SOCAN joined many organizations for the SOU Earth Day Extravaganza on Friday April 19th at the SOU Farm and then joined several other organizations at the Rogue Community College Earth Day on April 22nd itself at the HEC in Medford.

KDRV news item on RCC event

The Public Utilities Commission rejected all three plans, saying they were ‘unreasonably optimistic’ about future gas demand

Alex Baumhardt, Oregon Capital Chronicle, March 15th 2024

All three of the natural gas companies in Oregon will have to fix their long-term plans to meet the state’s targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Oregon Public Utilities Commission, which only has two members, said Thursday it could “not acknowledge” Cascade Natural Gas’ plans to meet the state’s greenhouse gas emissions targets by 2050. Last year, the commission, which regulates the rates charged by private electric and natural gas utilities, rejected similar plans from the two other gas utilities serving the state, NW Natural and Avista.

The commission regulates the rates charged by private utilities. The rejections mean the commission could challenge the companies when they seek rate increases or investment in infrastructure because their plans were rejected, experts said. The utilities serve a total of about 750,000 people across the state.


Pepper Trail, RV-Times, April 16th 2024

Let’s play a game. It’s the climate-change game that every living thing on Earth has no choice but to play, starting … NOW.

The game is called Adapt/Move/Die, and rules are self-explanatory — they’re right there in the name. The object of the game, of course, is not to die. And the winners — well, the winners get to keep playing the game. Forever.

But wait, what about Solve? Isn’t solving the climate crisis an option? Yes, of course, and an absolutely essential one. But even if humanity somehow manages to rapidly phase out fossil fuels, the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere are higher than at any time in hundreds of thousands of years. The effects on climate will continue to unfold for centuries.


Northwest Natural Gas is seeking a rate hike from the Public Utilities Commission. This represents SOCAN’s testimony in opposition.

Follow-up comments after the public Hearing are below


Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
April 15th 2024


Reference Northwest Natural Gas Request for a Rate Hike

Chair Decker; Commissioners Tawney and Perkins,

First, thank you for providing the opportunity to offer comments on the NW Natural Rate Hike request.

I write as cofacilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now, an organization of some 2,000 Southern Oregonians who are concerned about the climate crisis and encourage state action to address it.  As rural and coastal Southern Oregonians, we live on the frontlines of the warming, reducing snowpack, heatwaves, drought, rising sea level, and the increasing wildfire risk that these trends conspire to produce.  Because of this, we pay close attention to what is happening in state agencies in terms of actions that might stimulate emissions reductions or emissions increases.

Throughout SOCAN’s existence (established in 2012) we have been collaborating with sympathetic state legislators and the grassroots statewide climate action coalition to encourage through supportive testimony meaningful legislation that would reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and/or promote GHG (largely carbon dioxide) sequestration.  We have similarly been monitoring and testifying before state agencies, particularly as they have responded to Governor Brown’s Executive Order 20-04 and developed programs within their authority.

Although we do not live in the Northwest Natural Gas Franchise Territory, we are concerned that if the efforts of NW Natural to raise fees for the reported array of reasons is successful, Avista will soon follow with a parallel request.

In 2007, the Oregon Legislature passed, and the Governor signed HB 3543 identifying a 2050 target of reducing emissions 70% below 1990 levels.  Regrettably this was a purely voluntary effort imposing no requirements on Oregon corporations to undertake emissions reductions to meet intermediate targets. Inevitably, this effort failed.  The main reason for the state’s failure to reduce emissions is that industries and utilities simply made zero effort to reduce their emissions.

When the legislature responded to this failure by proposing a series of comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions reductions bills, the same industries and utilities guilty of evading their voluntary emissions reduction responsibility launched campaigns of lies and misinformation about the proposals to generate public opposition to them. This campaign also persuaded Republican legislators to walk out of the chambers to break the absurd Oregon quorum when it seemed a bill might pass. Finally, when Governor Brown responded to the industry and Republican behavior by drafting and signing Executive Order 20-04, representatives of these same industries and utilities served on the DEQ Rulemaking Advisory Committee and, while pretending to be committed to lowering their own emissions, consistently undermined efforts to produce a worthwhile program. When the Environmental Quality Commission approved the Climate Protection Program, these opponents filed suit against it.  Unfortunately, the courts ruled against the CPP though NOT on substance but on a technicality.  Now, the same industries and utilities are serving on the new Rulemaking Advisory Committee and trying desperately to undermine the efforts of DEQ to resuscitate a meaningful CPP.

Given this history, those of us who understand both the urgency for climate action across the globe and accept the responsibility of Oregon to contribute our share to addressing the problem are disappointed in the destructive effort of the fossil fuel companies and Oregon Business and Industry to undermine the CPP. We find it hard to accord credibility to proposals emanating from these same industries and utilities.  The disinformation-stoked Integrated Resource Plans that Oregon’s gas utilities have recently developed only serve to undermine their credibility further.

According to EPA (2020), for example, Renewable Gas from biogas has substantial barriers notable among which is the reality that the process makes the biogas product more expensive than fracked fossil gas. Meanwhile Cyrs and Feldman (2020) calculate that there is only enough biogas in the U.S. to replace 4 – 7% of current fossil gas. They also point out that “…since methane itself is a greenhouse gas 84-86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide (on a 20-year timescale), any methane leaks along the RNG supply chain prior to combustion risks undermining potential climate benefits.” In Oregon, ODOE (2018) indicated that only 4.6% of Oregon’s fossil gas usage could be replaced by current in-state biogas production, a figure rising to only 17.5% if the energy intensive process of thermal gasification is employed, a process that would defeat the entire benefit of the biogas product. If RNG supplies used in Oregon are transmitted from other states, the process would simply export greenhouse gas emissions out-of-state and not provide genuine emissions reduction benefits.  In their critique on Renewable Natural gas, Feinstein and LaPlace (2021a, 2021b) add to the RNG problems of availability and cost identified above, the concerns that an RNG market could increase environmental damage from proliferating feedlots and landfills and a focus on RNG diverts attention from other energy sources that are genuinely clean.

