climate solutions board member tim miller speaking in front of cpp supporters holding signs
The fight is not over: Update on Oregon's Climate Protection Program

You may have seen the surprising headlines earlier this week. On Wednesday, the Oregon Court of Appeals issued a ruling invalidating Oregon’s Climate Protection Program based on a procedural technicality during the rulemaking process (NW Natural Gas Co. v. Environmental Quality Commission). I won’t sugarcoat it: this is an incredibly disappointing setback for climate progress in our state. 

The legal challenge to our cornerstone climate program had been brought primarily by oil and gas companies. Here is a joint statement on the ruling on behalf of the coalition of environmental justice, climate, and business organizations who intervened defensively in the case, including Climate Solutions.

Importantly, the Court only ruled on this administrative procedural error, and not on the state’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions or enforce the Climate Protection Program. 

To be clear: While this is a disappointing decision, it is not the end of the climate program. We await the state's next steps and look forward to supporting any agency actions to address procedural requirements and restore the Climate Protection Program without delay. Upholding this cornerstone program is essential to prevent incalculable harm to Oregon families, workers, and local economies, now and in the future. 

Oregon’s Climate Protection Program was developed through a robust 18-month rulemaking process and informed by extensive input from environmental justice, labor, and business community leaders, as well as companies regulated by the program. By potentially delaying implementation of the Climate Protection Program, the court’s decision represents a setback for Oregon’s climate and communities, especially Black, Indigenous, people of color, low-income, rural, and other communities who have historically borne the brunt of climate pollution and economic disinvestment.

The fight is not over. You can count on us to continue to be there every step of the way to restore these critical protections for our air and climate and clean energy investments in our communities. We know you will, too! We appreciate all you do to fight for a livable future for all of us and will keep you posted as we learn more about what’s next. 

Click here to read the coalition press release 

Author Bio

Meredith Connolly

Oregon Director, Climate Solutions

Meredith brings over a decade of climate policy experience to her work accelerating Oregon’s transition to a clean energy economy. She advocates for innovative and equitable policy solutions to reduce pollution and create clean energy jobs across the state. Currently, Meredith leads a team diligently working to electrify everything from cars, trucks, and buses to homes and buildings, and power it all with 100% clean electricity.

Prior to joining Climate Solutions, Meredith was a Climate and Energy Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. At NRDC, she advanced renewable energy policies in the U.S. and internationally. She also implemented programs to protect public health and improve climate resilience to heat waves and air pollution in India’s growing cities. Before NRDC, Meredith practiced law in the private sector.

Meredith is a member of the Oregon and California State Bar Associations. She holds a JD from Boston College Law School and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and French from Santa Clara University. In her free time, Meredith enjoys exploring her incredible home state of Oregon with her family and rooting too loudly for the Portland Thorns and Timbers.