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Climate Emergency

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March 15, 2021 - Week 9

Climate Emergency Highlights and Priority Legislation (Claudia Keith)

Clean Energy HB 2995 now HB 2021 hearing Wed March 17

100% Clean Energy for All House Energy & Environment Hearing

When: Wednesday, March 17 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Where: Online! Watch the meeting here and submit testimony here.

Oregon Climate Action Program – 1 Year Anniversary

Oregon’s OCAP coalition has delayed their formal progress report this past week, however a press release was posted March 10: “Governor Kate Brown Issues Statement Marking One Year of Climate Action - State agencies show a year of progress implementing Governor’s Climate Executive Order”. Some highlights from the press release:

  • The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has begun the process to develop rules for its Climate Protection Program to exercise its authority under state law to cap and reduce emissions from some of the state’s largest emitters.

  • Release of the Climate Adaptation Framework, Climate Equity Blueprint, and the Climate and Health in Oregon Report, which will inform future actions to protect Oregon’s most vulnerable communities from the impacts of climate change.

  • The creation of a new Climate Policy Office at the Oregon Department of Transportation, that provided data on the climate impacts of ODOT’s major investment decisions, resulting in a historic 60% increase in allocation of federal funding for biking, walking, and public transportation for 2021-2024.

  • The launch of a statewide public electric charging plan which aligned statewide electrification efforts and incentivizes charging infrastructure in rural and historically-underserved communities.

  • Continued progress implementing the Every Mile Counts statewide transportation plan to reduce emissions from the transportation sector equitably through improved land use and transportation planning.

  • Wildfire prevention and mitigation work by the Public Utility Commission.

Agency work is underway to expand the state’s successful Clean Fuels Program, strengthen rules on methane emissions from landfills, and increase energy efficiency standards for buildings and appliances in Oregon to highest national standards.Global/National/Federal (Claudia Keith)

Food systems account for over one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. The Economist: Regulators want firms to own up to climate risk. Biden’s Stimulus Is a Big Deal for Public Transit -Why the rescue bill is (sort of) a climate bill. The pressure builds ahead of Biden-recovery push. Biden hires Carbon Tax expert. The fossil fuel industry may want a carbon tax, but Biden and Congressional Republicans are not necessarily fans… USDA conservation program seen as a way to help battle climate change. Biden wants bipartisan support for infrastructure, but… Biden faces balancing act advancing clean energy alongside labor allies… Nothing off the table: Gina McCarthy has big plans for the climate fight (former EPA head is now Bidens domestic czar…) Biden’s supply chain moves can reign in China and the Climate. First study of all Amazon greenhouse gases suggests the damaged forest is now worsening climate change. The pentagon announced a new working group on Climate this week. The forever sea grass faces uncertain future. Warming Trends: the value of natural land…Globally observed trends in mean and extreme river flow attributed to climate change. As the climate fight shifts to oil, Biden faces formidable foe. A new administration brings new focus to environmental and climate justice. Legal view on Biden’s supply chain mandate and (FORBES) worries signal a Looming crisis in U.S. security. Find Congressional Legislation Climate highlights HERE.

Region and State:

Climate adaptation: Merkley and Wyden introduce bills to insure a more disaster resilient power grid. - Wyden made the case for his new bill during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing. OEC: Oregon Environmental Council : Celebrating year ONE of Oregon’s Climate Action Plan.

Will race and income inequality trip up Cascadia’s fight against climate change?. The Northwest utilities take a fresh look at hydrogen fuel. SightLine Institute: The four fatal flaws of renewable natural gas. KLCC: The secret life of trees: researchers probe methane in Washington’s coastal forest. OSU professor joins badass women shaping climate action in 2021. Seven areas watch states for climate action. Army Corp of Engineers pick game changer for tribes. Climate Solutions: Fire & Ice: how Oregon’s past year makes clear why we need 100% clean electricity. Western Governors Assoc: Mapping state local private funding investment in EV infrastructure Webinar and Best of the West Highlights.

Agency and Commissions:

​Find updates across many agencies on the 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 2021: 100% Clean Energy (was HB 2995)

HB 2475: The Oregon Energy Affordability Act

HB 2842: Healthy Homes

Clean Energy and Other Topics (Kathy Moyd and Greg Martin)

The Senate Energy and Environment Committee (SEEC) voted 4-1 to move SJM 5-1 to the Senate floor. The joint memorial urges the adoption of the federal Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, a carbon fee and dividend bill. LWVOR supported SJM 5 in written and oral testimony.

The SEEC voted unanimously to move SB 318-1 for subsequent referral to Joint Ways & Means ( J W&M). The bill would allow the PUC to determine resource adequacy for load-serving entities (electricity service suppliers [ESSs] as well as public utilities) and to require each entity to periodically demonstrate its resource adequacy. Fiscal analysis indicated that the bill would cost $448,673, including a requirement for 2 new PUC staff positions. The Northwest & Intermountain Power Producers Coalition (NIPPC), a group of independent power producers and electricity service providers, introduced a competing amendment, which was not voted on. However, SB318 has now been scheduled for a Possible Reconsideration and Work Session on Monday.

On March 9, SEEC had a public hearing for SB 784, a bill developed by PGE, and supported by PacifiCorp and Idaho Power, which contains a number of different subjects. The utilities could offer a rate option to customers within a local government’s boundaries designed to meet its adopted renewable and non emitting energy goals. There must be either opt-in or opt-out provided, but testimony from several mayors indicated a preference for opt-out; customers already have individual opt-in capability with the utility. A concern was raised that the bill’s requirement for “responsible contractor” labor standards for large renewable energy projects might hamper development in some rural areas, especially since the limit for applicability was set at only $1 million. The bill would allow utilities to seek rate recovery for the costs of new energy resiliency measures. Amendments are likely.

