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Climate Emergency

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March 22, 2021 - Week 10

Climate Emergency Highlights and Priority Legislation (Claudia Keith)

Clean Energy HB 2021 hearing Wed March 22 and March 29, ‘100% Clean Energy for All’ House Energy & Environment Public Hearing, Where: Online! Watch the March 22 meeting here and submit testimony here.

Oregon Dept of Lands and Conservation Development: Climate-Friendly and Equitable Communities, Rulemaking Effort Seeks Your Guidance.

On March 10, 2020, Governor Kate Brown issued Executive Order 20-04, directing agencies to reduce climate pollution. In response, the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) initiated rulemaking last fall to significantly strengthen Oregon's administrative rules about transportation and housing planning. The effort is focused particularly on areas with populations over 50,000 people (Albany, Bend, Corvallis, Eugene-Springfield, Grants Pass, Medford-Ashland, Portland Metro, and Salem-Keizer).

To provide guidance for the rulemaking process, the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) staff have convened a diverse Rulemaking Advisory Committee. The DLCD staff are now convening community conversations to help ensure elected and appointed community leaders and community members are apprised of the rulemaking and are invited into the process.

More info HERE

April 6, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm Albany-Corvallis (register here)

April 13, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm Southern Oregon (register here)

May 11, Noon – 1:30 pm Bend (register here)

May 19, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm Eugene-Springfield (register here)

May 25, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm Salem-Keizer (register here)

The DLCD invites your guidance on how best to design and implement the rules to achieve these outcomes. Please help spread the word. Join the Conversation

Learn more about the rulemaking effort and sign up for updates here

Global/National/Federal Updates (Claudia Keith)

​Voice of America:

China, U.S. to form a Climate Change working group, China says. U.S.-China 1st face-to-face talks under Biden wrapped up March 19. One of Biden’s biggest Climate Change challenges, the Oceans + Past NOAA Director Jane Lubchenco (OSU) appointed as key science advisor. New $500B Congressional Infrastructure bill posted. DARPA, Doe and Intel - supply chain critical elements... Energy GRID Cyber risk – threats to infrastructure. EPA new climate website is up. Biden administration wants the financial sector to face up to climate risk. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission to create a climate risk unit. Nature: Net-zero emissions targets are vague: three ways to fix....UK Government sets out £1bn plan to cut industrial carbon emissions - BBC News. White House : readout of the 2nd national Climate Task Force Meeting. Biden’s climate plan is also a union plan. World Bank: The Food System is responsible for 29% of greenhouse gasses. A bit of Sea Weed to cattle could cut emissions by… DOD efforts in combating climate change. Find Congressional Legislation Climate highlights HERE.

Region and State:

Oregon: Last week the first 100% Clean Energy Bill Hearing. FERC issues Groundbreaking license to OSU... Oregon utility unique model supporting clean Energy... Oregon ambiguous climate policy plan… Washington State may pass first major Climate Legislation. Clean Fuel legislation may be blocked again in Washington State. Public Banking HB 2743 work session is scheduled.

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

Climate Emergency Bill List

  • HB 2062: Establishes energy efficiency standards for Appliances sold in state. A Engrossed on House floor.

  • HB 2165: requiring IOUs to collect amount from all retail electricity consumers to support transportation electrification pursuant to the plan accepted by PUC: Moved out of House E&E 3/10/2021, referred to Transportation and then W&M.

  • HB 2290: State Parks & Rec to develop EV charging infrastructure in state parks. Moved to Jt Committee on Transportation.

  • HB 2398: Ensures that Reach Code mandates achievement of not more than 90% of site energy use that statewide residential and commercial building codes. Work Session 3/24.

  • HB 2475: establishing energy bill protections for low-income utility ratepayers and supporting frontline organizations’ engagement at PUC: Passed the House on 3/16/2021, referred to Senate.

  • HB 2814: directing EQC to establish and implement indirect source review program: Public hearing held in House E&E, 3/3 and 3/8, Public Hearing 4/7; Work Session 4/12.

