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Legislative Report- Dec 5-9, 2022

Back to the full Legislative Report

Climate Emergency

National, Regional, and Oregon News Highlights

Clean Energy and GHGE Mitigation

Oregon Economic Analysis

Oregon Climate-Related Lawsuits

Local League Climate Updates

Volunteers Needed 

Climate Emergency

By Claudia Keith

In preparing for the 2023 Legislative session, we identified six preliminary priority policy and budget topics: 

-Efficient and Resilient Buildings, (includes a change in Oregon’s building codes)

-Natural and Working Lands OGWC proposal, (includes carbon sequestration opportunities)

-Environmental Justice, 

-Oregon Global Warming Commission (OGWC) Roadmap, (State on track to meet 2035 greenhouse gas reduction targets, forecast finds – Oregon Capital Chronicle

-Other Governor 20-04 Executive Order topics,

-CE related total 2023-2025 biennium budget. * 

(*the budget items will come from over 22 state agencies’ including 14 NR agencies, OHA, DAS, ODOT, ODOE, etc.) 

CE Budget: Many CE policy/Budget topics will have a package of bills. It is also imperative, for optimal outcomes, the Governor’s Office coordinate / manage cross-agencies; to ensure Oregon can take full advantage of historical levels of existing and new Federal funding. (ARPA, CHIP / SA IIJA and IRA.) Related to cross-agency coordination, during the 2019 Legislative session, SB 928 “ Oregon Climate Authority” was supported by LWVOR, Oregon Chapter of the American Planning Association, and many other respected organizations. The Congressional Inflation Reduction 348B$ Act includes a Green Bank function. Senator Merkley and Wyden: ‘Oregon Democrats say landmark bill would help communities adapt to climate change’- OPB

We hope to have Legislative Concept (LC) detailed information and possibly bill numbers to share in our next LR in mid-January. 

CE and NR budget topics were discussed at Governor-Elect Kotek‘s Natural Resource agencies (including DAS) Stockholder meeting, Friday, Dec 9. Peggy Lynch our NR coordinator was quoted in this article. A number of times during the meeting NR stakeholders spoke to the opportunity of leveraging federal funding for a number of critical policy topics.

National, Regional, and Oregon News Highlights

By Claudia Keith

Governor-Elect Tina ‘Kotek backs $200M-$300M for Oregon’s chip industry: ‘We have to be aggressive’ | Oregon company pitches plan to create Northwest hydrogen hub outside state agencies | Oregon Capital Chronicle.

Coalition of Communities of Color works toward more just and equitable energy future | Kresge Foundation, Oregon’s treasurer wants $90B pension fund to drop fossil fuels| OPB, President Biden Announces Key Appointments to Boards and Commissions | The White House ( including OSU Faculty member Dr. Brian Woods, Member, Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board), Oregon University Plans to Develop New Rechargeable Battery | Manufacturing Business Technology, Oregon ranchers launch climate-friendly beef program |, Federal auction jumpstarts floating, offshore wind power off California with Oregon slated for next year| OPB

World’s first carbon border tax lands in Europe – POLITICO. Boise activist ( LWVUS UN Cop 27 Observer) and school board member's trip to COP27 | Boise State Public Radio, The Climate Impact of Your Neighborhood, Mapped - The New York Times. Republicans seek to sabotage year-end spending bill | CNN, Explainer: Could fusion energy help fight climate change? | Reuters. Oregon slips to #11 in the ACEEE 2022 National State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, How Green Banks Are Financing the FightAgainst Climate Change | NRDC, One of Climate Changes great mysteries is finally being solved | The Washington Post, Biden-Harris Administration Announces an Additional $325 Million in Pilot Projects through Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, for Total Investment of $3.1 Billion. Americans want climate change taught in schools. Political parties aren't so sure. | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,

OGWC: Roadmap to 2035

OGWC’s Transformational Integrated Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction (TIGHGER) project aims to identify decarbonization actions across all sectors that can reduce GHG emissions while continuing to grow Oregon’s economy and enhance equity and quality of life. These potential actions will form the basis of OGWC’s accelerated Roadmap to 2035, targeting a 45% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030. 

In July-September, OGWC presented results of the modeling for future GHG reductions and co-benefits (e.g., health, jobs, and equity), and invited input on the modeled scenarios for meeting the GHG reduction goal. Analysts developed an Electrification scenario and a Hybrid scenario (RNG [renewable natural gas] and H2 + electrification). In both scenarios, implementing existing regulations and those under development is expected to result in meeting the 2035 goals. The October meeting focused on folding co-benefits into the TIGHGER analysis and finalizing the evaluation criteria for actions to be included in the roadmap.

The December 16 meeting examined the common and unique actions of the two scenarios, action scoring results, and evaluation criteria in great technical detail (see presentation slides). Notably, the analysis identified embodied carbon as having huge potential for emission reductions; action components could include use of environmental product regulations (like nutrition labels for building materials); measuring and disclosing the life-cycle emissions of a building during the design process; and adaptive reuse of existing buildings and roads. Regarding embodied carbon, Pat Delaquil commented that we need to bring costs down over time – the state should use its purchasing power to create niche markets for low-carbon materials.

