SOCAN’s 2023 Legislative Priorities
Before the 2023 Oregon Legislative long session (January through June) is over, some 4,000 bills are expected to have been introduced (‘dropped’ in the legislative vernacular). We cannot follow them all! Indeed, some 1500 or so were filed before January 9th, when the session started and already more have appeared. SOCAN’s Federal and State Project team members have been following these bills since the opening of the session
As of May 6, many bills of interest have been forwarded to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means because they involve a fiscal commitment, and W&M is the committee that determines the legislature’s budget recommendations. The anticipated 2023-2024 biennium state income projection is expected from the Office of Economic analysis on May 17th. At that time, these bills are expected to be scheduled for Hearings. With there only being 7 weeks left in the session after that, and Republicans in both chambers using every maneuver they can to slow proceedings down (including the now unconstitutional walk-out), many bills are likely to be left on the floor unaddressed by the end of the session while others will likely to have their fiscal request reduced.
Bills SOCAN Supports
SB80 Cleaning up SB762 wildfire issues and the wildfire risk maps. Recommended Do pass with amendments and requesting referral to Ways and Means. (as A-Engrossed.)
SB 85-1 was HB2667, The Factory Farm (Confined Animal Feedlot Operation – CAFO – moratorium) bill was pulled from the House Committee agenda and assigned as -1 amendment to SB85 before the Senate Committee on Natural Resources since the expectation was that it would not be successful in the assigned House committee. This Factory Farm Moratorium Bill Prohibits Department of Environmental Quality and State Department of Agriculture from issuing or renewing license or permit to allow construction or operation of new industrial confined animal feeding operation, addition to or expansion of existing industrial confined animal feeding operation or addition to or expansion of livestock farm that would cause livestock farm to become industrial confined animal feeding operation. The -3 amendment restricts moratorium to poultry – we oppose this since poultry represent a minuscule component of the CAFO problem statewide. The -4 amendment is also weaker than -1 so we have maintained our support for -1 while acknowledging that -4 would be better than nothing. Hudson, Dembrow, Golden Assigned to House Committee On Agriculture, Land Use, Natural Resources, and Water; Ken Helm, Chair; text Public Hearing Held, SOCAN Testimony submitted Committee outcome: ”Without recommendation as to passage and request referral to Rules.” Since the Rules committees are not bound by the date deadline that constrains the policy committees, this keeps the proposal alive. Rules committee Public Hearing was held where we submitted written testimony and testified orally. At 45 seconds, this was the shortest testimony I have given this session.
SB522 Changes name of “Oregon Global Warming Commission” to “Oregon Climate Action Commission.” Modifies membership and duties of commission. Adjusts agency reporting; GHG reduction goal to 80% below 1990 by 2050. Senate Committee on Energy and Environment, 1:00 pm February 22nd SOCAN Testimony submitted Recommended ‘Do pass’ with amendments and referred to Ways and Means. (As A-Engrossed.).
SB530, the Natural Climate Solutions Bill promotes carbon sequestration in the state’s natural and working lands as a way to enhance the state’s effort to address the climate crisis. From the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, it is clear that we must not only reduce emissions but also removes some of the greenhouse gases already emitted. Forestry that sequesters carbon and regenerative agriculture that promotes healthy soils are two ways to achieve this goal. SOCAN testimony on SB530. Recommended Do pass with amendments. Referred to Ways and Means. (As A-Engrossed).
As the years of its operation revealed that Oregon’s 2007 purely voluntary greenhouse gas emissions reduction program was failing to achieve its trajectory and interim goals, years of effort were spent developing a meaningful state greenhouse gas emissions reduction bill. In 2020, SB1530 was set to pass both chambers until Republicans staged a walk-out defeating the quorum in both chambers and thwarting passage of this and many other important bills. As a result of Republican refusal to engage in serious discussions about a climate program in Oregon, in March 2020 Governor Brown signed, Executive Order 20-04 This EO charged state agencies to develop programs within their authority to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the state with a goal of achieving reduction of 80% below 1990 emissions by 2050. That EO also encouraged carbon sequestration in our natural and working lands and charged agencies to develop programs that incorporated equity. In response the Oregon Global Warming Commission (OGWC) developed a report that identified carbon sequestration in our natural and working lands as a state goal. During the 2022 legislative short session, SB 1534 was introduced to further the proposed OGWC sequestration target. This bill sought, among other related goals, to establish carbon sequestration as a state goal and develop a baseline assessment of historic sequestration. The bill was recommended DO PASS by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Wildfire Recovery but was awaiting Joint Ways and Means consideration when the session ended. This bill represents a 2023 effort to revisit the goals of SB1534 and take the action a little further.
