What’s the latest? A cap-and-invest update

Oregon’s best chance at climate action (Senate Bill 1530) cleared the the Joint Committee on Ways and Means last week at the Capitol. The cap-and-invest climate action is queued up for a vote in the Senate, and Senate President Peter Courtney announced this week his caucus has the votes needed to pass the bill. 
Oregon Environmental Council has worked diligently with an incredible coalition to get to this point: This session alone, 500 public health officials delivered a petition, 250 farm and rural stakeholders signed a letter, major business leaders including Nike called for climate action, and over a 1000 people rallied at the Capitol last week.
Sadly, most Senate Republicans have walked out and reportedly left the state before the bill could get to the floor for a vote. OEC has joined with our partners to form a diverse coalition of organizations against this walkout. We are standing together and raising our voices to tell lawmakers enough is enough!

It’s been a jam-packed February. On the 11th, more than 1000 Oregonians, from 27 counties, came to the capital to demand strong climate action.

So what’s new with carbon pricing?

Senate Bill 1530, like previous iterations in recent years, the bill still caps and prices climate pollution, requiring at least a 45% decrease by 2035 and at least 80% by 2050. The bill also covers all major sources of fossil fuel use and directs resources to benefit communities most impacted by climate change, including communities of color, low-income, coastal and rural.

It maintains strong standards for family-wage jobs for construction and transportation projects. However, there are some significant changes. Amendments adopted last week include:

  • A geographic phase-in of transportation fuels, starting with the Portland metro region, expanding to most western counties by 2025, then coastal and central areas in 2028. Counties in eastern Oregon are only included if 23 counties opt-in.
  • The bill splits resources differently this year as well. The Climate Investment Fund includes the following:
    • 10% for Oregon Tribes (still first in the nation to make this commitment!)
    • 25% for wildfire mitigation
    • 25% for carbon sequestration and resiliency projects on natural and working lands (including, but not limited to wetlands, forests, farms, and urban greenways)
    • 20% for statewide programs, with a priority on projects that reduce climate pollution
    • 20% for local governments, with a priority on projects that reduce climate pollution
  • It remains to be seen if the Constitutional restriction will apply to the transportation sector. For now, the bill restricts the use of funding to areas covered by the program (see geographic phase-in above), funds Metro’s important investments in cutting transportation pollution, and allocates a portion to other local governments and a lesser amount to the State Department of Transportation.

 

 

 

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