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Members will guide investments in clean energy programs, prioritizing communities most affected by climate change.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is seeking people to be part of a new advisory committee that will help direct funds for transitioning the state equitably to clean energy.

The committee will be a key partner of the Climate Protection Program, which caps Oregon's greenhouse gas emissions — the drivers of climate change — from transportation, residential, commercial and industrial sources.

As part of the program, which took effect this year, regulated companies that emit greenhouse gases can earn credits by contributing to a community investment fund and then use the credits instead of reducing emissions. The fund will support emission reduction projects prioritized in communities overburdened by pollution, disproportionally impacted by climate change and with less access to cleaner fuels.

Committee members will guide what types of emission reduction projects the investment fund should support and where such projects will be located.

People interested in applying to be part of the committee must submit a statement of interest to DEQ by July 8.

"As Oregon transitions from fossil fuels towards cleaner, affordable and renewable fuels it is critical that all Oregonians have access to these fuels and can share in the economic and health benefits," said Colin McConnaha, manager of DEQ's office of greenhouse gas programs, in a statement.

DEQ is looking for applicants who are from or involved with Black, Indigenous and people of color, tribal, rural and other environmental justice communities in Oregon, officials said.

Applicants must be committed to addressing climate change and its impacts, improving access to cleaner, renewable fuels, reducing pollution, improving health for all communities and uplifting traditionally underrepresented communities, they added.

The agency plans to form a committee that represents multiple regions across Oregon. Committee members may be representatives from community-based organizations, tribes or tribal associations, environmental justice advocates, academic researchers, or those who work in climate or energy fields.

A more aggressive Climate Protection Program was approved by the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission last December. It aims to cut statewide greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2035 and 90% by 2050.

The state plans to reach those emission reduction goals primarily by issuing a declining number of permits allowing companies to supply or emit greenhouse gases. Companies can buy and sell those permits as the cap comes down.

In March, a coalition of business interest groups filed a petition to block the program's administrative rules from being implemented.

Apply to be part of the equity advisory committee here.

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