March 1, 2021 - Week 7
Highlights and Priority Legislation (Claudia Keith)
SJM 5 League Testimony was provided to the Senate E & E committee on Feb 25. This League letter was approved by LWVOR and LWVUS given it relates to 2021 Congressional legislation. Senate Joint Memorial 5: ‘Urging Congress to enact bipartisan climate change legislation’; A letter from the State of Oregon Legislature addressed to the President of the United States and the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled. SJM 5 urges Congress to pursue viable solutions to the threat posed by climate change and to pass the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (find additional details in Kathy Moyd’s report).
Biden Administration hikes the cost of carbon, easing path to new rules - the social cost of carbon will have ripple effects throughout industry. White House Climate Czar to AP: Texas storm "a wakeup call". BBC: Climate change: Carbon emission promises 'put Earth on red alert'. The SEC is reviewing and Investors are asking companies for Climate risk financial disclosure. This new EPA mapping tool could reshape environmental justice. Scientific America: How Biden‘s environmental justice order might work. NPR: DOE Secretary Granholm: situation in Texas outages show need for major changes in U.S. systems. E.U. Commission: Building a Climate - Resilient Future – a new EU strategy on adaptation to Climate Change. DOE Secretary Granholm: What's coming for Climate, Clean Power. The battle over climate change is boiling over on the home front -Municipalities want new buildings to go all electric, spurning gas-fired stoves and heating systems. NPR: As cities grapple with climate change, gas utilities fight to stay in business. Bill Gates: Nuclear power will 'absolutely' be politically acceptable. Illinois energy bill proposes 'green bank' as national movement goes. Find Congressional Legislation Climate highlights HERE.
Region and State:
Mapping Climate Vulnerability As part of the yearlong reporting project “Getting to Zero: Decarbonizing Cascadia,” InvestigateWest commissioned a set of maps that provide digital windows into vulnerabilities spanning Washington and Oregon that are likely to worsen with climate change. OPB: As Oregon continues to face extreme weather conditions, what can the state do to keep the lights on? How Green Is Your Constitution? An Ashland legislator has introduced a constitutional amendment on environmental rights that could empower Oregon activists.
Agency and Commissions:
Find updates across many agencies on State of Oregon ‘Action on Climate Change’ topics HERE. Find weekly 2021 updates at Oregon Greenhouse Emissions Program web page HERE. And DOE weekly blog updates HERE.
Coalition Shared Priorities:
The League is an active member of OCN, OCAP and is considering joining the Clean Energy Opportunity Coalition; all these groups prioritize the following 3 bills.
HB 2995: 100% Clean Energy
HB 2475: The Oregon Energy Affordability Act
HB 2842: Healthy Homes
Clean Energy and Other Topics (Kathy Moyd)
In SJM 5 - 1 the Legislature recognizes “the urgent need to pursue viable solutions to the threat posed by climate change to the State of Oregon, our nation and the world.” In our letter of support, which was approved by LWVUS, we referred to the LWVUS endorsement of the Thrive Agenda and The Children’s Fundamental Rights and Climate Recovery Resolution in September 2020. SJM 5 - 1 urges that Congress pass and the President sign an Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (EI&CDA), implementing a carbon fee and dividend. LWVUS supports putting a price on carbon based on the effectiveness of the method to abate emissions and whether the method can be successfully implemented. We concluded that the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act satisfies these criteria. Because we are concerned about increasing the energy burden on those who cannot afford it, we were pleased that the rebate is predicted to compensate at least 50% of households for the increased costs due to the fee.
HR 3141 lowers the public purpose charge on electricity but provides for the released funds to be used for cost-effective energy efficiency resources. It also includes a temporary increase by $10 million annually in funds collected by electric companies for low-income electric bill payment and crisis assistance needed because of the pandemic.
Of course, we support energy efficiency, there were some questions about the bill, so we waited until after the Public Hearing to testify. The Public Hearing demonstrated the collaborative manner in which it was developed and made clear the appreciation that many stakeholders, ranging from the Tribes to the Three Sisters Irrigation District, have for the Energy Trust of Oregon, which will be responsible for administering the funds collected for energy efficiency resources. PGE and PacifiCorp also testified in support of the bill.
For next week, we are preparing a letter of support for HB 2479, adding certain aerosol contaminants, including black carbon (commonly known as “soot”) to the definition of “global warming”. Black carbon is especially harmful, because it darkens snow and ice, causing them to warm and melt more rapidly. The primary anthropogenic sources of black carbon in Oregon are diesel engines.
Transportation (Julie Chapman)
A public Hearing was held for SB 2290, which requires the State Parks and Recreation Department to develop and implement a plan for installation and service of public electric vehicle charging stations in parking spaces that are part of the state park system facilities. Testimony supported the role of this infrastructure to assist in transition to EV ownership and for rural Oregon and tourism.
