Clean energy. Fossil-fueled crisis. Tipping points are here
We’re officially halfway through the 2023 legislative session here in Oregon, and there is A LOT to report about where we’re at on climate action.
The short version: Our top climate priorities for 2023 are still actively moving through the process and gaining momentum! Some other important legislative efforts have stalled and had some disappointing setbacks. Nothing is across the finish line yet, and the legislature is currently making hard choices due to a tight state budget, so we can’t stop pressing forward to ensure our elected leaders actually deliver on climate progress this year.
This year, Climate Solutions and many of our partner organizations have had a laser focus on ensuring the state legislature does two big things:
We are now past the first major legislative deadline of this year’s long session when policy bills were required to pass out of their first committee to still be considered “live” and move through the rest of the legislative process this session.
Great news so far on our top climate priority this session! I am happy to report that all Oregonians are closer to having access to safe and affordable homes and buildings that run on clean energy. The Senate Energy and Environment Committee voted to advance the Resilient, Efficient Buildings package of bills. It’s the first step to these bills becoming laws this year. These bills would supercharge the state’s efforts to ensure households and businesses can afford to upgrade to an electric heat pump. In addition, these bills help Oregonians weatherize and retrofit their home or business to make it more energy efficient and resilient. These policies are designed to leverage the massive amount of federal dollars available to Oregon to do this work now.
Together we have built incredible momentum, but we can’t stop now until the bills are through the legislative process and are signed into law. The next stop for the Building Resilience bills on their way through the process is the legislative budget committee (called the Joint Ways and Means Committee).
. Read our Resilient Building Coalition factsheet!
Congress recently passed historic legislation that will send billions of dollars into climate resilience, clean energy, and infrastructure to the states. Oregon is eligible for hundreds of millions of federal dollars for electrification, energy efficiency, and grid resilience but has received just a small amount so far. Fully leveraging federal funds requires us to expend a modest amount of state funds now. By doing so, we could see an exponential return on that investment, bringing benefits like more clean energy and resilient communities, grid and transmission improvements, zero-emission transportation, and job-creating clean energy projects. The Legislature needs to act in 2023 to position Oregon to maximize this once-in-a-generation funding infusion's economic and climate potential.
Unfortunately this year, the multi-million dollar question is whether the Legislature will actually fund the climate progress we desperately need at all. With the Governor and Joint Ways & Means co-chairs proposing across-the-board budget cuts, there’s a risk of slowing implementation of cornerstone climate programs, preventing new climate protections from being adopted, and hurting the State’s ability to leverage unprecedented federal investments in climate and communities. Legislators are currently deciding whether to invest in climate and communities or pour even more revenue into our already strong and healthy rainy day fund. We know that a modest investment today will help families have safer and cleaner homes, help communities reduce climate pollution, and create local clean energy jobs that can't be exported and will help our state weather any coming recession. Please see information below about how to urge the Ways & Means leadership to prioritize a strategic climate budget!
As Oregon accelerates the transition to a carbon-free grid, we need to make sure the state’s clean energy policy is consistent and inclusive of some of the state’s largest energy users. We also want to ensure how we transition to 100% clean energy results in economic benefits for communities across Oregon and increases resilience in the face of growing climate impacts. As the state transitions toward a cleaner and more equitable transportation system, leveraging federal funding to reduce the upfront cost of replacing diesel trucks, delivery vans, and buses with zero-emission vehicles is critical. These goals are reflected in the following bills:
There are other promising opportunities for climate progress moving forward this session as well. Those bills include SB 522 to finally update our outdated state greenhouse gas targets, SB 530 to maximize carbon sequestration and climate resiliency on our forests, agricultural lands, and wetlands, HB 2990 to fund community resilience hubs across the state, and HB 2613 to restore funding for the state’s popular EV rebate program. (This is not an exhaustive list!)
Last updated 4/25/2023
Read on for the latest updates on Climate Solutions' work in Oregon:
by Jonathan Lee on November 19, 2021
Harrowing floods in the PNW, a wrap-up of the COP26 conference, and some federal progress on climate.
by Victoria Paykar on November 17, 2021
Earlier today, Oregon's Environmental Quality Commission voted to pass the Clean Truck Rules that will help us transition to zero emission trucks and…
by Victoria Paykar on November 11, 2021
On November 17th, the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission will vote on whether to adopt Clean Truck Rules that have the tremendous opportunity to…
by Jonathan Lee on November 2, 2021
Oregon’s largest public transit agency has committed to fueling its existing fleet of transit vehicles with renewable diesel, as part of its…
by Greer Ryan on October 10, 2021
As heat rises, fossil fuel pollution from Oregon’s buildings looms large.
by Kimberly Larson on October 8, 2021
Our latest Climate Leaders Live webinar celebrated the Pacific Northwest as the first region to commit to 100% clean energy.
by Victoria Paykar and Leah Missik on September 27, 2021
Right now, both Washington and Oregon are taking important steps to clean up bigger trucks and vehicles. Read on to learn more about these potential…
by Kimberly Larson on September 22, 2021
A remarkable thing happened for the climate this summer. Let's dive into the details together.
by Jonathan Lee on September 14, 2021
Panelists will share why these two rulemakings are critical for their constituents, answer questions from the audience, and discuss next steps on how…
by Jonathan Lee on September 14, 2021
Increasingly, the Pacific Northwest sees the impacts of climate change in real time.
by Jonathan Lee on August 25, 2021
Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality has been developing rules to hold our state's biggest polluters accountable for the first time, but we'…
by Stephanie Noren on July 30, 2021
A federal "down payment" on climate (?), green hydrogen, and a note on this summer's extreme heat
by Jonathan Lee on July 23, 2021
Oregon’s 2021 legislative session has come to a close. We’ve made some major progress on statewide climate action, but before we dive into those…
by Victoria Paykar on July 8, 2021
Oregon passed two clean transportation bills so far this year, but our work isn’t over.
by Jonathan Lawson on July 1, 2021
Last weekend's record-breaking heat dome has largely passed, but continues to wreak havoc with heat-related deaths, power outages and wildfires
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Today is a significant milestone for Oregon’s climate progress, but it requires a little time traveling to the cusp of the pre-COVID times to fully
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