The NW Natural focus on Hydrogen as a solution is no less fraught with hazard than its RNG promotion. The first problem is that gas pipelines can only accommodate a very low percentage of Hydrogen before they become compromised. Melaina et al. (2013) suggested the limit should be 5 – 15% while a more recent report from Erdener et al. (2023) suggested 5% is the limit while Jones and Yen (2023) placed the limit at 20%, a conclusion echoing that of Esposito (2022) and Baldwin et al. (2022).  Considering a different issue, DiChristopher (2023) calculated that a 30% blend of Hydrogen into gas pipelines would only produce a 6% decrease in lifecycle emissions because this blending doubles the leakage of the methane gas. This conclusion is essentially endorsed by Esposito (20220 reporting that “…using hydrogen in homes and buildings is fraught with economic, logistical, and safety challenges, capable of reducing GHG emissions less than 7% before encountering potentially insurmountable roadblocks.” The evidence seems strongly to suggest that Hydrogen cannot contribute much to reducing emissions from the activities of gas utilities. Another key question concerns how Hydrogen is generated.  Howarth and Jacobson (2021) for example, calculated that “the greenhouse gas footprint of blue hydrogen is more than 20% greater than burning natural gas or coal for heat and some 60% greater than burning diesel oil for heat.”  Thus, the energy intensive process of generating Hydrogen means that it is only valuable in terms of reducing emissions if it’s produced using renewable energy as the source of the needed energy (green Hydrogen). In addition, as Fogler (2022) reasonably suggests, in arguing a Sierra Club position: “Green hydrogen is a promising solution only for uses that cannot otherwise directly rely on clean electricity, which is much more efficient” and “Green hydrogen should not be used to justify a buildout of facilities that otherwise increase pollution or fossil fuel use.” The first point is endorsed by Baldwin et al. (2022). It appears that through the rate hike request, the gas utility is campaigning to undermine further Oregon’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and consign our children to an unlivable planet.

While NW Natural representatives on the DEQ RACs consistently claimed and still claim their sensitivity to the climate issue and the need to lower emissions, the behavior of the companies they represent denies this claim. For example, NW Natural continues to claim their product is “the cleanest burning fossil fuel” and that “Safe and non-toxic, natural gas emits less harmful carbon emissions than oil or coal.” (NW Natural 2024). Although the former statement may be true, the company consistently refuses to acknowledge that the fugitive emissions of methane upstream resulting from gas fracking and transmission negate the claim that gas is clean in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. For example, Gordon and Hughes (2023) and Gordon et al. (2023) point out that the methane emissions make natural gas as bad as coal when a full lifecycle analysis of emissions is undertaken.  Indeed, Gordon and Hughes (2023) argued: “minimizing US methane leakage would be equivalent to taking all US cars off the road for a year.” Furthermore, the evidence that natural gas is toxic and its use results in many health risks is well- documented (e.g., Gottlieb and Dyrszka 2017; Bushkin-Bedient et al. 2019; O’Rourke et al. 2022). The gas companies, meanwhile, simply deny or ignore the evidence and continue efforts to expand the marketing of gases that are compromising the health of users and compromising life on the planet that is necessary to support future generations.

As Cuningham (2022) succinctly states: “NW Natural, a gas utility based in Oregon, is seeking to raise gas bills on its customers in order to pay for millions in executive bonuses, higher returns to shareholders, and a larger advertising budget. It is also hoping to saddle ratepayers with costs associated with the utility’s political activities, in which the company engaged in “misleading” marketing to perpetuate the use of gas at a time when the state is attempting to electrify homes and businesses, a coalition of environmental organizations led by Earthjustice argue in a formal proceeding.” He also points out that this 12% rate hike request follows a hike of 13% granted the previous year meaning NW Natural seeks to raise rates 25% over a 12-month period.  This appears obscene on face value and suggests egregious price-gouging.

Meanwhile, Shuff 2024 reports from the Citizens Utility Board analysis that “We are also troubled to see that NW Natural is once again attempting to expand subsidies for growing its system (and its profits) at the expense of customers.” She also identifies the reasons for the proposed raise as:

Higher profit margins
Expanding subsidies for growing the gas system
Higher bills for customers in new gas buildings
Changing accounting for how customers pay for large investments
Infrastructure upgrades.

The problem is that the gas utilities simply ignore the reality that their product and business model are unhealthy for users and are among the greatest contributors to the climate crisis. They insist on promoting disinformation and deception to continue generating profits at the expense of the health of users and the livability of our planet. It’s time for the PUC to push back against the ongoing threat to our health and our planet that gas utilities such as Northwest Natural pose.  Instead of promoting scams such biogas and Hydrogen as ways to reduce emissions when they know these products are, at best, of questionable value, the gas utilities should engage in actions that genuinely reduce emissions by promoting clean energy; promoting electrification in Oregon where retail electricity is required to be clean by 2040, would be a fine first step. The PUC can stimulate such a move by refusing NW Natural’s request to charge customers a rate hike so they can reap greater profits, expand their gas distribution system, and undertake upgrades. This constitutes an insult to the residents of Oregon and would contribute to defeating the state’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Please reject this proposal!

