It is hard to believe that only a few months have gone by since I joined Climate Solutions. As I get my bearings in this new role, I find myself in awe of the opportunities we as Oregonians have in front of us.
Our state is already well known for its commitment, and innovative approaches, to sustainability. Oregon leads by example in ways that other states can surely follow.
Today is the first day of Oregon’s legislative session. Our decision-makers have clear opportunities to provide bolder leadership on climate and clean energy in 2015: developing markets for low carbon fuels; incentivizing solar, electric vehicles, and greater energy efficiency; working with our utilities to reduce the coal content of our electricity.
Working together, we can make sure Oregon seizes the day. Here’s a rundown of several priorities and upcoming events in 2015.
Clean Fuels in Oregon: DEQ acts, legislature next
On January 7, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality took an important step for cleaner fuels and cleaner air for all Oregonians by adopting rules that allow for final implementation of Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program. When fully implemented, the program will reduce pollution from transportation fuel use by 10% over 10 years.
For several years, Climate Solutions has stood with businesses, health professionals and environmental organizations to advocate on behalf of this long-awaited program. A working Clean Fuels Program will enhance our clean energy economy while giving consumers more and cheaper fuel choices that are better for our air and climate. And the Clean Fuels Program will support the existing work of schools like Linn-Benton Community College that are training a new generation of mechanics in cleaner fuel alternatives.
The oil lobby is continuing its fight against clean fuels in Oregon. Scared about losing their monopoly over our fuel choices, the oil industry is hiding behind phony organizations, attempting to confuse people about clean fuels and kill Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program. Sound like hyperbole? Check out "Oregon's fuel standard opposition group admits oil industry ties, fueling accusations of astroturfing."
Now it’s up to the Oregon legislature to act. The Clean Fuels Program is scheduled to sunset in 2015 without action in Salem this session. The Environment and Natural Resources Committee is holding a hearing today on legislation (SB 324) to reauthorize the program.
TAKE ACTION: Urge your legislators to vote in support of SB 324
Let’s transition Oregon from coal to clean
Did you know that over one-third of Oregon's electricity comes from out-of-state coal plants? In parts of the state that number climbs to two-thirds.
We think it’s time to accelerate our transition from coal to clean, renewable energy. Luckily, an overwhelming majority of Oregonians do too. According to a statewide poll published just last week, over 71% support transitioning Oregon off coal power to clean, renewable energy by 2025.
Legislation is in the works this session to move Oregon off coal by 2025 and re-direct our energy dollars to energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy like solar and wind power. Oregon’s transition to clean, 21st century energy is happening now and this legislation will help to further this progress. It’s a switch that is creating jobs across the state and protecting families from air pollution and extreme weather linked to climate change. It’s what Oregonians want.
Seizing the economic opportunity of climate change (and doing the right thing)
Oregon businesses – both large and small – like to do things differently. Our economy is built on innovators and trail blazers of all kinds. Many workers and industry leaders understand that being smart on climate in Oregon means evaluating risks and seizing opportunities.
Climate change creates risks across the board, but it will also create huge economic opportunities if we’re able to invest in cleaner fuels, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and other ways to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through innovation.
That’s why over 275 businesses across the state have signed the Oregon Business Climate Declaration as part of an ongoing call to action, urging the public, policymakers and business leaders forward on broadly shared prosperity in a changing climate.
Please consider circulating this Declaration to your business community no matter where you’re located across our state – from Pendleton to Corvallis, from Manzanita to Hood River, and everywhere in between.
Join over 275+ businesses across Oregon and sign the Oregon Business Climate Declaration today!
March 3: Interfaith Climate Lobby Day – Salem.
March 5-8: 33rd Public Interest Environmental Law Conference – Eugene.
March 24: Oregon Conservation Network Lobby Day – Salem.
April 1-3: Living Future UnConference – Seattle.
April 15: Climate Solutions’ Annual Reception – Olympia.
April 16: Oregon’s Energy Future – Portland.
April 21-22: Green Transportation Summit & Expo – Portland.
May 4: Climate Solutions’ 7th Annual Breakfast – Seattle.
May 13 - 14: Ceres Conference 2015 – San Francisco.
May 14-16: Women in Trades Career Fair – Portland.
May 29-20: NW Clean & Affordable Energy Conference – Boise.
We look forward to working with you in 2015.