Oregon governor acts on cap-and-trade emissions plan
April 8, 2020
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has made good on her commitment to take executive action to implement new rules on greenhouse gas emissions.
Legislative pursuit thwarted
Republicans at the statehouse opposed cap-and-trade legislation introduced during the 2020 regular session. In an effort to kill the bill, GOP lawmakers left the capitol for multiple days near the end of the session to deny Democrats the two-thirds majority needed for a quorum to approve the bill.
The action was successful in bleeding the clock to prevent passage of the controversial bill. The regular session ended about one week later without resolution on the issue.
The legislation causing consternation between Republicans and Democrats at the statehouse sought to cap greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, Oregon companies that emit more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon annually would be regulated.
SB1530 called for Oregon companies that exceed the cap to be regulated. Additionally, a market would be created for companies to buy and sell allowances that permit them to emit a specific amount of carbon dioxide.
Governor takes action on greenhouse gas emissions
Following the end of the regular session, the Democratic governor committed to moving forward with the climate change effort on her own.
Executive Order No. 20-04 directs state agencies to put new measures into effect to lower the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The executive order is described by the governor as “extensive and thorough, taking the boldest actions available to lower greenhouse gas emissions under current state laws.”
The core mandate is to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 45% below 1990 levels by 2035, and to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.
The order applies to 16 state agencies, including the Oregon Department of Transportation.
Specific to transportation, the order calls for reducing climate pollution from cars and trucks by 20% by 2030, and 25% by 2050. Additionally, a strategic plan will be created to increase usage of electric vehicles. “Emissions-conscious” transportation spending also will be applied.
Opponents say they will challenge the governor’s order in court.