Governor Brown takes executive climate action

SALEM, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown signed a new executive order on climate Tuesday, putting caps on climate pollution and directing state agencies to put new measures into effect to lower the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“This executive order is extensive and thorough, taking the boldest actions available to lower greenhouse gas emissions under current state laws.” Governor Kate Brown said, “As a state, we will pursue every option available under existing law to combat the effects of climate change and put Oregon on a path we can be proud to leave behind for our children.”

The executive order updates the existing state carbon emissions goals, setting a standard of 45% reduction from 1990 levels by 2035, and an 80% reduction from 1990 levels by 2050.

The executive order aims to do the following:

  • Place sector-specific caps on climate pollution: Directs the Environmental Quality Commission to set and enforce sector-specific caps on climate pollution for three of the largest sources of emissions in our state: transportation fuels, natural gas, and large industrial polluters. Caps will decline over time in order to meet the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals.
  • Doubles the Clean Fuels Program: To reduce climate pollution from cars and trucks by 20% by 2030, and 25% by 2035, the state will more than double the Clean Fuels Program. This is the most ambitious goal for clean fuels in the country, and it will substantially reduce carbon emissions in the transportation sector, using a model proven to reduce pollution at a very minimal cost. At the same time, it will create new jobs in the biofuels sector and expand investment in transportation electrification.
  • Higher energy efficiency for buildings and appliances: Directs the state’s building codes division to move rapidly to increase energy efficiency requirements for new buildings and directs the Oregon Department of Energy to make Oregon’s appliance efficiency standards equal to the most stringent in the country.
  • Strategic plan to accelerate the usability of electric vehicles: Directs the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to create a statewide public electric charging plan to accelerate the usage of electric vehicles across the state.
  • Emissions-conscious transportation spending: Directs ODOT to develop a tool to evaluate all future transportation spending, including road expansion, through the lens of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and requires regional transportation planning organizations in the state to follow suit.
  • Accelerates the transition to clean energy resource in the utility sector: Directs the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to help utilities achieve the new emission reduction goals, and directs the PUC to implement the recommendations of the Governor’s Council on Wildfire Response to safeguard our grid from the growing risks and severity of wildfires.
  • Adds climate action as a top priority for agency decision making: Directs state agencies to add climate action as a lens for all of their work, which will lower carbon emissions across current agency activities, including as agencies spend the state’s budget on goods and services.

To read the full executive order click HERE.

To watch the full press conference click HERE.

Following the signing of the executive order, Senate Republican Leader Herman Baertschiger Jr. released a statement saying the governor “fulfilled her threats to use executive power to force the Democrats’ climate agenda on hard-working Oregonians.” You can read the full statement HERE.

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