Climate Win! Oregon Lawmakers Take Powerful Action Passing the ‘Climate Resilience Package’
Oregon’s 2023 Legislative Session ended with a momentous victory in the fight against climate change with the passage of the bipartisan Climate Resilience Package (HB 3409 & HB 3630). With over $90 million in funding and strategic leveraging of federal investments, this victory represents significant progress in our relentless pursuit of a climate-resilient future for Oregon.
Supported by a broad statewide coalition, the Climate Resilience Package is a comprehensive and forward-thinking initiative made up of more than a dozen priority bills aimed at tackling the urgent climate crisis. We celebrate this remarkable achievement and commend the champions in the Oregon House and Senate for their work to get this vital climate package across the finish line. Their dedication and unwavering commitment to climate progress have advanced Oregon toward a more resilient and equitable future.
The specific pieces of each bill are listed at the bottom of this page, but in short, these policies will provide essential public services to:
✔ Strengthen the health and resilience of Oregon’s communities, lands, and local economies, and create and sustain local, family-wage jobs in construction, energy, and agriculture.
✔ Drive down the cost of living through increased energy efficiency and lower energy bills through increased affordable access to renewable energy like solar, storage, and microgrids, as well as life-saving cooling technologies like heat pumps to protect Oregonians from extreme heat.
✔ Support Oregon’s natural resource economies through healthier crops, improved water quality, increased drought and wildfire resistance, and provide rural communities with resources for emergency preparedness and resilience hubs.
Oregonians’ Voices Were Heard: Climate Can’t Wait
The Senate vote came just days after the release of the Oregon Health Authority’s 2021-2022 Climate and Health in Oregon Report. The report serves as yet another stark reminder of the need for urgent action, concluding that extreme weather events and climate-related disasters such as heatwaves and drought, and chronic climate stressors such as water and food insecurity, pose an existential threat to the health of all Oregonians. And specifically, the OHA report details the disproportionate harms to the health and safety of children, the elderly, people of color, and lower-income Oregonians, as well as outdoor workers on the frontlines of climate hazards.
“The Oregon Health Authority’s report confirms what frontline communities know too well: we need fast action on climate to save lives and prevent more suffering. One important solution is community resilience hubs, which will make communities stronger before, during, and after disasters like the smoke and wildfires that regularly affect me and my family members in the Eugene area,” said Joel Iboa, executive director for the Oregon Just Transition Alliance. “The Climate Resilience Package will provide essential resources and support so that frontline communities can withstand and recover from climate disasters.”
Harnessing Unprecedented Federal Funding
The policies and programs included in the Climate Resilience Package were strategically crafted to leverage unprecedented federal funding for climate and clean energy, ensuring that Oregon maximizes its impact in the global fight against climate change. By investing approximately $100 million in critical climate action and community resilience, the Climate Resilience Package will enable the state to leverage at least 10 times that amount in federal funding. The benefits are far-reaching, touching every aspect of our lives and environment.
Affordable, Efficient Buildings
Buildings are the second largest source of climate pollution in Oregon and our first line of defense against climate harms. The Climate Resilience Package will provide tools for Oregon to rapidly reduce the use of fossil fuels in buildings, both new and existing, to meet urgent climate targets while ensuring that buildings are affordable and healthy for all Oregonians.
Natural Climate Solutions
Oregon’s farms, forests, urban parks, wetlands, and other natural lands shape our state’s landscape and economy and are an essential source of life-sustaining resources. Natural climate solutions protect or enhance the ability of natural and working lands to sequester carbon while helping to improve climate resilience, water quality and quantity, and biodiversity. “Oregon farmers and ranchers have been leaders in adopting conservation practices. The Climate Resilience Package will ensure that we can continue to fund research and support on-the-ground practices that build resilience to climate extremes,” says Tom Rietmann of Rietmann Ranch in Condon, Oregon.
These bills, combined with the federal investments they leverage, will bolster the health and resilience of Oregon’s communities, lands, and local economies. Programs tailored to low-income households will reduce energy waste and make renewables more accessible – decreasing energy bills. New funding will help safeguard Oregon’s natural resources while empowering rural communities with emergency preparedness and resilience. This Climate Resilience Package furthers and solidifies Oregon’s commitment to environmental justice and equity. By centering the needs of historically marginalized and frontline communities, we ensure that the benefits of climate action reach everyone, especially those disproportionately affected by the climate crisis.
