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Oregon Approves a More Aggressive Climate Protection Plan

The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission has given its blessing to the state’s new Climate Protection Plan, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas and gasoline transportation by 90% by 2050.After the decision, Commission Chair Kathleen George stated, “Getting this program to this point has been a significant lift.”

Last year, Governor Kate Brown directed the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to establish a new set of administrative regulations that would cap and gradually reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels.The scheme, which is set to begin in 2022, will provide gasoline suppliers with a decreasing amount of pollution credits and allow them to buy and sell those credits as the quota is reduced. It also establishes a Community Climate Investment Fund, which will allow businesses to pay for emission reductions in climate-vulnerable communities.

Initially, the initiative would oversee 16 fuel providers and three natural gas utilities. Thirteen industrial establishments will also be controlled under a new system that will design personalized programs to cut emissions using the most advanced technologies. Companies that fail to reach their carbon reduction objectives may be penalized financially.Companies have objected to the increased objectives, claiming that higher gasoline, diesel, and natural gas costs will ensue, causing ripple effects across the economy.

Industry organizations conducted their own research of the program and discovered that it will cost customers more than the DEQ estimates based on its economic analysis.Whether gasoline costs in Oregon rise by more than 20% over those in other states, Oregon DEQ staff will examine the program to see if it needs to be adjusted, according to Nicole Singh, DEQ climate policy adviser.

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