Oregon regulators appear poised to undercut or abandon key promises on how the state’s landmark Climate Protection Program operates, allowing fossil fuel companies to gain “green” credits for investments in natural gas and other greenhouse-gas-spewing plants out of state.
Sierra Club and key partners are mobilizing to stop this backsliding from being embedded in the state’s 2023 Climate Rulemaking process, by directly communicating with regulators and asking concerned Oregonians to do the same.
At stake is how Oregon’s greenhouse gas “cap and trade” system operates, potentially creating massive new loopholes for fossil fuel companies to take advantage of, and effectively undermining the basic goals of the CPP, one of the state’s strongest climate policies.
Big energy companies, such as Portland-based Northwest Natural Gas, are pressuring the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to alter rules that currently allow them to receive “offsets” for the pollution they create by investing in renewable energy in Oregon. The current approach spurs much-needed investment in local Oregon communities, creating jobs in the green economy, often in rural or frontline communities.
Polluters instead want to win offsets for so-called “renewable” natural gas and dirty hydrogen projects sited outside of Oregon, a move that would violate commitments made when the program was created, and with other stakeholders in the CPP process.
And, of course, result in more investments in unsustainable fossil fuels.
Dylan Plummer, a Sierra Club senior field organizer, calls it a classic industry attempt “to delay action” and distract the public’s attention from urgently needed strategies to transition to renewable energy alternatives.
Sierra Club and other environmental groups are asking Oregonians to push DEQ to stay focused on its stated climate goals, as well as providing for public health, economic and employment benefits and environmental justice in Oregon communities.
Tell regulators at DEQ that you care about sustainable energy in Oregon by commenting by Oct. 13, when the public comment period ends.
Let them know that loopholes for out-of-state natural gas and dirty hydrogen are not what Oregonians expect from their state government.