Some news bits from the Oregon legislative session, which just ended:

As the Oregonianreports, the auto industry has been trying to head off an Oregon effort to adopt "clean-car" emissions standards by including language in the budget that would effectively prohibit DEQ from implementing the standards. (Clean-car standards, which Washington state just adopted, would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by some 30 percent and help drive the industry toward cleaner, more efficient design.) Governor Kulongoski has promised to counteract the move by using his veto power.

Meanwhile, the industry succeeded in effectively defeating a biofuels bill, which would have provided incentives for in-state production and use of renewable fuels such as ethanol  and biodiesel.

Automakers aren’t exactly winning points for innovative thinking. From the Oregonian editorial:

The House Republicans who let this happen ought to have to spend the next election explaining why they would trade off Oregon jobs, Oregon agriculture and Oregon innovation all in a futile effort to extend a pollution tax credit and enable the auto industry to keep churning out cars that are less fuel efficient than those they made 20 years ago….

The auto industry has fought every advance—seat belts, catalytic converters, air bags—with this same argument about unacceptable costs. Every time its claims have been shown to be wildly inflated and wrong.

And in good news (mostly), the state did win a partial ban on toxic flame retardants known as PBDEs. Our study of PBDEs in Northwest women showed that the chemicals were found in relatively high levels in Oregonians; and a recent study of PBDEs in house dust found that Oregon samples had the highest levels of PBDEs.