  • HB 2842: Healthy homes, wk session scheduled 4/6.

  • HB 3065 -5, Transportation Projects - Joint Transportation Committee, Introduction and Public hearing, 3/16.

  • HB 3141: Energy Trust of Oregon and public purpose charge extension: House E&E moved to floor with referral to W&M, 3/17/2021.

  • SB 314 A: PUC to allow utilities to charge ratepayers to enable charging/fueling infrastructure for EVs, and Hydrogen fuel cell and renewable natural gas vehicles. At the Senate President’s desk.

  • SB 542: Establishes Task Force on Vehicle Charging Stations, Sen Girod. In Joint Ways and Means.

  • SJM 5: Carbon fee and Dividend, work session held, at Senate President's desk

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

The House Energy and Environment schedule for Clean Energy week was delayed by one meeting due to technical problems. The informational meeting for HB 2021, the 100% Clean Energy bill being supported by a number of environmental and environmental justice organizations, was conducted on March 17. On March 19, two Amendments were posted for HB 2021: Amendment-1 as presented at the Informational Meeting and Amendment-3 with a different approach and schedule. HB 2021 will have a Public Hearing on March 22; HB 2021 and HB 3180, which is similar to HB 2021-3, will have Public Hearings on March 29.

On March 17 the House Energy and Environment Committee voted 5-2 to move HB 3141-3 with a do-pass recommendation to the House floor with previous referral to Joint Ways & Means. The bill would extend the public purpose charge on electricity customers through 2035, reduce the charge from 3% to 1.5%, and reallocate the revenues, including setting up a new fund for cost-effective energy efficiency. The amendment removes the provision for $10 million of temporary funding for low-income electric bill payment and crisis assistance under the assumption that the American Rescue Plan will cover those emergency costs. The LWVOR provided testimony.

On March 18, the Senate E&E Committee held a public hearing on SCR 17, establishing an EJ framework of principles for Oregon. The LWVOR supported the resolution in written testimony. Among other measures, the state would pledge to make “reparative investments” in frontline communities and to direct state resources to ensure that policies and processes focus on EJ interests. State agencies would be pledged to develop guidance for considering EJ in implementing their statutory and regulatory duties, and to consult with the EJTF to ensure that actions are taken to correct environmental injustices and improve public health and the wellbeing of all communities.

The Senate Energy and Environment Committee voted 5-0 to move SB 589-1, regarding a regional transmission organization, to the floor. The amendment completely replaces the printed bill, replacing the requirement for a “public process” with a specified advisory committee and eliminating the specific considerations around resource adequacy, which had been featured in the LWVOR testimony. It may be limiting the scope to Oregon, instead of a multi-state/province organization included for consideration in the printed bill.

SB 333 regarding a study of renewable hydrogen will have its Work Session on March 23. The LWVOR provided testimony. Amendment-4 (the only amendment) was posted on March 19, replacing the entire printed bill. In particular, it removes the Legislative Revenue Officer from participation, eliminates consideration of the economic benefits, and modifies other specifications for the study.

HB 2479, which includes “black carbon” in the definition of “global warming”, will have its Work Session on March 24. A technical Amendment-1 was posted on March 18. The LWVOR provided testimony at the Public Hearing, which included black carbon (soot) causing earlier melting of snow and glaciers in the Cascades, and intends to provide an updated letter to the Committee members including the fact that Oregon is at the southern edge of the states whose black carbon can reach the Arctic, causing increased melting of sea ice and glaciers, and including urban heat islands as another condition exacerbated by black carbon.

SB 541, which declares that the policy of the state is to include atmospheric carbon sequestered by lands and waters of state in calculation to determine progress towards greenhouse gas reduction goals, will have a Public Hearing on March 25.

SB 286, which renames the Environmental Justice Task Force to the Environmental Justice Council and moves it from the Governor’s Office to the Department of Environmental Quality, will have a Work Session on March 25. LWVOR provided written testimony.