Respectfully Submitted

Alan Journet

Literature Cited

Baldwin S, Esposito D, & Tallackson H. 2022 Assessing the viability of hydrogen proposals: Considerations for state utility regulators and policymakers. Energy Innovation Policy and Technology.

Bushkin-Bedient S, Dyrszka L, Gorby Y, Menapace M, Nolan K, Orenstein C, Shcoenfeld B, Steingraber S. 2019 Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking (Unconventional Gas and Oil Extraction). Sixth Edition. Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Cunningham N 2022 Oregon Gas Utility Wants to Bill Customers Millions for Executive Bonuses and ‘Misleading’ Advertising DeSmog

DiChristopher, T.  2023 Hydrogen blending in gas pipelines faces limits due to leakage: US DOE lab. S&P Global Commodity Insights.

EPA 2020 An Overview of Renewable Natural Gas from Biogas. U.S. Environmental Agency.

Erdener B, Sergi B, Guerra O, Cheuca A, Pambour K, Brancucci C, Hodge B. 2023 A review of technical and regulatory limits for hydrogen blending in natural gas pipelines. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy :48 (14) 5595-5617.

Esposito D. 2022 Gas Utilities Are Promoting Hydrogen, But It Could Be A Dead End For Consumers And The Climate Forbes March 29, 2022.

Feinstein L and LaPlace E.  2021a The Four Fatal Flaws of renewable Natural: Gas utilities are telling tall tales about RNG. Sightline Institute.

Feinstein L and La Place E 2021b The Smoke and Mirrors Defense of RNG: The gas industry is writing checks that RNG alone can’t cash.  Sightline Institute.

Fogler C 2022 Hydrogen: Future of Clean Energy or a False Solution? Sierra Club

Gordon D, Hughes S. 2023 Reality Check: Natural Gas’s True Climate Risk: Methane leakage as low as 0.2 percent puts gas’s climate impact on par with coal. RMI

Gordon, D, Reuland F, Jacob D, Worden J, Shindell D, Dyson M. 2023 Evaluating net life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions intensities from gas and coal at varying methane leakage rates. Environmental Research Letters 18 084008.

Gottlieb B, Dyrszka L, 2017 Too Dirty, Too Dangerous: Why health professionals reject natural gas. Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Howarth R and Jacobson Z. (2021) How green is blue hydrogen? Energy Science and Engineering. 2021;9:1676–1687.

Jones, A and Yen K 2023 Hydrogen use in natural gas pipeline. UL Solutions.

Melaina M, Antonia O, Penev M 2013 Blending Hydrogen into Natural Gas Pipeline Networks: A Review of Key Issues. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

NW Natural 2024 Learn the facts about natural gas. Northwest Natural Gas.

ODOE 2017 Biogas and Renewable Natural Gas Inventory SB 334 2017: 2018 Report to the Oregon Legislature. Oregon Department of Energy.

O’Rourke D, Caleb N, Muller K, Pernick A, Plaut M, Plummer D, Serres D, Stewart B, Studer-Spevak N, Tsongas T, Turner A. 2022 Methane Gas: Health, Safety, Climate and Economic Impacts: A Case for Equitable Electrification. 350 PDX

Shuff C 2024 NW Natural Asks for an 18% Rate Increase for Oregon Households. Citizens Utility Board (CUB)


Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
April 17th 2024


Reference Northwest Natural Gas Request for a Rate Hike

Chair Decker; Commissioners Tawney and Perkins,

Thak you for providing the opportunity to offer oral comments on this proposal yesterday evening.  This is a follow-up regarding comments offered during that session.

I appreciate that it is difficult to serve as arbiters of an issue when witnesses are offering testimony that is simply untrue. In my previous testimony, I made the case that Northwest Natural Gas has exhibited an ongoing pattern of offering claims to the PUC and in its marketing that are based on misinformation and disinformation.   Apparently, some of the builders and their association representatives have adopted similar tactics.  Some of these claims deserve a response.

I will readily acknowledge that there are probably many Oregonians who prefer to have the option of including both gas and electricity in their homes.  There are also many Oregonians who still have a habit of smoking even though the negative health effects of this habit are well understood. The fact that folks have a preference for behaving in a way that threatens their own health, does not mean this should be supported and exempt from agency rules and regulations.  Indeed, in an effort to protect those who recognize the health hazards of second-hand smoke, there are many restrictions limiting where Oregonians can smoke.  By the same token, it makes perfect sense that the PUC, acting as the arbiters of what best serves Oregonians, should take into consideration the health impacts of natural gas for users, and the long-term climate impacts of the greenhouse gas emissions that result from gas usage.

I was particularly disturbed by the consistent claim from builders that gas is a clean fuel when the evidence that its use compromises the health of inhabitants of homes served by gas is abundant (e.g., Gottlieb and Dyrszka 2017; Bushkin-Bedient et al. 2019; O’Rourke et al. 2022). That gas offers a very efficient source of instant heat for cooking I do not challenge. However, it is an obvious act of dissembling to ignore the fact that induction cooktops powered by electricity are at least as effective at providing instant heat as gas-powered appliances.

