Support Local Journalism!        

Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



Democrats mull possible changes to controversial climate legislation some worry could delay fuel regulations.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Lawmakers a considering amendments to a controversial carbon-reduction bill that include plans to plant more trees and other ideas suggested during the Feb. 6 Timber Unity rally in Salem.Lawmakers revealed on Wednesday, Feb. 12, changes to the plan to cut back on the state's greenhouse gas emissions that would ease the impact on rural Oregon and adopt elements proposed by Timber Unity.

The revisions to Senate Bill 1530 are part of the continuing effort of Democratic sponsors to drive a policy that has greater statewide acceptance. They incorporate requests from Republicans and Timber Unity, a grassroots organization that has been agitating against a cap and trade system. Republicans in the Senate fled the state over last year's version of the bill.

PMG/EO MEDIA/SRThe bill is the focus of a work session in the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources at 3 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13.

A proposed cap-and-trade program would set limits on statewide carbon emissions and aims to reduce emissions over time. Limits on emissions would apply to certain industries and major fuel importers. The policy would carve up the emissions limit into allowances that emitters can buy and sell on a market. The idea is that as emissions targets get lower, fewer allowances are available, and industry would improve pollution controls.

Opponents have criticized the plan for its potential impact on consumers and small businesses, particularly through higher fuel costs. Proposed amendments could change how fuel would be regulated under the program. It delays the impact on Curry and Coos counties, as well as the Bend and Klamath Falls metro areas, 2028, six years later than for the Portland area. Rather than 20 counties triggering a statewide adoption of limits on fuel importers, this amendment sets the trigger at 23 counties.

Under the amendment, about 90% of the revenue from transportation would go to counties and urban areas that set up emissions reduction and climate adaptation projects. The rest would go to Oregon's Department of Transportation for statewide projects.

The amendments would incorporate policy ideas from Sen. Alan Olsen, R-Canby, and Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale, who sit on the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. Olsen's idea would make it easier for state agencies receiving money raised by the program to buy electric vehicles, and Findley's would streamline a state energy efficiency audit process for manufacturers that use a lot of energy but who face competition from areas that aren't subject to emissions limits.

The amendment also includes policy ideas borrowed from Timber Unity. For example, it would direct the state's parks department to conduct an annual tree planting day for local governments to sponsor planting trees in public spaces and it would direct the state's main operations agency to study ways to account for the greenhouse gas emissions associated with transporting goods and services that state government buys.

The amendment aims to narrow the information about the program that is exempt from public disclosure just to "trade secrets," which is already defined in state public records law.

Reporter Claire Withycombe: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 971-304-4148.

You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.

Have a thought or opinion on the news of the day? Get on your soapbox and share your opinions with the world. Send us a Letter to the Editor!


- Capital Chatter: Will rally sway lawmakers?

- Paige Kreisman could be Oregon's first transgender lawmaker

- Dems to gather in Sunriver next weekend

- Legislators talk need for bipartisanship

- Brown recall petitions scoop up signatures at state fair

- Cap and trade passes House after heated debate

- Courtney upends Dems' cap-and-trade fight

- Oregon governor, Timber Unity reps (cordially) exchange ideas

- Timber Unity rally a portrait of Oregon political divide

- Timber Unity flexes political muscle on Capitol steps

Go to top
JSN Time 2 is designed by | powered by JSN Sun Framework