Despite protests from a number of groups representing fuel, timber, farming, and manufacturing in Oregon, Kate Brown’s declaration to focus on climate change is going strong. On March 10, 2021, Brown issued a statement commemorating the one-year mark of Executive Order 20-04 directing state agencies to take action to reduce and regulate greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon.
Within Executive Order 20-04, Brown outlined a number of goals and priorities focused on achieving lowered greenhouse gas emissions including:
- By 2035, to achieve a level less than 45% of 1990’s emissions.
- By 2050, to achieve a level less than 80% of 1990’s emissions.
Over the past year, Brown noted the following progress towards meeting the objectives:
- The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality established its Climate Protection Program to cap and reduce carbon emissions.
- Three reports were produced to inform future actions: the Climate Adaptation Framework, the Climate Equity Blueprint, and the Climate and Health Oregon Report.
- The Oregon Department of Transportation established the Climate Policy Office to produce data regarding ODOT’s investments that promote biking, walking, and public transportation.
- A statewide public electric charging plan was launched.
- Every Mile Counts, a statewide transportation plan focused on reducing carbon emissions, continued strong.
- The Public Utility Commission made progress on wildfire prevention and mitigation work.
- Oregon’s Clean Fuel Program has continued to develop and strengthen rules on methane emissions from landfills and increase energy efficiency standards for buildings and appliances.
Not everyone is (or was) in favor of the Executive Action. In August 2020, a lawsuit was brought against Brown asserting she did not have the constitutional authority to impact legislation without the approval of the State’s legislative bodies. In November, Judge Daniel J. Wren provided his response to the lawsuit indicating the suit had no merit because no executive agencies had been named, thus any decision on the case would have zero impact. As a result, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint adding the Department of Environmental Quality as a defendant.
The parties bringing suit include Space Age Fuel, Inc; A&M Transport, LLC; Otley Land and Cattle, LLC; Oregon Business & Industry; Oregon Manufacturers and Commerce; Oregon Forest & Industries Council; Oregon Farm Bureau Federation; and Oregon Trucking Association.
If the court case were successful, the DEQ would be halted from enacting rules based on Governor Brown’s Executive Action. Instead, they would be limited to actions aimed to meet lesser standards previously set by the legislature to reduce Greenhouse Gasses by 10% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 75% by 2050.
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Want to learn more about emerging clean energy initiatives in Oregon? Come visit us at www.roguevalleycleancities.org. Together, we can keep our communities clean for generations to come! The Rogue Valley Clean Cities’ mission is to promote and educate on alternate fuels, seek to decrease dependency on petroleum, and promote clean air and water in the Rogue Valley via alternate fuels. Contact us today for more information!