Mar 18, 2022

It's mid-March and Oregon’s legislature is mostly done for the year. 2022 is an even numbered year, so our lawmakers only meet for a maximum of 35 days, which makes it exceedingly difficult to tackle the crises piling up for Oregonians. 

Our Representatives and Senators achieved what they could in the short time, moving legislation to address homelessness, support working families and small businesses, drive down the cost of living, invest in community safety and violence prevention, and support stronger schools. 

So what about climate protection, clean energy, and environmental justice?

At Renew Oregon, we threw our weight behind a number of bills, helping mobilize folks and spread the word about legislation and investments to speed the transition to an equitable, clean energy economy and to protect Oregonians from the harms of climate change.

Are you happy with what legislators achieved in 2022?
Send a message now to let them know you’re a climate voter!

 

PASSED: 

🏘️ Resilient, Efficient Buildings Task Force (SB 1518)
While the legislature didn’t pass any major policies to reduce climate pollution, they set themselves up for a big year in 2023. This bill creates the “REBuilding Task Force,” whose mission is to put forward ambitious proposals for next year’s legislature to reduce climate pollution from homes and buildings and support more resilient, efficient, healthy, and affordable living environments for people across Oregon.

💰 Climate Resilience Budget
Legislators invested in several significant areas to accelerate clean energy adoption and keep Oregonians safer from climate change. Taken together, this package is the biggest climate action of the session. 

  • $15m for installing public charging stations for electric trucks, buses, and vans
  • $15m to assist Oregonians with cash back rebates on purchasing new and used electric cars
  • $25m for low-income assistance installing efficient, electric equipment for heating & cooling (primarily heat pumps) 
  • $5m for incentives toward solar power and battery storage
  • $5m for energy efficiency improvements and repairs at home for low-income Oregonians (“Healthy Homes” program)
  • $25m for water management to address drought resilience

👩🏽‍🌾 Farmworker Overtime (HB 4002)
Outdoor workers are among those most severely harmed by climate change, with increasing exposure to heat and wildfire smoke. Farmworkers have, for decades, been excluded from laws requiring overtime for racist reasons, which means less money to afford protections like quality housing and healthcare. PCUN led this effort!

🥵 Emergency Heat Relief for Oregonians (SB 1536)
The deadly and excruciating summer heat waves in 2021 brought a sharp focus to a growing problem. Oregon is not ready for the climate crisis. The majority of those killed by the extreme heat did not have access to cooling equipment. This legislation will invest millions of dollars to provide cooling like electric heat pumps and air conditioning, air filters, and cooling centers for low-income Oregonians and renters. Verde and the Community Alliance of Tenants led a broad coalition of stakeholders focused on public health, housing, and environmental justice to make this a success.

🤝🏼 Environmental Justice for All (HB 4077)
Convert Oregon’s Environmental Justice Task Force into a formal Council with dedicated staff and funding. Provides a new mapping tool to identify patterns of pollution and climate burdens on environmental justice communities throughout the state. This will help the Governor's office and state agencies deliver solutions that address environmental racism. Led by Unite Oregon and the Oregon Just Transition Alliance!

⚕️ Racism is a Public Health Crisis (HB 4052)
Racism causes harm, trauma, illness, and death to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Oregonians. These conditions make BIPOC communities more vulnerable to climate harms like water shortage, extreme heat, and wildfire and smoke. This legislation is a step to begin to end these disparities in health with investments in community health programs and engagement with community members to increase access to care. Led by the Oregon Health Equity Task Force convened by Oregon Public Health Association. 

Unfinished Business:

🌲 Natural & Working Lands (SB 1534)
Would have established state policy to increase the ability of Oregon’s forests, grasslands, farmlands, and wetlands to absorb and sequester greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Relevant state agencies would develop metrics and monitor progress toward achieving sequestration goals. Passed the House, but not the Senate.

🧐 Treasury Transparency (HB 4115) 
Would have required the Oregon State Treasure to make public information on its investment holdings, including any in fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas. Passed the House, but not the Senate.

🚛 Better Fuels Oregon (HB 4141)
Would set a timeline to phase out sales of fossil diesel fuel in Oregon, with the intention of fueling remaining, non-electric trucks with renewable diesel, a cleaner-burning fuel made from waste products.

👷 Protections for Climate Impacted Workers (HCR 203)
This resolution would have defined “climate-impacted worker” and specific climate-induced conditions (like wildfire smoke, heat and other dangerous conditions) in which work should stop to protect the health and safety of workers. Would have created a path to protect worker pay in conditions when it’s not safe to work.

*****

In order to make up for decades of delay and fossil fuel industry obstruction, we know our elected leaders must go bigger and bolder with climate action every year from now on. After reading this list, what do you think of the job Oregon’s legislature did this year?

Send a message to your Representative & Senator now (click here).