The claim that promoting gas constitutes a social justice issue is another false claim.  Indeed, as Sabadosa (2023) concluded, all-electric homes are far cheaper to construct, and thus will cost the buyer less. This author also reports: “Not only are all-electric homes cheaper to build, they reduce monthly energy bills thanks to the incredible efficiency of appliances such as heat pumps.” This echoes a report from RMI (McKenna et al. 2020) that concluded “In every city we analyzed, a new all-electric, single-family home is less expensive than a new mixed-fuel home that relies on gas for cooking, space heating, and water heating.” Indeed, NBI (2022) concluded that “The all-electric single-family home is $7,500-$8,200 cheaper to construct than the baseline code home.” In terms of lifecycle comparison, they concluded “The all-electric scenario reduced total energy consumption by 34%…”

A common refrain was that in a power outage gas appliances are necessary. However, as the Citizens Utility Board (Shuff 2020) noted for power outages: “While natural gas can still flow into your home during a blackout, many appliances still require power to operate.” Those promoting mixed energy sources rarely acknowledge this limitation. Meanwhiule, in a comparison between heat pumps and gas furnaces Muro (2024) noted that heat pumps bioth heat and cool, while those with ags firnace also need air conditioning and concluded: “heat pumps do not just outperform gas furnaces in energy efficiency, they also hold ​the upper hand in terms of cost-effectiveness, carbon footprint, and longevity.” And “if your goal is both energy efficiency and sustainability, the switch to a heat pump over a traditional gas furnace is a smart move.” He also suggests: “By making the switch to a heat pump system, you’re not only‌ reducing your carbon footprint, but also ensuring‍ a‍ cozy home for all seasons.”

I was particularly disturbed to hear one of the apologists for the builders’ promotion of the Line Extension Allowance arguing that electrification served no benefit because a substantial percentage of Oregon’s electricity is generated from coal or gas.  While this is accurate currently, the statement represents further dissembling since HB2021 passed in 2021 requires that retail electricity must be generated 100% by clean sources by 2040.

It appears to me that too many builders and association representatives are so focused on maximizing their own profits that they ignore the health of home inhabitants, the climate crisis, and evidence that would lead to a more socially responsible position. When it comes to considering affordable homes, the comments of a builder who proudly noted his cheapest home cost $2 million should probably be completely discounted.

In reviewing the comments of those testifying, please take time to evaluate the claims and assess whether the testimony is germane and accurate or merely elf-serving.

Respectfully submitted

Alan Journet

Sources Cited

Bushkin-Bedient S, Dyrszka L, Gorby Y, Menapace M, Nolan K, Orenstein C, Shcoenfeld B, Steingraber S. 2019 Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking (Unconventional Gas and Oil Extraction). Sixth Edition. Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Gottlieb B, Dyrszka L, 2017 Too Dirty, Too Dangerous: Why health professionals reject natural gas. Physicians for Social Responsibility.

McKenna C, Shah A, Louis-Prescott L. 2020 All-Electric New Homes: A Win for the Climate and the Economy. RMI

Muro A 2024 Why Heat Pumps Outperform Gas Furnaces: An Energy Cost Comparison. Comfort Time

O’Rourke D, Caleb N, Muller K, Pernick A, Plaut M, Plummer D, Serres D, Stewart B, Studer-Spevak N, Tsongas T, Turner A. 2022 Methane Gas: Health, Safety, Climate and Economic Impacts: A Case for Equitable Electrification. 350 PDX

Sabadosa L. 2023. All-electric homes are cheaper to build than fossil fuel residences. Report from home builders, MIT, and Wentworth reaches misleading conclusions. Commonwealth Beacon,are%20more%20important%20than%20ever.

Shuff C 2024 NW Natural Asks for an 18% Rate Increase for Oregon Households. Citizens Utility Board (CUB)

Joint letter by Oregon climate organizations to the Department of Environmental Quality regarding the new Rulemaking Advisory Committee consideration of a revised state Climate Protection Plan. This process results from a court decision to block the Climate Protection Program approved by the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission on an administrative technicality. In response, DEQ has elected to undertake a program development re-run rather than an appeal since the latter would probably take longer and the need for action is urgent.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Office of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Cc: Director Leah Feldon, Karin Power
April 12, 2024

RE: Climate Protection Program 2024 Rulemaking – RAC #1

Dear DEQ Office of Greenhouse Gas Emissions::
The undersigned 34 environmental justice, business, climate, public health, and community-based organizations from across Oregon applaud the commitment by Governor Kotek and the Department of Environmental Quality to reinstate Oregon’s Climate Protection Program without delay. Upholding and restoring these cornerstone climate and community protections by the end of 2024 is essential to prevent incalculable harm to Oregon families, workers, and local economies, now and in the future. We appreciate the opportunity to provide comments and feedback related to issues discussed at the first Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC #1) meeting of the Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) 2024 Climate Protection Program rulemaking.

The Climate Protection Program represents a historic victory for Oregon, not only because of its vital role in achieving Oregon’s climate goals and delivering meaningful investments in- and benefits for- Oregon communities, but also because the program was developed by and for Oregonians. Alongside our partners and individual Oregonians from across the state, many of our organizations participated in each stage of DEQ’s extensive 18-month rulemaking process, which included more than 100 hours of rulemaking-related meetings across six technical workshops, three “Town Halls,” and seven, day-long Rulemaking Advisory Committee meetings. More than 7,600 Oregonians weighed in during the original Climate Protection Program rulemaking from 2020 to 2021, and the overwhelming majority were in favor of strong protections for climate and communities.

The lawsuits brought by the oil and gas industry, and subsequent Court of Appeals ruling to invalidate the program based on a procedural technicality, should not undermine this sound democratic process that was just completed a short time ago. The robust public input and support for the Climate Protection Program must not be erased. The program was working, and on track to deliver significant near-term climate and community benefits. Substantially changing the program at this juncture due to a mere procedural technicality would be a great disservice to all the effort and input that’s already gone into program design and implementation. Since the original Climate Protection Program was adopted in 2021, the need for climate action has only become more urgent. Therefore, if any changes are considered to the program, the only path is to make these rules more stringent.

