Although what we do individually will never be sufficient to divert the global climate trajectory, what each of us does is important. First, the cumulative impact of millions of painless choices can be immense, and second, by doing everything we can do, we serve as a role model for friends and family and have the credibility to urge our elected leaders to do what they can do legislatively.

Please do all that you can –

Link to Actions

SOCAN encourages YOU to submit comments on the adjusted rules. | Deadline extended to October 13 | Submit comments by emailing: Climate.2023@deq.oregon.gov

 

State agencies responded to Governor Brown’s 2020 Executive Order 20-04 by developing programs that address the current existential climate crisis by developing programs within their authority that reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the state. However, the ‘rubber meets the road’ for such programs when rules are developed to effectuate them.

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) developed a Climate Protection Program that was approved last year by the Environmental Quality Commission (EQC). The Rulemaking Advisory Committee that the DEQ then established to advise them on the development of rules to actualize that policy was composed of 14 members.  Of these 12 represented energy corporations and just two represented the constituency of climate conscious and concerned Oregonians. Meanwhile none represented the vulnerable communities most affected by the climate pollution that fossil fuel use produces.

The result of this committee’s input is a proposed Climate Protection Program (CPP) vastly compromised (i.e., weakened) from that originally proposed by DEQ and approved by the Environmental Quality Commission.  As a result, it is critical that Oregonians, especially rural Oregonians, respond to the adjusted CPP proposal with comments. SOCAN thus encourages rural Southern Oregonians to submit comments on the adjusted rules before the deadline has been extended until October 13th. The target address for comments is: Climate.2023@deq.oregon.gov.

The coalition of climate conscious activists that is promoting meaningful  state action is urging all concerned Oregonians to submit comments on the proposed adjustment. It is, as always, especially important that they receive comments from rural Oregonians such as SOCAN activists, i.e., you.  Every rural comment is probably worth 10 from Portland; you are valuable.

The threat areas on which we would like individuals to comment are:
(1) the allowance of Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) inclusion from out-of-state sources as an offset for emissions from methane (i.e., natural) gas distributed in Oregon,

(2) the rigor of industrial emissions reduction reductions imposed through the Best Available Emissions Reduction (BAER) technology, and

(3) the acceptance of Hydrogen as an emissions reduction option.

For those wishing to view it, video of a recent Oregon Environmental Council webinar addressing this issue is available here (passcode *xwLo=2H). Meanwhile, the slide deck from that presentation (from where critical links can be extracted) is available here  The deadline for comments is: September 22, 2023, 4:00 p.m. at Climate.2023@deq.oregon.gov.

However, it is not necessary to do all that homework if you have little time. Please just send a comment urging DEQ to return to its original Climate Protection Plan and ignore efforts by the gas utilities to bypass the Community Climate Investment (CCI) fund by incorporating out-of-state Renewable Natural gas into their product and evading the CCI focus on promoting social justice in Oregon, insist that the Best Available Emissions Reduction rules keep industry on a steep downward trajectory in emissions, and encourage the position that only hydrogen produced through electrolysis using renewable energy should be acceptable.

Those wishing more information can attend: an EQC public forum Sept. 14, 2023, 1:45 pm and/or a DEQ Public Forum on September 18th.

Finally, a draft of the comments that will be submitted by SOCAN are available here.

Oregon 2023 Legislative Session

It’s A Wrap (June 25th, 2023):  The 2023 Oregon Legislative Session Ends

On June 25th, the Oregon Legislative session closed, as dictated by the constitution – no extensions possible. As those following the legislature will know, this session was again marred by the minority party in the Senate deciding to thwart discussion, amendment and passage in the Senate, of tens, if not hundreds, of bills. Ballot Measure 113 (passed in 2022) requiring that legislators taking ten or more unexcused absences would be ineligible for re-election did not have the desired effect. This measure passed by a thumping majority across the state; but the minority party didn’t get the message. They plan to challenge it in court

As a result of the walk-out, many critical bills were threatened. As a result, the majority party members produced a series of packages representing sets of critical bills that has been approved by the Joint Ways and Means Committee and thus were eligible to go directly to the Senate floor for a vote. The vote finally occurred in the Senate on Saturday 14th .where both HB3409 and HB3630 passed, largely on party line votes. One oddity was that HB3409 had been amended in the Senate Rules committee and this was the version that passed. As a result, the amended version had to go back to receive concurrence from the House. That house then suspended rules and concurred with the Senate version. So, both bills are on their way to the Governor for signature.

The packages were: HB3409 & HB3630

TOP PRIORITY Bills included in HB 3409:

  • Resilient, Efficient Buildings Package (SB 868, 869, 870, 871)
  • Community Resilience Hubs (HB 2990)
  • Natural Climate Solutions (SB 530)
  • Climate Action Modernization (SB 522)
  • Community Green Infrastructure Act AKA TREES Act (HB 3016)
  • Climate Protection Program Fee Bill (HB 3196)
  • Medium and Heavy-Duty EV Incentives (HB 2714)
  • Renewable Energy Siting (HB 3181)
  • Harmful Algal Blooms (HB 2647)
  • Woody Biomass for Low-Carbon Fuels (HB 3590)

Bills included in HB 3630:

  • Environmental Justice and Tribal Navigator (SB 852)
  • ODOE One Stop Shop (Resilient, Efficient Buildings) (HB 3166)
  • State Energy Strategy and Resilience Planning (HB 2534 & 3378)
  • Solar + Storage Rebate Program Extension (HB 3418)
  • Residential Heat Pump Program Extension (HB 3056)
  • Community Renewable Energy Grant Program (HB 2021, 2021)

We are somewhat disturbed by the inclusion of HB3590 in HB3409, but felt this concern was insufficient to negate the package. Thus, we report this outcome enthusiastically.

Inference:
The minority party in Oregon has long claimed to represent rural Oregon against the excesses of the majority party. The 2023 session represents the year after which this claim becomes no longer credible. The reasoning is as follows: Rural Oregonians live on the frontlines of the climate crisis and desperately need the state to assist in both adaptation to the inevitable climate change that is happening and will happen and mitigation to reduce the impact. We appreciate that the majority party has addressed the needs of rural Oregonians over the resistance and objections of the minority party.

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Southern Oregon Climate Action Now has annually followed bills introduced to the Oregon Legislature that relate to climate.  This year, some 4,000 proposals are  expected.  We are currently exploring those that have been filed to date and deciding which to promote and which to oppose.

Many of us will be following bills and giving testimony on those we wish to see passed or rejected.  The best way to keep track of bills is via the Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS). For a brief introduction to OLIS visit What’s an OLIS?

For tips on contributing oral and written testimony visit Testimony Tips.

Link to SOCAN’s Legislative Priorities

The Oregon 2022 Legislative Session ran for five short weeks through  February into March. SOCAN took positions for or against a number of bills.  This comprises a summary of the outcome with notes on local representatives’ voting record.  SOCAN testimony is posted on the SOCAN blog.  Please scroll down until you reach items posted in February.

Oregon Climate Action Plan

For several years a coalition of  Oregon Climate Activists has been promoting comprehensive greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction legislation in the Oregon State Legislature. On March 10, 2020, Governor Brown signed Executive Order 20-04. Now the rule-making to implement the orders.