Oregon Governor: Climate Change Laws Vital to Economy

Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed into law on July 22 a series of bills comprising an aggressive climate change package that will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, ensure low carbon fuel, invest in green technology and jobs and increase energy efficiency in homes and businesses across the state.

The governor signed the bills at the University Of Oregon Lundquist College of Business, designated as the greenest business school in the country.

"These bills are the next step in growing our green economy, lessening our dependence on foreign sources of fossil fuel and ensuring clean air, cleaner burning fuel and energy efficient buildings and homes that save money and protect our environment," Kulongoski said. "These policies secure Oregon's position as a national leader in climate change policy while also expanding economic opportunity in clean, green jobs across the state."

The series of bills include:

  • Senate Bill 38 — Expands reporting requirements for GHG emissions to imported electricity, natural gas, and transportation fuel and will allow state to better track the amount of GHGs emitted in Oregon.
  • Senate Bill 79 — Ramps up energy efficiency in building codes by 10 to 15 percent for residential and by 15 to 25 percent for commercial structures and creates a new "reach code" system to highlight best practices for builders and developers. The bill also creates a governor-appointed task force to develop energy performance scores for homes and buildings, similar to fuel mileage stickers on vehicles and recommends to next legislature whether to require the performance scores as part of real estate transactions.
  • Senate Bill 101 — Requires that new electricity sources must be as least as clean as natural gas plants, effectively blocking new development of conventional coal. This is similar to legislation passed in Washington and California.
  • House Bill 2186 — Authorizes the Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) to develop a low carbon fuel standard that would sunset in 2015. Authorizes EQC to require inflation of tires as part of servicing vehicles and to require reduction in emissions from ships at port and directs the DEQ to study measures to reduce aerodynamic drag on long haul trucks and idling and to provide recommendations to legislature by October 2010.
  • House Bill 2626 — Gives local governments the authority to issue bonds for residential and business energy efficiency projects. In addition, the bill creates the ability for homeowners and building owners to access long term, low cost financing and uses $5 million in lottery bonds as grant money to capitalize the program. Loans can be paid back on utility bills.
  • House Bill 3039 — Directs the public utilities commission to develop a pilot program to integrate 25 megawatts of small-scale solar energy into Oregon's electricity mix using a feed-in tariff. The bill also requires 20 megawatts of large-scale solar be integrated into utility loads.
  • House Bill 3463 — Triggers the 2 percent blending requirement for biodiesel into statewide diesel fuel, ensuring greater use of a renewable fuel source that will also reduce carbon emissions. The blending is required by the end of August of this year.

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