By Claudia Keith Climate Emergency Coordinator and Climate Emergency portfolio team members: Julie Chapman, Shirley Weathers, Cathy Frischmann, Josie Koehne, Kathy Moyd, Robin Tokmakian and Greg Martin
Climate Emergency Highlights
Both the Biden administration and bipartisan Congressional proposed Build Back Better: $1.2T and $3.5 T infrastructure bill and reconciliation package, if passed in any form, will significantly affect Climate Change mitigation and adaptation funding and policy in Oregon. Senator Merkley, Wyden and our House (D) Congressional team including Rep DeFazio (chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee) have been very supportive of these policies. Find details HERE. The Democratic caucus current version may include adding a price on carbon policy amendment.
2021 White House Deputy Director for Climate and Environment, OSU faculty and recent NOAA Director, Dr Jane Lubchenco, recommends this short 4-minute congressional public hearing presentation by Dr Leah Stokes.
Recent national news: NPR: ‘The Battle Over Biden's Infrastructure Bill Continues‘. ‘Pelosi Vows to Pass $1T Bill, Move Ahead on Larger Measure
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has moved a vote on a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill to later in the week as Democratic leaders shore up support for the measure.’ EENews: ‘Path on Infrastructure, Climate elusive after Biden meetings.’
Brookings: ‘THE AVENUE ‘Five ways regional leaders can prepare future infrastructure workers now’. “Federal policymakers are on the verge of advancing two historic pieces of legislation: a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. The infrastructure bill contains generational investments in transportation, water, energy, and other systems to improve the environment and boost the economy—at spending levels not seen since the New Deal. The reconciliation package goes a step further, aiming to address a variety of climate, education, health care, and other priorities….”
Mark your calendars
Attend as a League Observer, interested citizen, and/or view recorded agency and commission meetings, including new reports and studies.
ODF Climate Carbon Plan Updates
DEQ Climate GHG Program Updates
Agency and Commissions
Find updates across many agencies at the State of Oregon “Action on Climate Change”. Find weekly 2021 updates at Oregon Greenhouse Emissions Program. DOE weekly blog updates HERE. New Oregon Dept of Energy (ODOE) Report HERE.
Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Rulemaking
For up-to-date links for a program, check the list under “Proposed Rules 2021”
Climate Protection Program
The League has been following the Climate Protection Program, which originated from the “cap and reduce” directive in the Governor’s Executive Order 20-04. Draft rules were issued for public comment on August 4. A DEQ public hearing on the Draft Rules was conducted on August 22 and one with the Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) is scheduled for Sept. 30. The League plans to present verbal testimony at the September 30 hearing and written testimony by October 4.
Cleaner Air Oregon Air Toxics Alignment
The League was the only speaker at the July 22 public hearing.The approved verbal text was incorporated in a letter. It has not yet been scheduled for approval at the EQC.
Clean Trucks Rule
Two public hearings were conducted on September 16. The League opted not to testify because the California Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) rules to be adopted by Oregon had not been completed. It has not yet been scheduled for approval at the EQC.
Clean Fuels Program Expansion 2022
The expansion of the Clean Fuels program in response to the Governor’s Executive Order 20-04 will be kicking off with a listening session on Wednesday, October 13, 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM.
Landfill Methane Rules
The rules are on the Environmental Quality Commission agenda for adoption on October 1. Although the League certainly supports the control of methane from landfills, we opted not to testify because it was not clear why the California rules were not accepted completely, leaving the possibility that some small rural landfills would unnecessarily be included.
Oregon Regional Haze Plan 2018 – 2028
The proposed plan has been published, with one public hearing scheduled for Oct. 25.
(find a consolidated Forestry report in the NR LR)
Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD)
The Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities (CFEC) rulemaking advisory committee (RAC) met on 9/15/21. The rules apply to the eight metropolitan regions of Oregon. The work session focused on equity, pedestrian, bicycle, and transit planning to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT). VMT refers to getting people out of personal vehicles by providing safe and convenient alternatives. In part, this transition relies on densification of housing and centering resources for those communities. A large packet of complex rules was distributed to the RAC, with a short lead time before the meeting. Several RAC members from small jurisdictions/organizations commented that they lack staff/expertise to expeditiously review the rules prior to the meeting.