Establishes promoting natural climate solutions as an Oregon policy in efforts to mitigate future climate change. These are activities that enhance or protect the ability of natural and working lands to sequester and store carbon or reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while maintaining or increasing climate resilience, human well-being and biodiversity. The bill also invests in research to improve understanding of the effects of natural climate solutions in the lands and the products from those lands as well as the contributions such solutions can make to reducing GHG emissions and increasing net carbon sequestration and strengthening climate resilience.
State agencies shall seek federal and private funding, incentivize and implement natural climate solutions, prioritize existing programs to administer funds, promote equity, ensure diversity among participants, identify resources to provide incentives, strengthen land manager education, engagement, and technical assistance, provide financial assistance to tribal, local governments, and NGOs
The bill seeks to optimize social, health, ecological, climate resilience and economic benefits of natural climate solutions, through reducing Heat Island Effects, improving air quality, flood control, soil health and productivity, wildfire resilience and community protection, drought resilience and response, wetland and riparian functionality for enhanced water quality and quantity, and increasing long-term fiber supplies, climate resilience of fish and wildlife, and protection for coastal communities from the impacts of storm surge. It directs state agencies to incorporate natural climate solutions into their missions, programmatic investments and performance metrics and use metrics designed to track progress in implementing natural climate solutions.
It establishes a Natural and Working Lands Fund in the State Treasury, separate and distinct from the General Fund. Funds are then disbursed to Agriculture, Forestry, Watershed and Fish and Wildlife Natural Climate Solutions Funds.
See also Guest Column in Rogue Valley Times: NATURAL CLIMATE SOLUTIONS BENEFIT RURAL OREGON
SB542 Requires original equipment manufacturer to make available to owner of consumer electronic equipment or independent repair provider on fair and reasonable terms any documentation, tool, part or other device or implement that original equipment manufacturer makes available to authorized repair provider for purpose of diagnosing, maintaining or repairing consumer electronic equipment. Recommended Do pass with amendments. (As A-Engrossed.) Sent to Rules.
SB543 bans the use of expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam) containers in Oregon restaurants and for packaging. SOCAN testimony on SB543. Passed Senate and sent to House. Passed Senate 20:9 on 04/03; Passed House 40:18 on 04/26. Awaiting Governor’s signature. A VICTORY
SB545 Directs Oregon Health Authority to adopt rules allowing restaurants to allow consumers to fill consumer-owned containers with food. Passed Senate chamber 19:8, forwarded to House. Passed Senate chamber 19:8 on 3/15, forwarded to House. Passed House 39:17 on 04/26. Awaiting Governor’s signature. A VICTORY
Resilient Buildings Package of 4
SB868-1 Healthy heating and cooling for all bill. Passed by Senate Committee on Energy and Environment and forwarded to Joint Committee on Ways and Means. SOCAN testimony submitted. Recommended Do pass with amendments and referred to Ways and Means as A-Engrossed.
SB869 – 1 Building smart from the start. Passed by Senate Committee on Energy and Environment and forwarded to Joint Committee on Ways and Means. SOCAN testimony submitted Recommended Do pass with amendments and referred to Ways and Means as A-Engrossed.
SB870 -1 Building performance standard. Passed by Senate Committee on Energy and Environment and forwarded to Joint Committee on Ways and Means. SOCAN testimony submitted Recommended Do pass with amendments and referred to Ways and Means as A-Engrossed.
