Clean fuel backers seek Oregon program extension

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This Tesla was among the electric vehicles on display in Salem on Wednesday.
Courtesy Oregon Environmental Council

This Tesla was among the electric vehicles on display in Salem on Wednesday. 

Proponents of Oregon's Clean Fuels Program cosponsored an event in Salem Wednesday with Drive Oregon that brought a troupe of electric vehicles to the Capitol in Salem.

On the heels of a report on Oregon's electric vehicle industry's economic impact, the event highlighted the fact that electricity counts as a clean fuel.

"The program supports any low-carbon fuel," said Jana Gastellum, climate protection program director for the Oregon Environmental Council, cosponsor of the event.

That includes electric vehicles and propane, along with biofuels, she said.

Oregon's Clean Fuels Program, an effort to stimulate the use of more low-carbon transportation fuels that was put in motion by the Oregon Legislature in 2009. It received a crucial green light in December when the Environmental Quality Commission voted to begin the information-collection phase of the program.

The problem, Gastellum said, is that the program is set to sunset in 2015, adding some uncertainty for participating businesses. A bill being proposed in the Oregon State Senate by Sen. Lee Beyer, a Democrat from Springfield, would lift that sunset.

A coalition of businesses opposed to the Clean Fuels Program, Oregonians for Sound Fuel Policy, was formed in December. The Oregon Environmental Council helped form a proponent group, Clean Fuels Now.

Cleantech proponents Environmental Entrepreneurs — known as E2 — on Wednesday released a report and interactive map showing where advanced biofuels companies are located. The group identifies the top five states for alternative fuel companies as: California, Illinois, Colorado, Texas and Iowa.

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