ESG governance for 2023 | Harvard. The Need For Climate Risk Disclosures: A Case Study Of Physical Risk Of Two REITS, EQR And ARE | Forbes.

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

Oregon Treasury

By Claudia Keith

It is unclear how Oregon Treasury/Treasurer Tobias Read 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.

The Oregon Investment Council met March 8; see the meeting packet. ESG is mentioned on page 7. The formal meeting minutes have not yet been posted. The agenda included ESG Regulatory Update Sarah Bernstein 7 Managing Principal, Meketa and Steven Marlowe, Assistant Attorney General, Oregon Department of Justice.

Treasurer Tobias Read Releases First-Ever Oregon Financial Wellness Scorecard | OST. Jan 2023 Pers Statement. Moody’s recent Oregon Bond rating rational: ‘Moody's assigns Aa1 to the State of Oregon's GO bonds; outlook stable’. 

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:

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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