2017 Proposals

Bills are initiated by representatives, drafts are then developed by the Oregon Legislative Counsel, a panel of Attorneys tasked to formulate ideas into workable bills. Drafts are then given LC numbers. When bill are introduced, they are given a House Bill (HB) or Senate Bill (SB) number depending on the chamber into which they are introduced.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Legislation under Consideration for 2017 A three-page summary of major items (similar to the list below); Updated February 2017 AJ

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Bills

SB557 The Cap, Trade and Invest Bill (formerly  LC1239 ) is a comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions reduction bill also known as the Clean energy Jobs Bill since it promotes investment in renewable energy – particularly targeting investment in disadvantaged and rural communities such as those in Southern and Eastern Oregon.

This is essentially SB 1574, The Healthy Climate Bill, from 2016 with goals similar to the 2007 HB 3543 voluntary program (see A Little History above) but incorporating slightly more rigorous intermediate steps: by 2025 20% below 1990 (instead of 10% below); 2035 40% below 1990 (not mentioned in 2007); 2050 75% below 1990 (same). During 2016, discussions were held among climate, labor, and social justice groups to develop principles and endorse a proposal that meets everyone’s concerns. The outcome is a bill that is similar to SB1574 from 2016 though it has shortcomings as noted below. Rather than assigning rule-making to DEQ as in the 2015 HB3470, this bill defined committee composition and contains specific language on how funds will be allocated to promote GHG emissions reductions while addressing equity, social justice, and labor concerns.

This is not strong on keeping programs current with best available science. It also contains a strange component that involves renaming the Oregon Global Warming Commission the Oregon Commission on Climate Change and includes an incorrect definition of climate change. For more details, see a two-page SB 557 2017  summary by  Alan Journet.

HB2135 Cap, Trade & Invest House version of SB557; identical to SB557 with same benefits and shortcomings  including the OGWC weirdness discussed above.

SB748 Cap, Fee and Invest for Comprehensive Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction.

Applies to polluters who emit over 25,000 tons of CO2e. Polluters pay a fee for emissions above that limit on a schedule determined by the Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) as appropriate for that covered entity. The Commission establishes the total permitted climate pollution allowable from all covered entities and also establishes the GHG emissions limit for each entity starting in 2021 based on factors to be determined by EQC. Target is the goals of the 2007 HB3543 legislation.

This identifies GHG emissions reduction targets as at least 10% below 1990 by 2020; 75% below 1990 by 2050 but assigns details and rule-making to DEQ. DEQ adjusts goals consistent with best available science and is responsible for establishing rules that acknowledge environmental justice.

Distribution of funds is similar to, though not identical with, SB557 with strong consideration for addressing disadvantaged communities.

HB2468 Cap and Delegate – This bill was developed by Our Children’s Trust and Policy Interactive (Tom Bowerman, author of the 2015 HB 3470 – Climate Stability and Justice Act). It serves as a comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions education bill that targets emissions. Targets are more rigorous (and consistent with the needs implied by best available science) than other proposals at 10% below 1990 level by 2020, 68% below 1990 level by 2035, 91% below 1990 level by 2050. By 2018, emissions reduction shall be no less than 8% per annum; DEQ shall conduct a five year reviews from 2019 onwards, can adjust limits according to best available science.

LC1242 A Carbon Tax Bill – This is only a ‘carbon from fossil fuel combustion’ bill and is not a greenhouse gas emissions reduction bill.  SOCAN’s opposition to LC1242, The Carbon Tax Proposal is based on the following concerns:
a) The bill text describes it as: “Relating to entities that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions” and Section 1 indicates: “the purposes of sections 1 to 14 of this 2017 Act are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals established under ORS 468A.205 and to promote adaptation and resilience by this state’s communities and economy in the face of climate change.” Unfortunately, however, when the actual bill mechanism is presented (Section2) it states unequivocally: “Carbon-based fuel” means coal, natural gas, petroleum products and any other product used for fuel that contains carbon and emits carbon dioxide when combusted.” Although the term greenhouse gas(es) is used frequently in the text, there is nowhere any suggestion that the target is really greenhouse gases. The target is confined to carbon from combustion which means the bill would promote natural gas and the consequent associated fugitive emissions (leakage) of methane from shale fracking and transmission.
b) The bill specifically excludes from taxation: “Any fuel supplier or utility that is administered by a federal agency” and “Any carbon-based fuel or carbon-generated electricity that is transported through this state but not consumed in this state.” This language suggests that the bill is written with a view to promoting natural gas extraction and transport through the state for export and profoundly not written to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
c) The bill provides a transportation fuel escape clause if taxes go up to more than 6% of market value.
d) The bill requires a three/fifths majority
e) The bill makes no effort to capture full life cycle emissions (leakage – fugitive emissions)
f) The bill identifies a ceiling on the Carbon tax of $60 per ton, which the PSU study demonstrates is inadequate to achieve the stated goals. See also the OGWC 2015 and 2017 biennial reports.
LC 1242 Critical Elements

Other Climate-related Bills

LC1237, the Climate Test Bill for Fossil Fuel Infrastructure (Construction) Projects in the state. This bill targets pipelines, export terminals, and transport facilities etc. Although it seems initially to target carbon and carbon-based fuels, it really addresses greenhouse gases (including but not limited to carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride).
The bill requires that the state Department of Energy (in consultation with the EQC and any other interested state department) develop a climate test, i.e. full assessment be undertaken of any proposed infrastructure project that accounts the economic cost of greenhouse gas emissions and the economic benefits. The proposal incorporates the requirement that current science be employed in the assessment. Although it does not demand any specific outcome (such as project denial) should the costs benefit ratio appear negative, it requires that we understand this ratio before making a decision. According to proponents, this element should be included when the bill is introduced.

LC 3025, Limit on Utility CO2 Emissions Requires a revision to update the emission Standard for Power Plants to most efficient plant in US and to raise the mitigation fees for CO2e from $1.27 (current) to either a set fee of $21.95 or tied to a percentage of an acceptable standard (e.g. Social Cost of Carbon or the California Market Allowance), proceeds used for offsets to the facility emissions that exceed the CO2 standard.

HB2478 Cost Assessment for GHG reduction measures. Requires DEQ to assess the cost to Oregonians of emissions reduction efforts – but not the cost to Oregonians of emissions. This is clearly an effort to load the dice against reducing GHG emissions. Introduced by Rep Cliff Bentz (R Ontario).

LC2875, the Tree Harvest Taxation Bill This would impose a tax on timber harvested in OR according to the carbon dioxide emissions that result in relation to the federal Social Cost of Carbon. It establishes a fund to be used to motivate forest landowners to sequester carbon – i.e. reduce GHG emissions. The tax is imposed on annual harvests greater than 25,000 board feet thus excluding the small woodlot owner.

HB 2480, the Fossil Fuel Infrastructure Bill Pre-empts city, county or other local government from enacting charter provision, ordinance, resolutions or other provisions regulating expansion of infrastructure for the primary purpose of transporting or storing fossil fuels.  Introduced by Rep Cliff Bentz (R Ontario).  We oppose this bill since it eliminates local control.

SB276 An Ocean Acidification/ Hypoxia Bill Establishes Oregon Coordinating Council on Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia to make biennial report to legislature.