Prior to the Court’s decision to invalidate the rules, the Climate Protection Program was projected to achieve nearly half of the state’s targeted 45 percent emissions reductions by 2035, and invest hundreds of millions of dollars annually in environmental justice and other communities across Oregon. As DEQ moves forward with its rulemaking process to reestablish the Climate Protection Program, we expect the agency to maintain the science-based integrity of these rules to ensure Oregon stays on track to meet its climate goals and deliver benefits for Oregon communities.

As the State moves forward with a process to reinstate the cornerstone Climate Protection Program, it is vital that DEQ uses the previously adopted rules as a starting point for any new program, and maintains or strengthens the science-based emissions cap trajectory and an effective, independent Community Climate Investment program that is responsive to community needs. Building on these topline recommendations, we offer the following comments and feedback in response to issues raised at the first RAC meeting for the 2024 Climate Protection Program rulemaking, and specifically urge DEQ to:

1. Strengthen the emissions cap to achieve the same level of cumulative emissions reductions by
2035 as the previously adopted program and require immediate compliance;
2. Maintain a strong, effective, independent Community Climate Investment program that is
responsive to environmental justice community needs;
3. Hold large stationary source industrial polluters accountable to mandatory declining emissions
targets under the cap;
4. Utilize and uplift accurate data and compliance cost information to calculate economic benefits of reducing emissions under this program; and
5. Uphold the established rulemaking timeline and commitment to readopting the rules this year.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.
1. Strengthen the emissions cap to achieve the same level of cumulative emissions reductions by 2035 as the previously adopted program and require immediate compliance.
The emission reduction targets and corresponding base emissions cap and trajectory are essential to the overall integrity of the Climate Protection Program and moving the needle on climate emission reductions in the regulated sectors. If DEQ truly seeks to design a Climate Protection Program that “achieves greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets without sacrificing equitable outcomes and while limiting costs to consumers,” it must establish emission reduction targets and a cap trajectory that reflect the best available science. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says we must cut our emissions in half by 2030 to stay below 1.5 degrees of warming.

With the unfortunate delay caused by the oil and gas industry lawsuit, we have lost years of pollution reduction, on top of what had already been decades of delayed climate action. These cumulative emissions that were not achieved as required by the Climate Protection Program, until it was invalidated, are worsening the climate crisis and air pollution in local communities, and must be accounted for in the reinstated program to make up for lost time.

The science-based cap and trajectory from the previously-adopted Climate Protection Program must be strengthened now to get Oregon back on track. It is imperative that DEQ strengthen the science-based emissions cap trajectory to achieve the same level of cumulative emission reductions as the previously adopted Climate Protection Program rules. We therefore urge DEQ to modify the rule to achieve the same level of cumulative emissions reductions as the previously-adopted program. Specifically, DEQ should use a lower starting emissions cap for 2025 and every year thereafter to make up for emissions lost in the 3 years of delay of the program.

Likewise, DEQ should require immediate compliance to make up for the three years already lost due to the oil and gas industry litigation, and the urgent need to protect communities already impacted by climate change. The schedule for compliance should be a one-year period for 2025.
Ensuring near-term emissions reductions is key to delivering public health benefits and alleviating burdens for impacted communities, by reducing harmful co-pollutants that disproportionately affect Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities, rural and low-income Oregonians.(1) Further, near-term reductions have the potential to provide significant economic benefits, by encouraging early investment in clean energy and other emissions-reducing technologies and innovations, providing immediate benefits for impacted communities, along with new opportunities and economic development across the state.

The regulated entities have been preparing for climate regulation that reins in their emissions for years, and have been working to comply with their required emissions reductions under the previously-adopted Climate Protection Program rules. NW Natural, Cascade Natural Gas, Avista, BP, Shell, Chevron, Phillips 66, Marathon Fuels, HF Sinclair and others have already publicly pledged to reduce or eliminate their net emissions by 2050 or sooner. Not to mention, regulated gas utilities, transportation fuel suppliers, and large industrial facilities now have the opportunity to leverage billions of dollars in federal climate and clean energy investments under the Inflation Reduction Act, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and CHIPS & Science Act. With unprecedented funding available to support the transition to more efficient and electric homes and buildings, transportation systems, and industries, regulated entities have every means at their
disposal to rapidly and affordably decarbonize and comply with greenhouse gas reduction targets in line with science.

2. Maintain a strong, effective, independent Community Climate Investment program that is responsive to environmental justice community needs.

The Community Climate Investment program was developed with extensive input from community embers and environmental justice leaders to enable needed investments in community-led solutions to reduce our energy bills, make our homes safer, and make our air cleaner for generations to come. This critical component of the Climate Protection Program was on the cusp of being implemented when the court invalidated the program. Environmental justice and community-based organizations have already invested time and resources into developing potential projects and investment opportunities, and the reinstated rules must uphold the integrity of the CCI program that was designed and long-planned for Oregon communities.\

We are therefore opposed to any proposals that would significantly undermine climate, cost saving, and environmental justice outcomes under the Community Climate Investment program. Specific to the topics discussed at RAC #1, we are concerned about unintended impacts if DEQ were to move forward with redistributing or adding to the emissions caps compliance instruments that potentially would have been banked from 2022 to the present under the invalidated rules.

Redistributing potentially banked compliance instruments risks flooding the market with an oversupply of compliance instruments, which could in turn delay emissions reductions and divert critical investments from the Community Climate Investment program. This risks undermining the Climate Protection Program’s ability to deliver near-term climate, economic, and public health benefits for environmental justice communities across Oregon. For environmental justice communities, the harm of current and past pollution from the intervening years cannot be undone – and community organizations will not be reimbursed for any time, effort or costs that they invested in preparing projects to be part of the CCI program; it is therefore inequitable and unjust to allow for covered fuel suppliers to benefit from the ability to bank compliance instruments from a program that simply no longer exists and many of them fought to overturn.

