Jun 25, 2015

Oregon leaders stood up to pressure from big oil, announcing today that a hastily designed transportation package, that would have repealed our new clean air law, will not move forward. Your letters, calls, messages and tweets made a huge difference by letting them know you stand behind the Clean Fuels Program!

Oregonians don’t have to choose between good roads and clean air. We deserve both. It was political shenanigans that pitted these two objectives against one another in the state capitol, presenting legislators and Oregonians with a false choice.

A range of groups representing health, business, schools and the environment raised strong objections to the “replacement” package, which double counted emissions reductions and took funding from other renewable energy and energy efficiency programs. These concerns were confirmed when a representative from ODOT revised down the carbon savings of the proposed plan by over 15% on Wednesday. Legislators rejected the package and decided much needed transportation funding should be considered on its own merits.

The Clean Fuels Program will reduce climate pollution from transportation fuels by 10% over ten years starting in 2015, while providing a new market for investments in clean energy technologies. Tailpipe emissions are the main source of carbon pollution in Oregon and also harm air quality–contributing to health problems such as asthma, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Crafted behind closed doors, the proposed "replacement" took language, sometimes verbatim, from two oil industry funded ballot measures and would have set up over a dozen barriers for clean fuels producers eager to enter into Oregon’s transportation fuels market and provide consumers with more options.

Legislators also heard from numerous groups anxious to see a strong transportation package, however both the Portland Business Alliance and the Oregon Business Association made it clear that their support was not predicated on a repeal of clean fuels. Oregon businesses testified they stand ready to meet the demand for cleaner fuels and want lawmakers to make good on promises made when legislators and the governor passed Clean Fuels in both 2009 and 2015.

Governor Kate Brown vowed to keep working for a great transportation package that we can all agree on, but made it clear that Clean Fuels and transportation are separate issues that "should be decoupled and considered separately, thus avoiding the ‘my way, or no highway’ situation in which we now find ourselves."