Kitzhaber vetoes Clean Energy Works funds, promises replacement $$$
By Andy Giegerich
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Clean Energy Works Oregon's Derek Smith believes Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber will deliver on his pledge to find funds for Smith's group after Wednesday's veto removed $4.8 million from CEWO's anticipated budget.
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber’s short 2013 veto list includes the nixing of some $4.8 million intended to subsidize a popular home energy retrofitting program.
But supporters of the Clean Energy Works Oregon program were confident that Kitzhaber would seek “near-term bridge funding” to defray the veto, issued Wednesday.
Kitzhaber vetoed nearly half of the total $9.8 million that Oregon lawmakers steered toward the program because he feels it’s an “inappropriate” use for those funds. The money was to have come from “public purpose charge dollars” that are collected from a 3 percent charge on customer bills of investor-owned utilities.
Kitzhaber said the public purpose charge funds are intended to go specifically toward programs that benefit ratepayers of Portland General Electric and Pacific Power.
“If this section of the bill were to become law, the effort would very likely result in lengthy and costly litigation,” Kitzhaber said in his veto notice.
However, Kitzhaber noted that the program, which contractors credit for adding hundreds of jobs to payrolls, is a critical component of his 10-year energy plan. He pledged to ensure that Clean Energy Works Oregon “has the financial resources necessary to scale their business model.”
The group is taking Kitzhaber at his word.
“The governor ... made a clear commitment to pursue near-term bridge funding that will enable us to deliver growth and stability to the home performance market this coming season, as well as an intent to work with the legislature to locate full funding that will provide a pathway toward CEWO’s scale and long-term business model,” said Derek Smith, the group’s CEO, in an email to CEWO’s supporters.
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