We strongly urge DEQ to prioritize the needs of environmental justice communities when considering the 2022 emissions data and subsequent impacts that will compromise and severely delay critical investments in overburdened communities, perpetuating existing systemic injustices. We look forward to continuing the discussion around other methods that DEQ could consider for rewarding or incentivizing early emissions reductions, including revising the formula to calculate compliance instrument distribution.

3. Hold large stationary source industrial polluters accountable to mandatory declining emissions targets under the cap.

As our organizations repeatedly expressed through written and verbal comments throughout the initial Climate Protection Program rulemaking process, it is vital that large industrial emitters be held accountable for their significant climate pollution by ensuring regulation of both fuel combustion and process emissions from stationary sources. Moreover, many of our organizations expressed strong concerns during the initial rulemaking about DEQ’s proposal to exempt stationary sources from binding emissions reduction requirements and instead regulate these emissions through a BAER approach. We repeatedly recommended that industrial source emissions come under the program’s emissions cap to assure the best outcomes for achieving Oregon’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals while improving
air quality and public health in impacted communities. We urged DEQ to require mandatory reductions in process-based GHG emissions that increase in stringency over time, consistent with the Climate Protection Program’s science-backed, declining emissions cap.

Contrary to our strong and repeated recommendations, the final EQC-adopted Climate Protection
Program rules provided a BAER approach for stationary sources to comply with the Climate Protection Program, meaning that emissions from stationary sources could very well increase under this program. Unfortunately, since the adoption of the final Climate Protection Program rules in 2021, increasing emissions from Oregon’s industrial sector has become a reality. As one example, in the 2023 legislative session, lawmakers adopted the “Oregon CHIPS Act,” which provides $210 million in funding and creates land use exemptions to accelerate the development of semiconductor plants or other advanced manufacturing facilities. Last summer, Portland General Electric sharply increased its future load forecast, primarily due to industrial growth and increasing data center demand on the horizon.(2) Similarly, Intel Corporation indicated an increase in its GHG emissions by 906,560 tons per year in a recent air quality permit application for an expansion of its Hillsboro facilities, more than doubling the emissions from these facilities.(3) This has major implications for the decarbonization goals of the state of Oregon and for Intel’s own stated goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.(4) Given the increasing
inevitability of a growing industrial sector, it is especially critical that DEQ use this rulemaking to
strengthen regulation of large industrial facilities.

As the only existing state regulation on major industrial emitters, responsible for roughly 20% of our state’s total GHG emissions, it is vital that the Climate Protection Program works to ensure
science-based, sector-wide emissions reductions from large stationary sources in Oregon. In fact, DEQ’s preliminary Climate Protection Program reference case modeling estimated that industrial emissions will increase by 28% between 2018 and 2050.(5)

As DEQ noted in the first RAC meeting, at the time of the court’s ruling–two years into program
implementation– DEQ had yet to complete a single assessment for large industrial facilities regulated under the BAER program. Without adequate changes, the BAER program will continue to lag, meaning that emissions from these sources will continue unabated, with negative impacts for air quality and public health for neighboring environmental justice communities in Oregon. We strongly urge DEQ to amend the rules to cover large industrial source greenhouse gas emissions under the cap, which will assure the best outcomes for achieving Oregon’s emissions reduction goals while improving air quality and public health in impacted communities.

Continuing to enable the development of new sources or expansion of existing sources without clear emissions limits flies in the face of DEQ’s stated equity and emissions goals under the Climate Protection Program. Particularly given recent, historic federal investments in industrial decarbonization–including more than $20 billion from the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, an estimated $67 billion from the 2022 CHIPS and Science Act, as well as forthcoming investments from the Climate Protection Program’s Community Climate Investment program–that will accelerate industrial efficiency upgrades and other technological advancements, there is no reasonable excuse to continue to enable unfettered climate pollution from large industrial facilities in Oregon.

4. Utilize and uplift accurate data and compliance cost information to calculate economic benefits of reducing emissions under this program.

The emissions reductions under the Climate Protection Program give Oregon the opportunity to spur job growth and technological innovation, improve public health, and create cleaner, cheaper, healthier energy and transportation options that will benefit Oregon jobs, families, and the economy.

The Fiscal Impact Statement adopted for the 2021 Climate Protection Program rules rightfully
acknowledged that directly reducing emissions has the potential to benefit business for covered entities, as well as to benefit Oregon’s economy as a whole. This assessment is in line with economic analyses that have clearly shown that emissions reductions can serve to reboot our economy and set it up for long-term success. Recent Energy Innovation modeling found that–if well implemented–the Climate Protection Program, along with other recently-adopted Oregon climate policies, will add nearly 10,000 jobs and $2.5 billion to Oregon’s GDP in 2050. Strong implementation will also avoid 600 asthma attacks and 40 premature deaths annually in 2050, with avoided deaths 40 to 90 percent greater for people of color. The modeling found that these health care benefits will amount to a cumulative $49 billion in avoided health care costs through 2050.(6)

Renewable energy is not only cheaper overall, it does not suffer from wild price volatility like gas.(7) Therefore, emissions reductions under the Climate Protection Program will protect consumers from future price fluctuations. The more we can move toward electric vehicles and appliances, the less we have to worry about the price of oil and gas being determined half a world away. Electrification and cleaner ways of making those fuels exist right here in Oregon. This Climate Protection Program will help us deploy those technologies at scale, providing cost-savings, job creation, and healthier living environments for people and families across Oregon.

