Fuel fight revs up in Salem
By Ben Jacklet
Business Journal staff writer
Environmental groups and biofuel companies would love to see Oregon become the second state in the nation after California to adopt “clean fuel” standards.
Environmental groups and biofuel companies would love to see Oregon become the second state in the nation after California to implement “clean fuel” standards.
Business group Associated Oregon Industries is determined to prevent that from happening.
At issue is whether Oregon should lift a sunset on legislation passed in 2009 to force a gradual shift towards new statewide standards. Although the law has been on the books for several years, nothing substantial has changed yet, and it won’t change unless the Legislature lifts the sunset this session.
If the sunset is lifted, the state would shift towards a greater blend of lower-carbon fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, especially those that are locally produced (to lower the carbon impact of shipping fuels). It would also establish a trading system for fuel suppliers that don’t want to blend in ethanol to invest in green energy instead.
Biodiesel and ethanol companies support the program, as do electric vehicle businesses.
Traditional industrial interests such as Associated Oregon Industries and the Oregon Trucking Associations have been battling the program for years.
Here’s how the Oregon Conservation Network described the program in a recent news release:
“The Clean Fuels Program can create thousands of jobs while reducing our state's $7.7 billion-a-year dependence on imported gas and diesel. The Program encourages lower-carbon fuels like Oregon-made sustainable biofuels, electricity, natural gas, and propane that will improve air quality and help address climate change… [saving] households and businesses as much as $1.6 billion through increased consumer fuel choices."
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