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The Oregon Business Association represents more than 250 companies throughout Oregon who support public policies that foster a strong economy in our state.

We know that a healthy environment goes hand-in-hand with a healthy economy. That’s why we urge our legislators to pass the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition plan, and Gov. Brown to sign it into law.

RICK GLICKWe have reviewed this legislation carefully and concluded it’s sound public policy. It would take Oregon off coal-generated electricity by 2035. It would double the state’s renewable energy standard, requiring that 50 percent of the power delivered by Portland General Electric and Pacific Power be generated by renewable energy by 2040. It would put us on track to meet state goals for real reductions in carbon emissions that contribute to global warming. And it includes important protections and flexibility to keep prices affordable for homes and businesses – with solid analysis to back that up.

Renewable energy is good for Oregon’s economy. It creates many much-needed manufacturing, construction, installation and operating jobs in urban and rural parts of the state. It is more cost-effective than ever before, and prices continue to decline. Since Oregon passed its first Renewable Portfolio Standard nine years ago, utilities have been investing in wind and solar energy at minimal cost to ratepayers. And by investing in renewable energy, we avoid spending millions of dollars on fuel and new pollution controls for aging coal plants that still provide more than 30 percent of Oregon’s electricity.

What’s more, if the Legislature does not pass this bill, we are likely to face a ballot measure in November that would be more expensive and would offer fewer protections for consumers. Polls show the ballot measure has strong public support. Why wouldn’t we support legislation, based on existing, successful public policy, which moves us in a direction we’re already going and accomplishes the same goals as the ballot measure at much less cost?

Most importantly, the Clean Electricity Plan reflects the values and beliefs held by most Oregonians, the businesses we represent, our customers and our employees. We want to reduce air pollution and leave a healthy planet for our children. We want to invest our state’s resources in clean, renewable energy. Still, we want our electricity to be affordable. This legislation does all that.

The bill has earned bipartisan support. It’s time for the Legislature to put politics aside, bring this bill to a vote in the full House and Senate, and pass it. This makes sense for our economy and protects the clean environment we all treasure in Oregon.

Rick Glick is the Oregon Business Association Environment & Economic Development Policy Committee Co-Chair and Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.

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