OR, WA & CA Govs sign Climate-Energy plan

By Associated Oregon Industries

The Governors of California, Oregon and Washington, along with the Premier of British Columbia, signed a Proclamation entitled “Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy.”

The Proclamation consists of a preamble and a long set of agreements. For the most part these are statements supporting the continuation or expansion of polices already in place or, in a few cases, including Oregon’s, pledging that the state will adopt new restrictions or possibly new taxes.

Currently, Oregon is exhibiting a steady decrease in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The great majority of Oregon GHG emissions arises from cars/trucks and power generation. Increased vehicle fuel efficiency, increased use of natural gas, and incentives for energy conservation have put the state’s GHG emissions on a continuing downward curve.

Oregon, according to the Proclamation, will adopt a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (a Cap & Trade-like system on gasoline and diesel) and “build on existing programs to set a price on carbon emissions.”

The term “set a price” is usually code for a new Carbon Tax or Cap & Trade, both of which would drive up energy and manufacturing costs in Oregon and damage middle income job retention. Washington State and B.C. get a greater percentage of their energy from hydroelectric facilities (no carbon emissions) and would, in theory, be less affected than Oregon.

Section V of the Proclamation states “This Action Plan shall have no legal effect; impose no legally binding obligation enforceable in any court of law or other tribunal of any sort, nor create any funding expectation; nor shall our jurisdictions be responsible for the actions of third parties or associates.” Still it sets out a panoply of policies, extant, expected, or simply wished for, and Oregon can expect to see Low Carbon Fuels, a Carbon Tax, and perhaps even Cap & Trade, arise once again in the Legislature. At that point the questions will not be simply which, if any, pass the Legislature, but which could be put in place by agency rule or executive order sans legislative action.

AOI opposed state-level Carbon Taxes and state-level Cap & Trade as it places Oregon at a disadvantage with the rest of the country and internationally, and would be damaging to middle income jobs.

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