The only bill being actively followed that has not been either passed by the relevant Energy and Environment Committee or included above is SB 56, which would have authorized the Department of Environmental Quality to include an amount estimated to equal the economic benefit of violation when imposing a civil penalty for violation of the rule pertaining to a program to cap and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from large stationary sources, transportation fuels or other liquid and gaseous fuels, including natural gas. It would also have conferred original jurisdiction on the Supreme Court to review rules pertaining to the program to cap and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is not clear what happens in the absence of this legislation.

New bills to follow

HB 2189 Directs Public Utility Commission to conduct study related to renewable energy and to provide results of study in report to interim committees of Legislative Assembly related to energy no later than September 15, 2021. Sunsets January 2, 2022. Declares emergency, effective on passage. No amendment to replace the generic text has been posted. Public Hearing scheduled for April 5, Work Session scheduled for April 12.

HB 3375 Establishes the goal of planning for development of three gigawatts of commercial scale floating offshore wind energy projects within federal waters off the Oregon Coast by 2030. Public Hearing Scheduled for April 5, Work Session scheduled for April 12.

HB 2190 Directs the State Department of Energy to convene a work group to develop program awarding grants for community energy resilience projects and the implement program no later than January 1, 2023. Public Hearing scheduled for April 7, Work Session scheduled for April 12.

Transportation (Julie Chapman)

Joint Transportation Committee recording of hearing: public testimony.

HB 3065 -5 (House Speaker Tina Kotek), discussed by ODOT Director Strickler, is a large transportation bill that enables tolling on I-5 (in Portland) as a tool to reduce congestion, in conjunction with expansion of the highway at the Rose Quarter. Rep Kotek is clear that the bill is the beginning of a conversation.

Traffic bottlenecks in Portland affect the flow of goods and people from throughout the state. Public testimony highlighted problems. The tolling, as designed, will divert traffic to local corridors, with pollution and congestion impacts to adjacent communities; the fees are not designed to encourage off-peak travel; tolling is now designed as a construction revenue stream. The plan enables Rose Quarter construction without first assessing the impact of a tolling structure to address congestion management. Testimony also focused on the proposed transfer of degraded state highways (e.g., 82nd avenue) to Portland. Metro welcomes jurisdictional transfer, but only after the state addresses deferred ODOT maintenance to improve condition, transit and bike/pedestrian safety on state transportation corridors.

The Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities (CFEC) advisory committee (RAC) continues to lay the foundation for rulemaking. The charge of the CFEC is to develop administrative rules about transportation and housing planning that center equity and climate for eight Oregon Metropolitan Planning Areas. At the March 18 meeting of the Land Conservation and Development Commission, staff discussed the Equitable Outcomes Statement developed by the RAC.

DLCD is seeking input into the rulemaking from Oregonians throughout the state, grouped by region. (Portland Metro is not listed; updates to the existing plan are anticipated.)

Jordan Cove Energy Project (JCEP) (Shirley Weathers)

The next major scheduled event on the project is not due until June, when the legal team of JCEP-owner Pembina must respond to the briefs challenging FERC’s approval of the project filed in January with the Court of Appeals of the DC Circuit by the State of Oregon, tribal groups, and environmental organizations. To our knowledge, Pembina did not appeal FERC’s January 19, 2021 decision upholding Oregon’s 2019 denial of the project’s Section 401 Water Quality permit.

Speculation continues on whether Pembina will continue to pursue the project, given the long list of regulatory barriers and other obstacles. They appear to have scaled back financial commitments as far as they can, budgeting only for activity related to obtaining needed permits. Their 4th Quarter report was grim with regard to the asset. In the meantime, we wait.

SB 392, Relating to fugitive emissions study (Shirley Weathers)

​During the March 18 work session on this bill, Senator Dembrow called attention to a –1 amendment , intended to flesh out what the more general introduced bill referenced in terms of scope of the study. A fiscal impact statement calling for $300,00 in General Fund monies has been issued. The –1 amendment was agreed to by acclamation and the do pass motion passed unanimously. The bill is headed to the Senate Floor and will then be referred to the Ways and Means Committee on Natural Resources. The LWVOR submitted testimony in support of the bill.

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