Also this week, the House Energy and Environment Committee opened a work session on HB 3141, to extend the public purpose charge on retail electricity customers through 2035, reduce the charge from 3% to 1.5%, reallocate the revenues, and set up an additional fund for investment in projects to support cost-effective energy efficiency resources. The bill would temporarily increase, by $10 million annually, funds collected by utilities for low-income electric bill payment and crisis assistance. The committee adopted amendment -2 with no controversy, but the vote on the bill for subsequent referral to J W&M was deferred to next Wednesday because of confusion about the late-received fiscal statement. An amendment to remove the temporary increase is possible, in response to American Rescue Plan funds coming.

The House Energy and Environment Committee declared next week to be devoted to Clean Energy. HB 2021 is replacing HB 2995, 100% Clean Energy, one of three bills supported by the Oregon Clean Energy Opportunity campaign and other environmental and environmental justice organizations. There are informational presentations on Monday at 1 PM, including one by Senator Beyer on Amendment-1, containing the bill text, public hearing on Wednesday.

SB 589 Is scheduled for a Work Session on Thursday, March 18. The State Department of Energy to establish a public process to investigate potential costs and benefits from electric utilities participation in regional transmission organization. LWVOR provided written and verbal testimony.

The following bills have Public Hearings on Tuesday, March 23:

SB 360 Exempts small modular reactors from certain siting restrictions that apply to nuclear-fueled thermal power plants. This requires a vote of the electors of the city or county in which it is to be located. Preceded by an Informational presentation by NuScale.

SB 825 Creates income tax credit for energy production in Oregon.

“Energy facility includes any facility for the production of energy, including but not limited to facilities powered by wind power, solar power, landfill gas, digester gas, waste, dedicated energy crops, renewable marine energy, nuclear energy, fossil fuels, geothermal energy or hydroelectric power… The credit allowed under this section shall equal 50 percent of the taxes due for activities described in subsection (2) of this section.” It can be carried over for up to three years.

In addition, it sets up the Task Force on Free-Market Energy Production which “shall review existing laws related to energy production in Oregon to determine how to modify the laws to ensure that all forms of energy production are regulated equally, based on a scientific analysis of the risks and rewards posed by each form of energy production.”

Transportation (Julie Chapman)

HB 2165_Utility consumers charged to support transportation electrification, with PUC oversight. Adopted in the House Energy and Environment, and referred to Joint Transportation.

HB 2180_Amend state building code to require that new construction of larger multifamily and commercial buildings include provisions for electrical service capacity for 20% of parking spaces. Bipartisan support, to the House, with a do-pass recommendation.

Oregon Department of Transportation:

On Mar 9_Transportation Electrification Infrastructure Needs Analysis (TEINA) advisory group met to discuss modeling in preparation for the report to the Governor in June. The group consists of representatives from utilities, local jurisdictions, industry, advocates for transportation electrification and charging companies. Led by Amanda Pietz, head of the ODOT Climate Office, the group is considering models for siting charging infrastructure, within the construct of Covid/economic recovery. Though not meeting 2020 goals, EV adoption is happening rapidly. Urban areas need more fast chargers and about 3,000 more chargers by 2025. Rural areas need more powerful chargers and penetration into remote areas. ODOT is seeking input from vulnerable communities; state incentives will be needed in areas with fewer resources. Involvement of utilities is critical to support the charging network. Final report due May 11.

Mar 11_Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC), Climate Office/Amanda Pietz update. Meeting video link (minute 51:00) Developing an integrated climate-focused, five-year plan from the goals adopted in climate directives. She reinforced the need for state grants for charging infrastructure in areas where demand may not yet exist - in rural, low income and BIPOC communities. Community engagement: there will be updates for ongoing ODOT climate action plans and performance measures on the Climate Office website.

Jordan Cove Energy Project (JCEP) (Shirley Weathers)

We are aware of nothing new on the regulatory or judicial fronts with regard to the project since the last issue, but on March 9, Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeffrey Merkley reintroduced two bills in the U.S. Senate that stem from circumstances related to it. The Landowner Fairness Act (Wyden) and Ending Natural Gas Companies’ Seizure of Land for Export Profits (Merkley) are both inspired by harm stemming from eminent domain authority conferred on owners of the pipeline project by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), as is the case with the JCEP. From project proposal to the present, that authority has caused, and continues to cause, harm to numerous southern Oregon private landowners along the proposed Pacific Connector Pipeline. The PCP is part of the overall JCEP and would feed the Jordan Cove LNG processing and export facilities proposed in Coos Bay, OR. See Press release for more detail.

SB 392 (Shirley Weathers)

Sponsored by Senator Dembrow, this bill calls for DEQ to study fugitive emissions from natural gas, a critical source of powerful methane (CH4) release into the atmosphere. DEQ, ODOE, and PUC would collaborate on the study. SB 392 is scheduled for a Work Session on March 18 in the Senate E & E Committee. Senator Dembrow explained during the public hearing that the introduced bill is a placeholder and indicated that a bill was being written that would include more detail on the scope and informational goals of the study. Nothing of that nature is available for review at this writing, but it will no doubt be the subject of discussion and potential action at the Work Session. The LWVOR submitted testimony in support of the bill.Our Children’s Trust (OCT) ‘YOUTHVGOV’ (Claudia Keith)

Youth Plaintiffs in Constitutional Climate Change Case Ask Court’s Permission to Amend Complaint, Adjust Remedy Requested In Line With 9th Circuit Ruling. Oregonian : Youth climate activists try to revive federal lawsuit with a different strategy. Opinion @Eugene Register Guard: the kids seek their day in court.

Governor Brown’s Racial Justice 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.

  • 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. SJM 5

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.

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