OCAP reaches 1st major milestone; agencies file plans for climate action

Team OEC stands outside the Oregon Capitol Building moments after Gov. Kate Brown signed an executive order on climate change.

Ten state agencies submitted preliminary reports to Gov. Kate Brown last week, outlining their initial proposals and timelines for implementing the Oregon Climate Action Plan (EO 20-04). Backed by a broad coalition representing Oregon’s environmental, youth, faith, public health, labor, business and culturally-specific communities, the governor’s March 2020 executive order directs 16 state agencies and commissions to take action to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change impacts.

While the documents varied in detail and substance, the majority of the reporting agencies submitted comprehensive proposals outlining next steps to support the state achieving its updated climate goals: reducing greenhouse gas emissions at least 45% below 1990 levels by 2035, and at least by 80% by 2050.

The agency reports outline important processes moving forward: the majority plan to seek public input and conduct extensive stakeholder engagement as they develop their climate action plans. That will mean opportunities for engagement as soon as this summer. It will be important that these conversations be science-based and inclusive of frontline communities hit first and worst by climate impacts. As always, OEC will be delving into all of the details and will alert you to opportunities to submit comments.

OEC was particularly thrilled to see across agencies’ reports, a commitment to prioritizing and including vulnerable and impacted communities in public processes and decision-making. That means providing a structure for public engagement that is transparent and enables input from Native American tribes, communities of color, rural communities, coastal communities, lower-income households, and other communities traditionally underrepresented in public processes.

OEC and our partners specifically urged the agencies to provide an inclusive process and prioritize remedying impacts to vulnerable communities because we know that it will help to ensure the most climate-protective and equitable outcomes for Oregon’s families and future.

Here are some fast facts on the preliminary reports:

  • 11: number of formal rulemaking or other public engagement processes identified in the initial reports;
  • 11: number of public meetings agencies have held or scheduled so far as part of their rollout plans;
  • 10: number of agencies that specifically call out equity and commitment to prioritizing input from and/or benefiting impacted communities in their reports.

The agencies’ commitment to engaging and enabling input from Oregonians from all corners– prioritizing our neighbors most vulnerable to climate change impacts–is critical. Inclusive and transparent processes will help to ensure that agencies adopt equitable, lasting policy solutions to achieve our state’s climate goals.

While OEC and our partners will continue to engage at every stage of the rulemaking, these processes also provide important opportunities for climate supporters, like you, to applaud our state leaders when they move in the right direction, and push them when a different approach is needed. Robust public engagement by Oregonians can help to secure the strongest possible outcomes for our climate, our communities and our economy.

Here are a few key upcoming dates for your climate action calendar:

  • June 15th, 2020: Deadline to provide public comments on various agencies’ preliminary reports for advancing their respective climate action plans, including the Public Utility Commission, Department of Environmental Quality, Oregon Department of Transportation and others.
  • July 1, 2020: Publication of Oregon Department of Energy’s draft rules for energy efficiency standards for appliances.
  • July 2020: Beginning of Department of Environmental Quality rulemaking to accelerate transportation electrification across the state through the Clean Fuels Program.

Look to OEC as the agencies continue moving forward with their climate action plans. My colleagues and I will be providing regular updates to our members and advocate on how to make your voices heard during the rulemaking process.

Click here if you’re interested in receiving updates on the Oregon Climate Action Plan and related opportunities to advocate for climate action in Oregon!

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