Given the decades of harm and misinformation that polluting industries have already inflicted on the public—not to mention the impacts to come as climate change worsens—it is unconscionable that fossil gas utilities and oil companies continue to promote misinformation about the costs of compliance and economic impacts under the Climate Protection Program. With that, we strongly encourage DEQ to bring accurate compliance cost information into the next RAC meeting and discussion of the fiscal impact of the reinstated program to ensure an informed and reasoned conversation among all participants. This is especially relevant for considering costs for the regulated gas utilities.

As DEQ develops the fiscal and racial impact of the reinstated program, we urge you to remember that, while the economic impacts from Climate Protection Program compliance will likely be positive when aggregated across Oregon’s economy as a whole, the costs of inaction—the failure to achieve science-based emissions reductions—may be higher than the state’s economy can bear. Climate change is already producing devastating impacts for Oregon’s economy and frontline communities. As underscored by OHA’s 2023 Climate and Health in Oregon report, these climate hazards disproportionately harm the health and wellbeing of communities of color, Tribal communities, low-income, and other environmental justice communities more than other populations.(8) The destruction caused by recent climate-fueled weather events and natural disasters, such as wildfires, droughts, and unprecedented heat waves, have price tags in the billions of dollars. The 2023 Oregon Climate Change Research Institute’s Sixth Oregon
Climate Assessment emphasized that “Oregon’s economy and gross domestic product (GDP) remain highly impacted” by climate change, threatening multiple sectors, industries, and communities across the state. These costs are projected to rise dramatically as the climate crisis worsens.

By reducing climate-change causing fossil fuel emissions, the Climate Protection Program will result in substantial benefits for our workers and our economy, including reduced health care costs, job loss prevention, avoided future business closures, and sustaining Oregon’s natural resource economy. In December 2023, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency economists updated the federal social cost of carbon, which estimates the economic impact of climate change.(9) The new estimate of the social cost of carbon calculates the harm to the economy caused by climate pollution as $190 per ton of carbon dioxide emissions. As DEQ prepares its fiscal impact statement for the 2024 Climate Protection Program, we urge you to utilize the federally adopted social cost of carbon to adequately assess the economic benefits of reducing emissions under this program.

5. Uphold the established rulemaking timeline and maintain commitment to readopting the rules this year.

Every day that these landmark climate protections are delayed represents another day that justice is denied to Oregon communities– especially rural, low-income, and communities of color, who stand to benefit the most from emissions reductions and economic prosperity under the Climate Protection Program. We therefore applaud DEQ’s commitment to a timeline that results in readoption of the Climate Protection Program rules this year.

We are in the decisive decade for climate action. Without the Climate Protection Program, Oregon simply does not have an adequate or workable plan to achieve the state’s climate goals. Our state also misses out on the innovation, job creation, and energy cost savings that this program will drive, which are vital for our economy and “household budgets. It is imperative that the State hold firm in its progress toward growing clean energy industries that create local, high-quality jobs across Oregon.

Oregonians have long demanded that fossil fuel companies take responsibility for the devastating harm they cause to our lives, our families, and our communities. We cannot afford to continue jeopardizing the lives and livelihoods of our communities for the sake of preserving the status quo. Now, it is up to DEQ leadership to swiftly restore the protections we need to ensure a healthy climate future for all Oregon families.

We look forward to seeing this program reinstated before the end of 2024 so that we can get back to the urgent work of investing in low-income, rur9 and communities of color who have borne the brunt of climate and economic injustice for too long.


Teryn Yazdani
Staff Attorney and Climate Policy Manager
Beyond Toxics

Karen Harrington
Chair, Legislative Committee
Climate Reality Project, Portland Chapter

Meredith Connolly
Oregon Director
Climate Solutions

Jeff Hammarlund
Climate, Energy and Environment Team of

Deborah Ferrer
Leadership Team
COIN – Consolidated Oregon Indivisible

Audrey Leonard
Staff Attorney
Columbia Riverkeeper

Charity Fain
Executive Director
Community Energy Project

Stuart Liebowitz
Douglas County Global Warming Coalition

Molly Tack-Hooper
Supervising Senior Attorney

Taylor Silvey
Public Relations & Public Health Coordinator
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon

Jessica Nischik-Long
Acción Climática Program Manager
Familias en Acción

Nora Lehmann
Advocacy Coordinator
Families for Climate

Carra Sahler
Director and Staff Attorney
Green Energy Institute at Lewis & Clark
Law School

Brett Baylor, Rick Brown, Linda Craig, Pat
DeLaquil, Dan Frye, Debby Garman, KB
Mercer, Michael Mitton, Rich Peppers, Rand
Schenck, Jane Stackhouse, Joe Stenger and
Catherine Thomasson
Steering Committee
Mobilizing Climate Action Together

Angus Duncan
PNW Consultant
Natural Resources Defense Council

Nakisha Nathan & Mary Peveto
Co-Executive Directors
Neighbors for Clean Air

Tim Miller
Oregon Business for Climate

Nora Apter
Director of Programs
Oregon Environmental Council

Taylor Silvey
EMO Public Relations & Public Health
Oregon Interfaith Power & Light

