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Low Carbon Fuel Standards Bill Heard in Oregon Senate

On Monday, March 18 the Oregon Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held hearings on Senate Bill 488.  The bill would remove a sunset provision that would end the state’s experiment with the Oregon Clean Fuels Program, which would impose the most stringent fuel standards in the country.

Under current law, the program would sunset in 2015. If passed, SB 488 would allow what has emerged as an unworkable program to be implemented.  As an active member of a broad business coalition called “Oregonians for Sound Fuel Policy,” many AGC members attended the hearing and made their presence felt against the passing of the bill. As expected given the sensitivity of the issue, testimony went on for hours with environmental groups voicing their support of the bill and business and industry experts expressing their concerns. Because of extensive public interest in the bill, the Committee decided to hold an extended hearing on Wednesday, March 20th.

In 2009, the Oregon Legislature passed legislation authorizing the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to develop a Low Carbon Fuel Standard regulating Oregon’s entire fuel supply.  It is modeled on a similar program in California- a program that was recently ruled unconstitutional in a United States District Court.  The purpose of this law is to reduce the average amount of life cycle greenhouse gas emissions per unit of fuel energy by a minimum of ten percent below the 2010 levels over a ten year period.  This law included a provision to “sunset” the LCFS if DEQ was unable to develop a workable program.  Senate Bill 488 would lift the 2015 sunset and allow this unworkable program to be implemented.  Fuel industry experts are predicting increased gasoline and diesel costs and a loss of Oregon jobs if the LCFS is implemented.

For more information on the impact of this regulation and the effect on Oregon’s economy, please contact AGC Government Affairs Director, John Rakowitz: 503-317-1781; or Executive Director, Mike Salsgiver:

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