Coalition formed to oppose Oregon Clean Fuels Program

A business group has formed to oppose the Oregon Clean Fuel Program.
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A business group has formed to oppose the Oregon Clean Fuel Program.

In advance of a meeting next week at the Environmental Quality Commission about the adoption of the Oregon Clean Fuels Program, a coalition of businesses have organized to opposed the effort.

Oregonians for Sound Fuel Policy, a group of associations, businesses and organizations that represent heavy fuel-users, is coalescing around the opposition to the Clean Fuels Program, which is designed to reduce the carbon content in fuels consumed in Oregon.

The opposition is concerned that the policy will cause volatile fuel prices, lay unneeded government regulation burdens on small businesses and increase what the group sees as already aggressive rules for blending ethanol and other biofuels with carbon-based fuel.

"A Low Carbon Fuel Standard will raise fuel costs, slow the state's economic recovery, and create unnecessary overlap and confusion between Oregon's existing alternative fuels programs," cautioned Mike Salsgiver, executive director of the Oregon Columbia Chapter of Associated General Contractors, in a press release.

The Clean Fuels Program would be implemented in two phases. The first will require Oregon fuel producers and importers — about 30 businesses — to keep records and report to DEQ the volumes and carbon intensities of the fuels they provide in Oregon. In the second phase those businesses will be required to reduce the carbon content of those fuels by using more biofuel-type content. The ultimate goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent from 2010 levels.

A report released in August by E2 Environmental Entrepreneurs showed an ample supply of biofuel option in Oregon to meet the standard set by the Clean Fuels Program.

A statement on the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality website states that gas prices will not be affected by the policy.

"Fuel prices fluctuate for a lot of different reasons that are beyond our control, but it will not be because of the Oregon Clean Fuels Program," reads the statement. "On a per-gallon basis, the cost of ethanol, biodiesel, natural gas, and electricity used as a transportation fuel all cost less than petroleum-based gasoline and diesel at this time; so using more of these alternatives should reduce the amount you are spending on fuel."

The Oregonians for Sound Fuel Policy group sees it differently.

"Not only will increased fuel prices have an adverse impact on Oregon's trucking industry but it will also harm Oregon's economy as the trucking industry transports the vast majority of the freight in our state," said Debra Dunn, president of the Oregon Trucking Associations.

The Environmental Quality Commission will consider adoption of the clean fuel rules in a meeting on Dec.7.

Members of the Oregonians for Sound Fuel Policy coalition include:

  • Oregon Farm Bureau
  • Oregon Trucking Associations
  • Associated General Contractors
  • Associated Oregon Industries
  • Portland Business Alliance
  • Oregon Petroleum Association
  • Oregon People’s Utility District Association
  • Associated Oregon Loggers
  • Oregon Metals Industry Council
  • Oregon Concrete and Aggregate Producers Association

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