The commissioners discussed draft recommendations proposed by OGWC staff (see final seven slides), including but not limited to: 

  • Updating the state’s overall and sector-based GHG reduction goals based on best available science and what other states are doing (details in staff memorandum)

  • Expanding OGWC composition by adding OHCS to the list of agency non-voting members, and adding two new voting members—a “youth representative” and a member with experience in environmental justice

Next steps: OGWC is behind in its project timeline, now looking to submit the roadmap report to the legislature by March 1. Current public comment period is extended to 1/5/23. Updated draft recommendations will be posted 1/9/23. Next OGWC meeting is 1/13/23. OGWC expects to finalize recommendations in late Jan. or early Feb.

Clean Energy and GHGE Mitigation

By Kathy Moyd

Climate Protection Program Temporary Rule 

During development of CPP rules, DEQ staff identified an industrial facility using natural gas in a non-combustion process where greenhouse gas emissions were not released into the atmosphere because the natural gas molecules were instead captured and stored. DEQ therefore drafted 340-271-0110(4)(b)(B)(iii) to exempt, from a local distribution company’s covered emissions, natural gas being used as a feedstock (a non-combustion related process) in an industrial process that resulted in the capture and storage of the gas molecules. As determined by DEQ, the natural gas emissions captured and stored in this process do not result in direct, onsite emissions; emissions are not released into the atmosphere from these processes.

Since then, recently submitted applications to modify existing air permits for stationary sources have proposed non-combustion uses of natural gas where the natural gas is oxidized. The resulting emissions would not be captured and stored in a product and instead directly emitted to the atmosphere, with the same emission results as if the natural gas were combusted.

DEQ proposed a temporary rule to amend OAR-340-271-0110 to provide further clarification and to ensure that emissions from natural gas delivered by a local distribution company, whether combusted or oxidized, are covered emissions for local distribution companies. Only when greenhouse gas emissions are avoided due to a process in which the natural gas molecules are captured and stored if sufficiently documented by information provided to DEQ, will DEQ exclude such avoided emissions from covered emissions.

DEQ held a public meeting to receive oral comments on the proposed temporary rule amendment on Oct. 24, 2022 and requested written comments on the proposed temporary rule amendment by 4 p.m. on Oct. 31, 2022.The League testified at the meeting and provided written testimony. The EQC adopted the final version of the Rule  on November 17. It had been changed in response to a comment made by one of the public commenters and supported by several others, including in League testimony.

Oregon Energy Siting Policy Table

Kathy Moyd has been participating as Co-Chair of the Transmission Workgroup of the Oregon Energy Siting Policy Table, providing a report on the Workgroup at the Interim House Environmental and Natural Resources (HENR) Committee meeting on December 8.

Legislation and Budget

No major legislation concerning clean energy or greenhouse gas reductions was brought up in either the HENR or the Interim Senate Energy and Environment Committee meetings. Recommendations for support of a few items were provided to LWVOR’s budget maven for the Governor’s Listening Session on December 9.

Oregon Economic Analysis

By Claudia Keith

The Oregon Economic and Revenue Forecast mid-Nov quarterly report expects a mild recession so some planned spending may be canceled or deferred. The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis has never conformed to what is now recommended SEC Climate Risk disclosure rule. In 2022 SEC (Federal Securities and Exchange Commission) is recommending all public and private entities that sell securities be required to use the ESG reporting tool. This proposed SEC rule may take effect in 2023. See supportive LWVOR-initiated LWVUS Testimony,  June 2022. 

Oregon Climate Related Lawsuits

By Claudia Keith

Be reminded there are numerous lawsuits 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, some 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.

Our Children’s Trust has partnered with 3 other international organizations: ‘Global Organizations Provide Evidence to European Court of Human Rights: 1.5°C Climate Target Too Weak on Human Rights ‘. It appears that Judge Aiken may rule favorably in Dec or early January on “juliana v u.s.” federal case.

Local League Climate Updates

By Claudia Keith

The Corvallis League is in the process of considering opposing the City of Corvallis new NW Natural Gas Franchise Agreement. Many cities in Oregon, Eugene, Clackamas, and now Gresham have all let the agreement with NW Natural Gas expire/lapse or have a 3-year agreement that refers to no or limited NG expansion. In addition, Corvallis and other cities are working on implementing a mandatory HOME ENERGY Score required at time of sale. The League has recently been very clear about methane in particular.

Volunteers Needed 

By Claudia Keith

Please consider joining the CE portfolio team, we lack volunteers in these critical policy areas:

Natural and Working lands, specifically Agriculture/ODA

Transportation & DLCD/LCD Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities – 

Efficient Resilient Buildings

Public Health Climate Adaptation

Regional Solutions / Infrastructure 

State Procurement Practices (DAS: Dept. of Admin. Services) 

CE Portfolio State Agency and Commission Budgets