Oregon lawmakers today are hanging it up for 2009. How’d they do? Folks are celebrating bills to cut the carbon content of fuel in cars and trucks by 10 percent by 2020; requirements to increase energy efficiency in buildings; and prohibiting construction of new coal plants.
A few tears were shed for the failure to pass legislation putting the state on track for meeting greenhouse gas reductions. (For a fuller accounting of the session check out these round ups from the Oregon Conservation Network or the Healthy Climate Partnership, and check out this story in the Oregonian explaining nicely why things went the way it did for conservation-related bills.)
Here’s a little more info on three bills making the cut:
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House Bill 2186: The low carbon fuel standard
Called Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s “biggest green victory this session” by the Oregonian, this bill “is designed to reduce the state’s dependence on foreign oil, cut greenhouse gas emissions and encourage development of alternatives to petroleum-based fuels, including electric cars and locally grown biofuels.” It requires an analysis of the greenhouse-gas emissions created by fuel sources from their creation to combustion; then a reduction of those emissions. Bottom line: the legislation does not bode well for biofuels from corn and other foodstuffs that wind up being pretty greenhouse-gas intensive.
Senate Bill 101: Limits on coal plants and other polluting power sources
This legislation creates an Emissions Performance Standard for new power plants limiting them to greenhouse gas emissions no greater than a combined cycle natural gas plant. That means Oregon utilities won’t be able to build new coal-fired power plants or extend the lives of old plants. The utilities are also prevented from signing long-term leases with coal plants.
Senate Bill 79: Energy efficiency improvements in buildings
This bill requires the creation of building codes to boost energy efficiency of new, repaired, and altered buildings. The code will require an increase in efficiency of non-residential buildings between 15 to 25 percent and residential buildings between 10 and 15 percent by 2012.
Green Oregon photo courtesy of Flickr user Meng Bominunder the license.