SB871 -1 Smart State Buildings. Passed by Senate Committee on Energy and Environment and forwarded to Joint Committee on Ways and Means. SOCAN testimony submitted Recommended Do pass with amendments and referred to Ways and Means as A-Engrossed.
SB-5506 The Joint Committee on Ways and Means is holding public hearings around the state on the budget proposal. Closest to us will be in Roseburg at the Community College on April 21st 5:00 – 7:00pm. Local Earth Day events are happening on this day at the SOU Farm). Written testimony can be submitted urging funding for climate action generally or specific bills. Climate does not seem to have as high a priority as it deserves, which is inappropriate if the state genuinely wishes to contribute its share to greenhouse gas emissions reduction and sequestration. SOCAN Testimony submitted.
HB-2571 Directs Department of Environmental Quality to establish program for providing rebates to qualifying individuals who purchase electric assisted bicycles Recommended ‘Do Pass’ by House Committee on Climate, Energy and Environment. Referred to Ways and Means.
HB-2613 Appropriates $30,000,000 to Department of Environmental Quality for deposit in Zero-Emission Incentive Fund. Joint Committee On Transportation; Public Hearing April 6th Work Session 04/25. Recommended ‘Do Pass’ and referred to Ways & Means.
HB-2990 Resilience Hubs are Community Centers that provide shelter from disasters – such as earthquakes, heat, and wildfire, and provide information on how to survive the disaster. They often include off-grid power (e.g., solar panels, batteries, and generators). Assigned to Climate, Energy & Environment Pam Marsh Chair; Text Public Hearing and Work Session scheduled SOCAN Testimony submitted Recommended Do pass with amendments, as A-Engrossed, and referred to Ways and Means.
HB2998, the Healthy Soils Bill Creates the Oregon Soil Health Initiative to improve soil health in this state by collaborating on, and advancing, voluntary incentive-based soil health strategies such as sequestering carbon, building soil organic matter, improving water quality by reducing soil erosion, soil compaction while reducing agricultural production costs, promoting the beneficial activity of microbes, fungi, earthworms and other organisms and reducing the costs of agricultural inputs and protecting worker health. The program will be developed and administered by the Institute for Natural Resources at Oregon State University, The Oregon Department of Agriculture will support the initiative by collaborating with other agencies such as the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). OWEB will provide grants for continuing or expanding initiative practices. OSU Department of Agriculture shall assess and track soil health. $480,000 is appropriated to Oregon Department of Agriculture, $2,480,000 to OWEB for providing grants and $425,000 to the Institute for Natural Resources. SOCAN Testimony on HB2998. Recommended Do pass with amendments and be referred to Ways and Means.
HB3003 Provides tax breaks for electricity utilities burning biomass that is at least 50% juniper.SOCAN testimony submitted urging amendment Forwarded without recommendation as to passage and be referred to Tax Expenditures by prior reference. A Public Hearing was held on this on 04/21 but I missed submitting testimony. So, I sent testimony to all committee members individually. Jeff Golden picked up on one of my comments responding to a proposed amendment reducing the requirement that juniper should be 50% of the biomass burned to 30%. I suggested that this would provide the perverse incentive of encouraging the logging of standing trees. I suggested an amendment to limit any tax breaks to the percentage of biomass combusted in a power plant that is actually juniper. Jeff Golden indicated he would introduce such an amendment.
HB3056 extends residential Heat Pump Fund until January 2, 2026.
This is a simple bill that does just this. Because electric heat pumps are by far the most efficient and effective means for both warming and cooling homes, SOCAN supports the principle of incentivizing the installation of these devices. It would be preferable if the bill limited incentives to electric heat pumps and excluded gas heat pumps. Recommended Do Pass, forwarded to Ways and Means.
HB3113 appropriates moneys from General Fund to Department of Transportation, for biennium beginning July 1, 2023, for improving safety and increasing access to walking, biking and transit on state highways that serve as community main streets. Joint Committee on Transportation. Public Hearing held.
HB3166 Requires State Department of Energy, in consultation with Housing and Community Services Department, to establish whole-home energy savings program and high-efficiency electric home rebate program. SOCAN Testimony submitted. Recommended ‘Do pass’ with amendments and be referred to Ways and Means.
