One Victory for Clean Fuels and Working for Many More!

  • OEC team at Capitol Building
On the very first day of legislative session, the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources held a public hearing on SB324, which if passed, will reauthorize the Clean Fuels Program and cut carbon pollution across our state.

OEC was there, along with proponents from the business community, health sector, consumer and environmental groups. Together, we filled the room to give testimony in support of this important program. “I don’t ever remember this many people showing up to a hearing,” noted Senator Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River), as we sat patiently to express their views.

The energy in the room was palatable. While we remained respectfully quiet during proceedings, the social media conversation was buzzing. Those of us who spent years working on the Clean Fuels Program were excited to showcase public support for something we know will deliver tangible results for Oregon – helping us create a better climate, create good-paying clean economy jobs, and improve air quality in Oregon. By gradually transitioning to cleaner fuels like electricity, sustainable biofuels, natural gas and propane, we the Clean Fuels Program promises to:

  • Save Oregonians as much as $1.6 billion in fuel costs
  • Create between 800 and 29,000 jobs
  • Grow personal income by as much as $2.6 billion
  • Generate as much as $2.1 billion in Gross State Product

The hearing was so well attended in fact, that it was extended to a second day. It was only then – after hours of public comment – that OEC’s Jana Gastellum, Climate Protection Program Director, got to leave a final, impactful impression on the committee:

“Six years have passed since the program was authorized, and in that time, greenhouse gases have continued to accumulate. Inaction has costs and consequences: Oregon has experienced record wildfire seasons in the last five years, ocean acidification is already impacting our oyster industry, and this year and last paltry snow pack has caused our ski areas to open late costing Oregon’s tourism economy. 2014 was also the hottest year on record globally. Oregon is not making progress fast enough to reach our climate goals, and the Clean Fuels Program is a critical piece of the solution. The program will reduce over 7 million metric tons of climate pollution cumulatively in ten years. That’s equivalent to about 37,500 rail cars worth of coal burned. When it comes to reducing climate pollution, every jurisdiction has an obligation to act and the oil industry needs to do its fair share here in Oregon.”

To read Jana’s complete testimony on behalf of OEC, click here.

We’re proud to say that SB324 was voted out of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee. It will now head to the Senate floor for a vote on Tuesday. With your support, OEC was a driving force behind the 2009 passage of the Clean Fuels Program, and is continuing to collaborate with groups from across the state to support lifting the sunset so this important program can continue. You can count on us; we’ll keep fighting until the job is done.

Feature photo: Jana Gastellum and team in Salem for the Clean Fuels hearing

 

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