Here’s a closer look at the bill-by-bill breakdown to understand the scope of this transformative legislation:
Climate Resilience Package HB 3409:
- Resilient, Efficient Buildings Policy Package (originally SB 868, 869, 870, 871) – Leverages federal funding to improve the efficiency of homes and buildings; supports healthy, affordable, resilient communities and family-wage job creation across Oregon.
- Community Resilience Hubs (originally HB 2990) – Funds community resilience hubs and networks across the state to coordinate and provide access to resources and services for vulnerable populations during disasters.
- Natural Climate Solutions (originally SB 530) – Supports cost-sharing to leverage tens of millions in federal investments for Oregon forestland owners, farmers, and ranchers to implement climate-smart land management practices, increasing carbon sequestration and improving the resilience of Oregon communities and natural resource economies.
- Oregon Climate Council Modernization (originally SB 522) – Provides long-overdue staffing and youth and environmental justice representation on the Oregon Global Warming Commission.
- Medium and Heavy Duty Electric Vehicle Rebate Program (originally HB 2714) – Creates a Department of Environmental Quality program that can compete for $1 billion in federal Inflation Reduction Act funding for medium- and heavy-duty zero-emission vehicle rebates.
- Trees Restoring Economic and Environmental Stability Act (originally HB 3016) – Creates a Community Green Infrastructure Grant Program at the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development to fund communities to develop projects that increase tree canopy, improve livability, and support water quality and conservation.
- Siting Renewable Energy (originally HB 3181) – Directs the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development in coordination with the Oregon Department of Energy to find opportunities and minimize conflicts on siting of solar projects in Oregon through engaging stakeholders in a rulemaking advisory committee process.
- Climate Protection Program Fee Bill (originally HB 3196) – Supports Department of Environmental Quality oversight and accountability of Oregon’s cornerstone Climate Protection Program to ensure the Community Climate Investment program achieves its intended climate pollution reduction goals and benefits for communities of color, rural, low-income, Tribal, and other communities across the state.
- Harmful Algal Blooms (originally HB 2647) – Protects Oregonians from harmful algal blooms in drinking water, which are likely to occur more often due to shifting precipitation patterns from climate change.
- Woody Biomass for Low-Carbon Fuels (originally HB 3590) – Directs the College of Forestry at Oregon State University to research the development of fuel pathways for low-carbon fuels derived from woody biomass residues from forestry operations.
Energy Package HB 3630:
- State Energy Strategy (originally HB 2534) – Directs the Oregon Department of Energy to develop a comprehensive state energy strategy that identifies optimized pathways to achieving the state’s energy policies.
- County Energy Resilience Planning (originally HB 3378) – Supports counties’ development of energy resilience planning and integration into wildfire mitigation plans.
- Resilient, Efficient Buildings – Oregon Department of Energy One-Stop-Shop (originally HB 3166) – Leverages federal funding to improve the efficiency of homes and buildings; supports healthy, affordable, resilient communities and family-wage job creation across Oregon.
- Environmental Justice and Tribal Navigator (originally SB 852) – Establishes a program within the Oregon Department of Energy to provide information about state and federal funding opportunities and other technical assistance to rural, Tribal, and other environmental justice communities as they work to develop energy projects or build energy-related capacity.
- Solar + Storage Rebate Program Extension (originally HB 3418) – Extends sunset on solar and storage project rebates for residential customers and low-income service providers, extending the program through January 2029, enabling the program to potentially receive and distribute tens of millions in federal funding from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. These rebates facilitate low- and moderate-income Oregonians to save on electric bills and retain power during outages.
- Residential Heat Pump Program Extension (originally HB 3056) – Supports implementation of Oregon Department of Energy’s Residential and Community Heat Pump Deployment Programs established by the 2021 legislature to bring much-needed heat relief to Oregon communities.
- Community Renewable Energy Grant Program – Provides funding for Oregon Department of Energy’s Community Renewable Energy Grant Program, established by the legislature in 2021, to support planning and developing community renewable energy and energy resilience projects.
Today, let’s celebrate this remarkable milestone in our collective journey toward a safer and more resilient future for this place we call home.
OEC’s climate work is made possible by individual supporters across the state.