HB3196 Authorizes Environmental Quality Commission to establish by rule fee to be paid by community climate investment entities. This encodes into statute the Climate Protection Program Community Climate Investment Fund. SOCAN Testimony submitted. Recommended Do pass and be referred to Ways and Means.
HB3229 Modifies federal operating permit program fees. Without recommendation as to passage and be referred to Ways and Means.
HB3464 Provides, for purposes of certain statutes relating to taking of predatory animals, that terms “predatory animal” and “rodent” do not include beavers. Alan testimony submitted Recommended ‘Do Pass.’ Passed House 34:11. Referred to Senate Committee on Natural Resources’. Hearing
HB3579 Clean Technology Leadership Bill; Requires Oregon Department of Administrative Services to adopt rules to promote clean energy technology in Oregon SOCAN testimony submitted. Recommended ‘Do pass’ with amendments and referred to Ways and Means.
HB-3590 Directs College of Forestry at Oregon State University, in collaboration with Department of Environmental Quality and State Forestry Department, to research development of fuel pathways for low carbon fuels derived from woody biomass residues from forestry operations. Recommended Do Pass and referred to Ways and Means. SOCAN testimony submitted Suggest neutral but oppose assumption that woody biomass is a positive option. Recommended Do pass and referred to Ways and Means.
HB5018 Appropriates moneys from General Fund to Department of Environmental Quality for certain biennial expenses. Joint Committee on Ways and Means, Sub-committee on Natural Resources. SOCAN testimony submitted. Seems to have died for lack of a Work Session
Bills SOCAN Opposes
SB247 undoes provisions adopted in Senate Bill 762 (2021). Dead A VICTORY
SB251 Creates income tax credit for energy production in Oregon. Robinson. This insane anti-Oregon nonsensical bill would provide tax break incentives to all forms of energy thus promoting global warming and the climate crisis. No Public Hearing or Work Session – Dead. A VICTORY
[NOTE SB762 was based on recommendations from the bi-partisan Governor’s Wildfire Council report developed in response to the disastrous 2020 wildfire year. Some Oregonians and their legislators oppose provisions of SB762 based on misunderstanding fed by misinformation and disinformation regarding fire ecology principles. These bills are designed to undermine the bi-partisan effort of the Governor’s Wildfire Council].
SB647 prevents local governments from prohibiting natural gas use in or availability for new or existing residential or commercial buildings.
Buildings are responsible for some 40% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Contributors to this value include the emissions resulting from the so-called embodied energy of construction, along with the day-to-day operations of buildings. The former results in so-called embodied carbon emissions while latter includes the direct day-to-day operational use of fossil (natural) gas and electricity generated from coal, oil or gas-fired power plants. No Hearings – Dead. A VICTORY
SB795 directs State Board of Forestry to convey certain state forest lands to county that determines that county would secure greatest permanent value of lands to county and requests conveyance. SOCAN testimony Submitted No Work Session – dead A VICTORY
HB2195 prohibits municipality that administers and enforces building inspection program from adopting construction standards or methods from Reach Code, or similar or related code of standards and methods, that exceed or are more stringent than statewide standards and methods [that the] Director of Department of Consumer and Business Services adopts and administers.
The whole idea of so-called ‘Reach Code’ in construction is to provide a set of standards that are more rigorous in some way than the standard state building codes. Her is yet another example f legislators bit undermining the ability of local jurisdictions of establishing rule appropriate for their community and that address major issues such as the climate crisis or wildfire protection. No Hearings – Dead. A VICTORY
HB2236 prohibits Governor and specified state agencies from taking measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon unless authorized by Legislative Assembly by law enacted on or after effective date of Act.
