Legislation

From the League of Women Voters of Oregon
Below you will find a good summary of bills and issues related to climate change and renewable energy, plus oil train rail safety that are in the Oregon state legislative process. Chime in with a letter or phone call, or attend a legislative session in Salem.

Climate Change

By Claudia Keith, Julie Chapman, Shirley Weathers, Cathy Frischmann and Lynette Pierson

Don’t forget – Save the Date for May 29th Climate Day of Action in Salem. Details will be available soon. We are now two weeks from a major second chamber deadline; “In order for a bill to be heard in policy committee by second chamber deadline (5/24), it has to be posted on an agenda for work session by 5/10.” (The only exceptions are bills in Rules, Revenue or Joint committees.)

We do expect more work on Climate Cap and Invest legislation, HB 2020 and the -31 amendment; it could be May or June before a floor vote. You can focus your contact with your legislators on the League’s and our coalition partner’s priorities, which includes trash incineration industries and F-gases/semiconductor industries as critical emissions covered by the bill; all of these priorities are clearly addressed in HB 2020 -31.

As of April 26, there are 43+ amendments posted for the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction (JCCR) to take time to consider, four of which are new amendments in the last week. Most of these amendments are unlikely to be voted on and many have already been heard in the previous five work sessions. The committee has not met in the last ten days. The Apr 29 meeting agenda includes another work session to review amendments. (NO vote will be taken.)

There may be an update to the -31 amendment, which will include some technical fixes and possibly other topics. On April 15 the committee heard HB 3425 (gasoline rebate/credit for certain households) public hearing. Recent printed news: WW, RG and PBJ.
Via a Renew Oregon Clean Energy Jobs grassroots group, a “big thanks to LWV Deschutes County for your presentation. It went well at OSU-Cascades”.

Other Active Climate Change Portfolio Bills

Fracking Moratorium: The League is supporting and provided testimony in Feb on HB 2623 that would impose a 10-year fracking moratorium. The bill was passed in the House and the Senate Environment and Natural Resource Committee held a public hearing on April 23. Find the April 23 updated League testimony here.

Oil Rail Safety: HB 2209 -10 passed out of committee unanimously on April 2 with a “Do pass with amendments” and was sent to Ways and Means. This bill may not be heard again until May.

Climate Authority: The SB 928 -1 public hearing was April 8 with the Governor’s Natural Resource Director Jason Miner’s testimony and with League testimony. An April 9 work session vote was expected, the bill moved with “Do pass with amendments”, and it was referred to Ways and Means. The Governor’s recommendation is to form (SB 928) and fund (HB 5044) an Oregon Climate Authority state agency, which would assist coordinating climate mitigation and adaptation efforts across all agencies, including folding the Dept. of Energy into the new agency. The American Planning Association Oregon Chapter testimony can be found here. Legislators are considering whether or not to take on this new agency this session or link HB 2020 to work inside the Dept. of Environmental Quality. The League would prefer to see the approach in SB 928.

Renewable Energy Credits: SB 451 had a work session with a 4 – 1 vote without recommendation as to passage in committee and was referred to Rules on April 12. The League submitted, with eight other organizations, opposition to SB 451 and addressed this issue in HB 2020. We oppose passage of SB 451, which awards renewable energy credits for the creation of electricity from municipal solid waste (MSW) incineration, and which includes the burning of plastic medical and non-medical waste and toxic metals.

Governor Brown’s ‘Oregon Environmental Protection ACT’: HB 2250 A requires certain state agencies, Department of Environmental Quality and Oregon Health Authority, to regularly assess proposed and final changes to federal environment laws to determine whether changes are significantly less protective of public health, environment or natural resources than standards and requirements contained in those federal environmental laws that were in effect on January 19, 2017. This bill passed in the House on March 14 with a vote 39/20 and will be heard in Senate Environment and Natural Resources on April 30. The League plans supportive testimony.

Other League Climate Change Advocacy

Jordan Cove Energy Project: The four interested local Leagues (LLs) are continuing work on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) released on March 29 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) staff. To our disappointment near the end of last week, a number of members of the Oregon State Legislature and some Congresspersons from Colorado and Wyoming filed letters with FERC, urging denial of an earlier request by Oregon Senator Wyden and Representative DeFazio that the public comment be extended and greater efforts be made to facilitate review of the DEIS by the public. Wyden and DeFazio’s request was due, in part, to the excessive length (over 5,000 pages) of the DEIS. The letters opposing their requests were clearly based on a form letter template (source unknown) and fail to reflect understanding of the actual contents or condition of the DEIS or the challenges faced by the public, including affected landowners, attempting to review the document. By the end of Friday, FERC had posted letters from Oregon State Senators Roblan, Linthicum, and Heard and Representatives Brock Smith, Reschke, Leif, and McKeown. This is a comprehensive list of all Oregon agencies involved in this project.

Our Children’s Trust (OCT) and Social Media YOUTVGOV: The Federal lawsuit with briefing completed has oral argument still scheduled for June 4 in Juliana v. United States in The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Portland, Oregon. Briefing was completed on March 8 when the federal government filed its reply brief. See media coverage in “Teens drop eloquent climate change testimony on Congress”, and NPR Fresh Air: “How Climate Change Became A Partisan Issue”. LWVOR may consider asking local Leagues to request that their local county commissioners follow the “Multnomah County Files Brief In Support Of Youth Climate Lawsuit” example.

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED! If any of these areas interest you, Transportation, Ag and or Forestry Climate Policy or Climate Adaptation 2010 Oregon Update, please contact Claudia Keith.