Gov. Kate Brown’s executive version of cap-and-trade nears the finish line

SALEM, Ore. — After years of failed attempts, Oregon is poised to enact a cap-and-trade program to combat climate change. Unlike past attempts, this version comes from the governor’s office rather than the state legislature.

The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission will meet next week to vote on the Climate Protection Program, a proposed set of rules drafted by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) that would place an immediate upper limit on Oregon’s emissions from burning fossil fuels and steadily ratchet the cap down over the next 30 years.=

“It’s critically important that we take action, and the Climate Protection Program can result in dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions throughout Oregon,” Gov. Kate Brown said.

Oregon Democrats made back-to-back attempts to pass a legislative version of cap-and-trade in 2019 and 2020, but both versions were stymied when Republican lawmakers walked out, denying Democrats the necessary quorum to pass the legislation.

Immediately following the second failure in March 2020, Brown issued an executive order directing DEQ to implement its own version of cap-and-trade. The agency has spent the past 18 months developing the framework that will be under consideration next week.

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