Many of you probably know that, in a huge win for Washington’s economy and air quality, the 2005 Washington Legislature voted to adopt stronger emission standards for new vehicles–"clean-car standards." The bill includes a landmark provision calling for a 30-percent reduction in global warming pollution.
The catch is that Oregon has to adopt them as well, which is generating lots of discussion in the state right now. Oregon’s Environmental Quality Commission has the authority to adopt the standards administratively, and Governor Kulongoski has said he intends to use that authority.
Some members of the Oregon House have moved to block the effort (see this editorial on the subject); they even passed a non-binding resolution discouraging state agencies from taking any action to reduce global warming pollution – a flat-earth society gesture that was previously seen only in fossil fuel stronghold states like Wyoming and West Virginia. But the groundswell for reducing global warming pollution and fossil fuel dependence in Oregon is strong. The state is the last missing piece in constructing a contiguous clean-car market – up the west coast, across Canada, and throughout the Northeast – that would comprise 40 percent of the North American vehicle market. Can you say “tipping point”?