The climate science deniers frequently offer proposals that they argue do not reflect denial of the science, but reflect concerns about due process, or fairness, or something. But, they never offer a proposal that actually would, in any way, address the climate crisis. Here’s another example of climate science denial at work. Referred to Rules. WATCH
HB2587 undoes provisions adopted in Senate Bill 762 (2021). No Hearings – Dead. A VICTORY
HB2685 Restores availability of income or corporate excise tax credit for processing or collection of woody biomass. This bill would provide a tax credit for those using biomass as a source of energy. Although promoted as a means of encouraging wildfire protection by removing woody debris from forests, it could also promote logging which compromises forest health and results both in greenhouse gas emissions from the harvest itself and precludes further sequestration of carbon from the standing trees. SOCAN testimony on HB2685. Referred to Joint Committee on Tax Expenditures; no Hearing scheduled. WATCH
HB3022 prohibits Environmental Quality Commission and Department of Environmental Quality from adopting or enforcing rules or standards related to motor vehicle fuels or emissions unless authorized by Legislative Assembly by law enacted on or after effective date of Act. Another legislative proposal that simply undermines the ability of a state agency to perform its duly assigned and authorized responsibilities under the guise of ‘defending democracy.’ In this case, the proposal would precent the DEQ from reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the economic sector responsible for the largest percentage of Oregon’s regulated greenhouse gases. SOCAN testimony on HB3022. No Work Session scheduled – Dead. A VICTORY
HB3382 Authorizes certain ports to construct, maintain and improve deep draft navigation channel improvements without demonstrating compliance with state or local land use law. Joint Committee on Transportation. Public Hearing held; no Work Session schedule.
HB-3590 Directs College of Forestry at Oregon State University, in collaboration with Department of Environmental Quality and State Forestry Department, to research development of fuel pathways for low carbon fuels derived from woody biomass residues from forestry operations. Voted out of Climate Energy & Environment with ‘Do Pass’ recommendation and referred to Ways and Means. SOCAN testimony submitted. We adopted a neutral position but suggested amendment insisting on an unbiases study. Recommended Do pass and referred to Ways and Means WATCH
The Pro-nuclear Package
SB676 removes requirement that adequate repository for terminal disposition of high-level radioactive waste be licensed as precondition for issuance of site certificate for nuclear-fueled thermal power plant. No Public Hearing or Work Session – dead. A VICTORY
SB831 removes requirement that adequate repository for terminal disposition of high-level radioactive waste be licensed as precondition for issuance of site certificate for nuclear-fueled thermal power plant. No Public Hearing or Work Session – dead. A VICTORY
SB832 removes small modular reactor power plants from regulation of energy facilities by Energy Facility Siting Council. No Public Hearing or Work Session – dead. A VICTORY
SB833 requires Oregon State University to study use of thorium as nuclear fuel in nuclear power plant. Brock Smith. Another bill designed to promote nuclear power. No Public Hearing or Work Session – dead. A VICTORY
HB2215 removes requirement that adequate repository for terminal disposition of high-level radioactive waste be licensed as precondition for issuance of site certificate for nuclear-fueled thermal power plant. No Work Session – dead. A VICTORY
SOCAN’s Position on Nuclear Power is:
SOCAN acknowledges the role that nuclear energy now contributes to the U.S. energy mix, but rejects claims by the nuclear industry and nuclear proponents that genuinely clean renewable energy cannot supply our global current and future energy demand. SOCAN recognizes the benefit of retaining existing nuclear plants, including aging and unprofitable ones that meet stringent safety and transparency conditions, until such time that safer, more economical and sustainable alternative renewables and efficiencies are available. Meanwhile, SOCAN recognizes that nuclear energy is inferior to solar and wind in: taking up to four times longer and costing much more to bring online than wind; producing much more carbon dioxide equivalent per unit of energy generated than solar or wind; and risking promotion of weapons proliferation, meltdown, waste, mining hazards, and further radioactive contamination of humans and the environment. SOCAN also urges (demands) that before any consideration be given to expanding nuclear generation, the 1957 Federal Price Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act, extended in 2005 through 2025, is repealed. This Act results in taxpayers indemnifying (bearing the cost of covering nuclear accidents for) damages from an incident at a nuclear facility that exceed about $15 billion. Board approved 12/04/2021
For an explanatory background on this position, visit Background to SOCAN’s Position Statement on the Nuclear Option. SOCAN’s testimony on HB2215