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Oregon governor issues executive order targeting climate change

By ANDREW SELSKY
Of The Associated Press

SALEM — In an end run around Republican legislators, Oregon’s Democratic governor ordered the state on Tuesday to lower greenhouse gas emissions, directing a state agency to set and enforce caps on pollution from industry and transportation fuels.

Gov. Kate Brown’s sweeping executive order, one of the boldest in the nation, aims to reduce carbon emissions to at least 45% below 1990 levels by 2035 and 80% from 1990 levels by 2050. The order more than doubles the goal of a clean fuels program, marking the most ambitious target in the country, Brown said.

“I’ve heard it loud and clear from our young people in Oregon: Climate action is crucial and urgent,” Brown said, surrounded by students. “If we adults don’t take action right away, it is the next generation that will pay the price.”

Republicans lawmakers, a minority in the Legislature, staged a walkout during this year’s short session to sabotage a bill that aimed for many of the same climate goals. The boycott caused the session to end two days early on Friday, with only three bills passed and more than 100 dying, including the climate measure.

Unlike that measure, Brown’s order does not set up an economy-wide cap-and-trade system in which polluters would be able to buy credits when they exceed emissions limits. That system would have generated money to help pay for projects and initiatives aimed at easing the transition to a low-carbon economy.

“What I don’t have the ability to do as the executive is create a carbon market,” Brown told reporters. However, she said the Legislature could move forward on that in the future.

Senate Republican leader Herman Baertschiger Jr. predicted Brown’s executive action would wind up in court.

“I think all this is going to do is initiate a whole bunch of lawsuits,” he said. Brown’s legal team said it is confident they would prevail in any litigation.

Baertschiger said many rural counties oppose the so-called cap-and-trade concept.

“It’s obvious Kate Brown is not Oregon’s governor, she is Portland’s governor, and as she promised, she is serving revenge, cold and slowly,” he said in a statement.

The head of the Natural Resources Defense Council, an international nonprofit environmental organization that claims more than 3 million members and online activists, said Brown showed courage.

“Oregon’s executive order is the right thing to do and reflects the urgency of the climate crisis,” said Gina McCarthy, president and CEO of the group. “We need courage over cowardice and Oregon is showing that leadership today. It’s time for people to take priority over polluters and their friends in power.”

The order beefs up Oregon’s clean fuels program, which is currently on schedule to achieve a 10% reduction in the carbon intensity of fuels — primarily gasoline and diesel — by 2025, said Kristen Sheeran, director of Brown’s carbon policy office. The governor’s executive order doubles the target to a 20% reduction by 2030, and 25% by 2035, Sheeran said.

Brown’s executive order is a step past what a few other Democratic governors have done.

Last year, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ordered his administration to start working on regulations to join a nine-state consortium of Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states that sets a price and declining limits on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order in 2018 setting goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide by 40% by 2025 compared with 2005 levels; have 80,000 zero-emission vehicles registered in the state by 2025; and lower energy consumption in state-owned buildings by at least 40% compared with 2003 levels. But utilities and businesses aren’t mandated by law to meet this goal.

In Oregon, the state has regulatory authority under existing law, Sheeran said. Brown’s executive order directs the Department of Environmental Quality to create additional rules and take additional actions to meet the goals.

“In the absence of effective federal engagement on these issues, it is the responsibility of individual states to take immediate action,” the order says.

“This action will hold large corporate polluters accountable for the pollution they create,” said Tera Hurst, executive director of Renew Oregon, a group that advocates for clean energy.

Comments

David S. Wall

There's a Pandemic flu making the rounds.

People are dying.

The stock market has tanked.

Supply lines of all kinds are being shut down.

Cities, schools, March Madness, the NBA has suspended the season and other economic activities are also shuttered.

Meanwhile, India and China continue to pump hundreds of tons pollutants into the atmosphere.

With all of the above, and who knows what's next, Governor Brown issues an Executive Order to raise fuel prices to fund the "clean fuels program."

The aforementioned Executive Order could easily be called "Cap and Trade-Lite."

Reformulation of fuels is nothing new. California required reformulated fuels years ago and yes, the price of fuels rose significantly and the price per gallon of gasoline is the highest in the nation.

Is there a published "plan" in place, to account for the monies squeezed from all of us to pay for reformulated fuels to meet Oregon's uncertain "clean fuels program?"

End Post 1

David S. Wall

David S. Wall

Post 2

What is in everyone's benefit is the price of oil per barrel has fallen significantly however, Oregonians do not get to "vote" on the subject matter of the "Executive Order."

Whatever the reason that will be hoisted upon us, this "Executive Order" and "Cap and Trade" in any form, won't make the slightest dent into saving the planet.

"Cap and Trade" is nothing more than a hideous taxing mechanism that will serve to destroy Oregon's Resource Economy (Agriculture, Forests, Timber products and fisheries) and certain sectors of the High Technology and Service Economy.

"Is Governor Brown irresponsible issuing this Executive order?"

Check out [SJR 201]:

https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2020R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SJR201/Introduced

and:

https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2020R1/Downloads/CommitteeMeetingDocument/220083

Nothing like the majority taking steps to always be in the "majority."

Stay healthy everyone.

David S. Wall

Finch

Next worse governor to Newson. This woman is insane.

Finch

I'm very familiar with California's expensive blends of gas and what it costs.

We live in the nursery state with hundreds of nurseries and clean air all around us. The problems are not here yet she'll tax us. Her last days in office cannot come soon enough. The scary thought is who comes after her with the same leftist thoughts.

Finch

I'm very familiar with California's expensive blends of gas and what it costs.

We live in the nursery state with hundreds of nurseries and clean air all around us. The problems are not here yet she'll tax us. Her last days in office cannot come soon enough. The scary thought is who comes after her with the same leftist thoughts.

Don Dix

From the article -- “I’ve heard it loud and clear from our young people in Oregon: Climate action is crucial and urgent,” Brown said, surrounded by students.

So students, most of whom have recklessly been taught to believe humans cause global warming, are advising a sitting governor to create a tax on carbon emissions. And those who will deal with and pay that tax have no voice on the subject.

I have always suspected Brown was nothing more than a puppet, but never did I envision that 'teenage knowledge' would prevail over experienced, hard-working Oregonians. Welcome to the fascist state of Oregon, where Portland pukes, and the rest of the state lives with the stench!

Finch

Don - One of your best posts ever! Whatever excuse she can use to extort money out of those who earn it for her pet causes. Indoctrinate, brainwash and then cave to the manyfactured fears. She's a disgrace.

RobsNewsRegister

I don't even want to know what might happen to my electric bill.