Oregon governor inks low-carbon fuel standard

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 3/30/2015

A new law in Oregon makes permanent the state’s low-carbon fuel standard in place since 2009. The clean-fuels program was scheduled to sunset later this year before it could be implemented.

Multiple groups responded last week by filing suit in federal court to block the state from moving forward.

The legal action follows Gov. Kate Brown’s decision earlier this month to sign into law a bill requiring oil and gas distributors of most fuels sold in Oregon to lower their carbon content, or “intensity,” by 10 percent over the next decade.

The Department of Environmental Quality has estimated the program could result in fuel costs increasing nearly 20 cents per gallon by 2025.

Following in the footsteps of neighboring states and one province, the Democratic governor said she supports the goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“With California, Washington and British Columbia moving forward with their own clean fuels programs, which will shape the West Coast market, it is imperative not only that Oregon does its part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also that we build a program that meets the needs of Oregonians,” Brown said in a written statement.

Advocates also say the new law will create jobs and a new clean-fuels industry in the state.

The lawsuit filed by the American Trucking Associations, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, and the Consumer Energy Alliance argues the clean-fuels program violates the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause. The groups say the new law discriminates against fuel importers and it increases regulatory costs for professional drivers.

A separate suit filed in early March in the Oregon Court of Appeals by the Western States Petroleum Association also challenges the legislation extending the program.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Oregon, click here.

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