SB 314 -1 Allowing electric companies to charge electricity customers to invest in infrastructure for transportation electrification; similarly, it allows natural gas utilities to charge natural gas customers for investments in infrastructure to support vehicles running on natural gas or hydrogen. After amending the filed bill to specify “renewable” as opposed to “compressed” natural gas, the committee voted 4-1 (Taylor) to move SB 314 as amended to the Senate floor.
Forestry (Josie Koehne)
A wildfire report that was commissioned last August (HB 4304) will be released in mid to late March on wildfire costs and funding sources and will be the basis for wildfire policy discussions and funding this session. The Oregon Board of Forestry will meet Wednesday, March 3 with a presentation by Catherine MacDonald, Chair of the Oregon Global Warming Commission (OGWC) at 2:30-3:15, which should be worth seeing, as well as many other interesting topics.
Jordan Cove Energy Project (JCEP) (Shirley Weathers)
There’s still no specific regulatory news on the project since the good news reported two weeks ago, but the interests and concerns of the various affected tribal communities have received long-overdue attention, both locally and nationally. JCEP officials’ failure to deal appropriately with Native American leaders have been noted over the years, but in upholding Oregon’s denial of the Coastal Zone Management Act certification, the NOAA deputy undersecretary for operations involved in the decision specifically noted that the project developer had fallen far short of its obligations to consider impacts on cultural and historical tribal resources. "[E]ach of the responding tribes noted their disappointment with the degree to which they had received government-to-government consultations," as is required under tribal sovereignty agreements. Then on February 18, Governor Brown wrote to the new FERC Chair, Richard Glick, requesting that the agency “provide for meaningful consultation with Oregon’s federally recognized Tribes regarding the Jordan Cove Energy Project,” including inviting any Oregon Tribe to be a signatory to the project’s Section 106 Programmatic Agreement. Heretofore, FERC has offered only the lesser “concurring party” status to tribes. Brown indicated that this and other prior actions fall short of meaningful government-to-government relationships with the tribes.
Our Children’s Trust (OCT) (Claudia Keith)
This session Senator Jeff Golden is sponsoring SJR 5, a constitutional amendment on environmental rights that could assist the OCT state lawsuit. “..The bill is inspired by the Green Amendment movement, …the Legislature might wait on voting due to other pressing issues, and since the bill refers the matter to an election, voters would have to approve it as soon as November 2022…” The bill proposes amending the Oregon Constitution to establish the right a to a clean and healthy environment and to preservation of natural, cultural, scenic, recreational and healthful qualities of environment; would require the state to serve as trustee of natural resources and maintain natural resources for the benefit of all people. Refers the proposed amendment to people for their approval or rejection at the next general election. A recent case in Canada. “River wins legal rights in global push to protect nature. - Environmental groups say protecting nature rights could be critical in safeguarding global biodiversity “.
Governor Brown’s Budget Highlights (Claudia Keith)
(Many of these budget items may end up in Agency Budgets as POPS or could be legislative bills introduced later in the session)
Racial Justice Council and Environmental Equity:
The following 9 items address these targeted populations: Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, and Tribal populations
SB 289 & SB 286: An Environmental Equity Committee was formed as part of the Governor’s Racial Justice Council to develop recommendations to establish environmental justice and access to the outdoors.
The Governor’s Budget invests in several of the recommendations put forward by the committee, including:
Funding in DEQ to conduct a study to determine obstacles and opportunities for electrifying farm, medium, and heavy-duty vehicles to reduce pollution and carbon emissions.
Domestic Food Market Access-Funding Opportunities - supporting the domestic food market with funding opportunities administered by the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
Establishing a place-based community centered program to address water needs, water rights, water scarcity, and ecosystem services in the Water Resources Department.
See HB 2488 in NR report: Incorporating environmental justice analysis measures in land use decisions within the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) current processes.
Develop a grant program to fund adaptive transportation solutions in rural communities
Establish grant funds for recreation engagement, support and fund community-led recreation programs, and establish/enhance safe and comfortable outdoor tourism and recreation as part of the Office of Outdoor Recreation within the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.
Creation of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion positions in the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Department of Environmental Quality, Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation.
Other Bills the CE team is following:
SB589 utilities Regional Transmission Org, SB392 Fugitive GHGE, SB56 GHGE Civil Penalty, HB2698 Right to Repair, HB2479 Black Carbon, SB333 Hydrogen Study, HB2688 Procurement Low Carbon, HB2398 Reach Building Codes, SJR 5 Rights – to clean and healthy environment
Find these Climate Emergency related bills in NR Legislative Report
HB 2488: "Equity and Climate in Land Use”: A bill to incorporate environmental justice, equity and climate goals into our statewide land use planning goals, (Rep.Power and Helm and Senator Golden, Frederick, Manning and Dembrow)
HB 2065: Modernize Recycling System Relating to modernizing Oregon's recycling system. Requires producers of covered products to join the producer responsibility organization unless exempt.
SB 289 & SB 286: Environmental Justice
HB 5024 Oregon Health Authority Climate / Environmental Justice Public Health Budget POP 417