Lindsey Scholten
Executive Director
Oregon League of Conservation Voters

Kyna Harris
Program Director
Oregon Public Health Institute

Lauren Anderson
Climate Forests Program Manager
Oregon Wild

Ira Cuello-Martinez
Policy and Advocacy Director

Jess Grady-Benson
Organizing Director
Rogue Climate

Alan Journet
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now

Anne Pernick
Senior Advisor
SAFE Cities at

Arian Dehnow
Policy Associate
The Pacific Forest Trust

Thor Hinckley
Coordinating Committee
Third Act Oregon

Kasey Hovik
Executive Director
Umpqua Watersheds

Xitlali Torres
Air Quality and Climate Program Coordinator

Alex Boetzel
Governance and Steering Committee Chair
ZERO Coalition

Prof. Janet Lorenzen
350 SalemOR

Debby Garman
Team Lead
350 Washington County

Cherice Bock
Climate Policy Manager


1 Oregon Health Authority’s recent Climate and Health in Oregon 2020 report underscored that rapidly accelerating climate change is intensifying public health crises in Oregon, hurting communities of color and tribal communities first and worst, and that these health risks will only get worse with continued inaction.
2 PGE, facing clean energy challenge, revises load forecast sharply higher as data centers sprout, Portland Business Journal, July 11, 2023:
3 Oregon DEQ Air Contaminant Discharge Permit-Major NSR Review Report for Intel Corporation
4 Intel Newsroom. April 13, 2022. Intel Commits to Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions in its Global Operations by 2040.
5 Or. Dept. of Envtl. Quality & ICF, Oregon Climate Protection Program: Modeling Study on Program Options 9 (2021),

Comments on behalf of SOCAN submitted by Alan Journet, April 2nd 2024

I comment as a cofacilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now representing hundreds of rural Oregonians who seek state action to address the climate crisis. We were very involved in the process that led to the CPP development and approval by the EQC in 2022.

While we were disappointed by some aspects of the CPP, we were also very disturbed by the efforts of the Fossil Fuel industry and others to defeat the program after serving on the RAC and committing time and again to seeking GHG reductions. We hope that the representatives of those entities from the previous RAC who then fought the CPP in the courts will approach this effort in good faith and with a more positive attitude. Future generations depend on your sincerity.

In particular, we hope that the revised program recognizes the delay and thus the need for a more rapid emissions reduction trajectory. In particular, we would like to see industry emitters included in the emissions reducing cap rather than continuing with the BAER component.

As a science-based grassroots climate organization we also urge that development of the CPP and the rules ultimately established should be science-based. We note this because there are pressures relevant to these discussions that defy scientific reality. I am thinking, for example, about the problem that complete lifecycle analysis is precluded, and that the production and transportation of some fuels that are defined in Oregon as emissions-free actually result in substantial emissions.

In the above context, it was of concern to hear during the session the claim that biofuel use results in no emissions. This is patently false and represents a perfect example of the failure of DEQ to acknowledge the best available science. If DEQ fails to acknowledge the science, it is difficult to imagine that the rules will do so. It was also of concern to hear the rejection of acknowledging full lifecycle analysis by stating the program only addresses emissions in-boundary. Failing to acknowledge upstream emissions means that Oregon is developing a program that lowers in-boundary emissions while potentially raising out-of-state emissions, i.e., exporting our emissions. We also urge that the Community Climate Investment feature should be applied to all entities.  The program should preclude the ability of gas utilities from by-passing and undermining the CCI component by importing biomethane generated out-of-state as a way to evade emissions reduction demands. Since biomethane generation and transmission is not emissions-free allowing biomethane generated out of state is another example of reducing in-boundary emissions by exporting emissions.

We understand that DEQ cannot do what it cannot do, but please recognize these problems and account for them in the rules that are developed. That means developing rules that discourage biofuels as an option and recognize the significance of upstream emissions.

Finally, I’d like to encourage representatives from the fossil fuel industry to try to avoid approaching this critical process with a commitment to defending and maintaining your current business model. Please recognize that, if we are to pass on to future generations a livable planet, much of what is currently being done needs to be adjusted.

Banks reject nuclear funding, stocks nosedive and the industry says it should, believe it or not, slow down.

Linda Pentz Gunter March 31st 2024, Beyond Nuclear International

NuScale, the company whose small modular reactor project collapsed so spectacularly last November, is “burning cash at the rate of $185 million per year”. On March 22, the company’s CEO, John Hopkins, sold 59,768 of his shares in the company. This is the same CEO who declared NuScale’s SMR project, aptly named VOYGR, “a dead horse.” It’s clearly on a journey to nowhere.

Wells Fargo, with an eye on prudent investments, has declared, “We think investor enthusiasm for SMR is misguided”. As The Motley Fool reported, “NuScale’s VOYGR nuclear power product has ‘no secure customers’ and is ‘not cost competitive’ says the analyst.”

The splashy cheerleading Nuclear Energy Summit organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Brussels on March 21 proved to be just that. The participants arrived floating on the hot air of their misplaced enthusiasm but “left humbled by the tepid reaction of bankers assessing the price tag of their ambitions”.


Letter to Editor by Gary Clarida, RV – Times, March 30th 2024

We need beavers. Beavers could be a powerful ally to address many of the problems we face due to a warming climate.

Their activities increase wildlife habitat and enhance biological diversity. By slowing water they reduce flood risk for low land communities. Beaver dams will increase the amount of water moving into aquifers.

These attributes make a strong case for the reintroduction of Beavers into as much of the natural landscape as possible. The environment needs them and so do we.

Elder Climate Action is a group of “activists committed to a non-partisan effort to end the Climate Crisis and build a just and sustainable future for our children, our grandchildren, and all children.”

March 26, 2024, at 4 p.m. PDT – Elders Climate Action is having their Monthly National Call (on the 4th Tuesday of the month) with Dr. Elizabeth Sawin on the topic: Multisolving: Actions That Protect the Climate While Improving Health, Equity, and Biodiversity at the Same Time. Register here.

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