Draft rules are expected by the Oct 15 meeting; final RAC meeting and review Nov 16; anticipate revisions subsequent to that. Regional hearings will be held 10/25: Southern Oregon (register here), 10/26: Bend, Corvallis, Albany (register here), 10/27: Salem, Eugene, Keizer, Springfield (register here), and 10/28: Portland Metro (register here). Participants are welcome to attend the event most convenient for them.
Implications for Portland Metro: no scenario planning (already done); Metro’s Climate Smart Program may be used for modeling elsewhere. The Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) will clarify Climate Friendly Area draft rule applicability for Portland Metro’s cities and counties that have yet to adopt town and regional center boundaries.
The Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) received an update on the CFEC Rulemaking on 9/23/21. Discussion centered around the structure of the rules, with a tension between prescriptive and outcome-based models. Prescriptive rules detail the design and process of how to comply with regulations. Outcome-based rules allow for more flexibility in meeting clearly defined objectives and may be more acceptable and sensitive to local communities needs, but require more ongoing oversight (i.e., more staff time) by DLCD. The critical and measurable goal for the Climate Friendly Areas (CFA) is reduction in VMT.
The rules require designation of CFAs by 2023 for larger cities, and by 2024 for smaller local governments. CFA’s promote mixed-use development, increased residential density, and designations for building heights and setbacks from property lines. There are special standards for parking, pedestrian, bike, transit and street infrastructure.
The Oregon legislature provided $768,000 to support local planning and one additional DLCD staff to provide metropolitan planning guidance. A “pot” of $500 million for housing funding must be allocated in the next 22 months; additional federal money may also be appropriated.
Associated actions: Community engagement/outreach and engagement of underserved populations; Analysis of housing capacity to meet requirement that at least 30% of needed housing is located within CFAs to justify Urban Growth Boundary expansion; Plan for fair & equitable housing outcomes, including consideration of and mitigation for displacement; Adoption of development standards (zoning requirements); Adoption of climate-friendly comprehensive plan.
Excellent public testimony followed the DLCD presentation, lauded by Commissioner Jacobsen for its effective use of linked testimonies by planning advocates (Jonathan Harker, retired Gresham city planner, Ariel Nelson, League of Oregon Cities, and Mary Kyle McCurdy, One Thousand Friends). Commissioners endorsed additional support for RAC participants, to clarify “planningese”/technical jargon and to schedule additional meetings with deeper dives into complex rules sections.
Our Children’s Trust - Claudia Keith
Here is a recent Sept interview by UN and Max dos Santos, ‘No Denying It episode 4: Kyne Introduces Mat dos Santos | | UN News’. ‘In the fourth episode of the UN climate action podcast No Denying It, drag performer, social media star, and mathematics communicator Kyne introduces Managing Attorney at Our Children’s Trust, Mat dos Santos. Mx. dos Santos and their colleagues oversee a legal program that brings climate litigation on behalf of youth in federal and state courts in the United States, and tribunals across the globe.’
And a good article in Nature.com 08 September 2021 on the Climate Litigation topic:
Governments have failed to slow climate change quickly enough, so activists are using courts to compel countries and companies to act — increasingly with help from forefront science.’
World Economic Forum: Preventing – ECOCIDE
‘With legal and environmental experts pushing to criminalize the destruction of the environment, “ecocide” could have major consequences for both government and business. How could a new legal definition transform climate action?’
Climate Emergency Team Volunteer Opportunities
Please consider joining the CE portfolio team; we lack volunteers in these critical policy areas:
1) Natural and Working lands, specifically Agriculture/ODA, 2) Clean Buildings, 3) Public Health Climate adaptation, 4) Regional Solutions Infrastructure, 5) State Procurement Practices (Dept. of Admin. Services), 6) CE Portfolio State Agency and Commission Budgets, 7) Oregon Treasury: ESG investing/Fossil Fuel divestment, 8) Join Julie, DOT/Transportation with a focus on DLCD/LCD Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities – a major program across multiple agencies. and a priority focus on a just transition, ie; 9) Climate and Environmental Justice.
We all collaborate with Natural Resource Action members on many Climate Change mitigation and adaptation policy topics.