Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
February 21st 2023
Chair Marsh and members of the House Committee on Climate, Energy and Environment:
I write as cofacilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now (SOCAN), an organization of over 2,000 rural Southern Oregonians who are concerned about the climate crisis and urge statewide action to address it. The mission of SOCAN is to promote awareness and understanding of the science of global warming and its climate chaos consequences and stimulate individual and collective action to address it. Since rural Oregonians occupy the frontlines in experiencing the impact of the drought, shrinking snowpack, wildfires and extreme weather that the climate crisis imposes, we are strongly committed to statewide action.
We are, therefore, delighted to have seen the progress that state agencies have made over the last two years in responding to Governor Brown’s Executive Order 20-04. We were just as delighted to see the legislature pass HB2021 two years ago requiring that retail electricity in Oregon shall be generated using 100% clean energy by 2040.
Since Oregon became a national leader in addressing the climate crisis in 2007 with HB3543 the state has drifted back in the pack. The reason we drifted back is because the program was voluntary, a reality that allowed recalcitrant businesses to evade their responsibility for stepping up. It was not until EO 20-04 and HB2021 that Oregon regained a measure of leadership. But now, the same entities and mindset that caused our state to drift are returning to take advantage of loopholes in programs and policies whenever they can. One such problem is energy users that link in to generation facilities not covered by HB2021 such as public power utilities and Idaho Power.
Heavy duty energy users such as data centers and cryptocurrency mining operations are chief among the offenders. It’s time to close the loophole!
Those of us living in rural Southern Oregon are offended that businesses are attempting to by-pass the requirements of HB2021 and thereby increase our risk of suffering reduced snowpack, drought, wildfire, and heatwaves. We urge the legislature to correct this oversight and ensure everyone plays by the same rules.
The climate crisis is being driven by everyone who uses energy that is derived from fossil fuels. If we are to avert the looming crisis, we must ALL collaborate together to address it.
For these reasons Southern Oregon Climate Action Now urges passage of HB 2816