The Clean Fuels Program: David vs. Goliath
Sometimes David really does triumph over Goliath.
Today, the Oregon Clean Fuels Program cleared its final legislative hurdle, clearing the way for meaningful carbon pollution reductions from transportation fuels. The Clean Fuels Program will guarantee 7 million metric tons of carbon pollution stay out of our air, equivalent to 37,500 rail cars of coal. Fully implementing this program is a critical step towards meeting Oregon’s climate goals.
The Oregon Environmental Council, many partner organizations, individual citizens, and statewide legislative champions triumphed over a $2 million campaign paid for by the oil industry. Here’s what we’ve been up against:
- The Western States Petroleum Association spent $357,340 on lobbying in Oregon – in 2014 alone.
- They established a front group, “Oregonians for Sound Fuel Policy” that paid Hubbell Communications $152,927 last year.
- WSPA paid Miller Nash lobbying fees up to $190,413 last year alone.
Those are daunting numbers. But the Clean Fuels Program is well-designed public policy that speaks for itself. It not only takes care of our environment, but also improves our air quality and creates innovative business opportunities in Oregon and our region. Because of these merits, our campaign in support of the Clean Fuels Program marshaled support from nearly 150 businesses, labor groups, consumer advocates, health professionals, and eastern Oregon supporters.
Now that Clean Fuel companies have the certainty we promised them, they’re poised to grow in Oregon– adding thousands of jobs and up to $2.6 billion in wages over 10 years. There are businesses in Oregon already making clean fuels, and with the certainty this bill gives them, they will invest, expand and create more jobs. Oregon will be a robust market for clean fuels. New local companies will start up; others will look to expand here.
Individuals showed up for standing-room only, packed public hearings. When hearings ran long, they were willing to return to Salem yet again for the chance to share their words of support. They submitted written testimony, wrote letters to the editor, participated in editorial board visits, talked to neighbors, and reached out to legislators. They spoke with courage and conviction, thwarting big oil’s attempts to create confusion around the bill.
The passage of SB 324 is a community win for the climate and for Oregon’s environmental movement.
We’ve proven that, together, we can beat the odds.
We’ll keep fighting for climate and environmental progress. We’ll defend our wins. And we’ll safeguard our Oregon.
But today is a day to celebrate. David triumphed over Goliath.