Clean Energy Jobs Act
What Our Communities Need: Oregon’s Clean Energy Jobs Act
NOTE: The name of this bill may change. The exact number of the bill, and the bill itself will be posted when it becomes available. Signup for our updates on how the bill is progressing in the legislature.
Studies show that Oregon is now facing multiple, and significant threats from climate change to people’s health, jobs, and the economy. Oregonians want practical action to slow climate change, and transition faster to clean energy and greater energy efficiency in our state. While weather patterns may vary in any particular year, we are now seeing the trends that scientists have long predicted. Record heat, reduced water supply, increases in fires, worsening air quality, new insect infestations – all this threatens our quality of life, our health, and our businesses and jobs.
This year, our representatives have a chance to take significant action on climate pollution while also boosting our local economies. The Clean Energy Jobs Act would help reduce greenhouse gas pollution that is a major cause of climate change. It could also create thousands of jobs by encouraging investment in cleaner energy sources, greater energy efficiency, and upgrading rural infrastructure threatened by climate change. In addition, it would keep more of the money we spend on energy working for us inside our state, instead of enriching giant out-of-state companies and CEOs. The Clean Energy Jobs bill would achieve these goals in a way that reduces the impact on Oregon residents while asking the largest polluters to do their fair share.
As our elected leaders are considering the Clean Energy Jobs Act, and as it goes through the legislative process, the following standards must be met:
- A limit or ‘cap’ is set on climate pollution limits Oregon’s share of climate pollution based on the best available science. In 2017, scientifically-based reductions means a reduction of pollution to limit an increase in earth’s average temperature to less than 2 degrees C by 2100. The cap should steadily decline, allowing less pollution every year, with interim targets until 2050.
- All sectors reduce pollution and pay their fair share when they pollute above the cap. No communities should be left with an unfair burden of pollution. The price that utilities, fossil fuel companies, and the largest polluters pay when they pollute should be relatively stable and be adjusted over time to ensure that the cap is not exceeded. Companies that face direct out-of-state competition should be able to apply for free or subsidized pollution permits to level the playing field.
- Proceeds are reinvested into the communities that need them most to help transition to clean energy and prepare for a changing climate. Proceeds should create opportunities for communities that are most impacted by climate change and changes to energy rates, including low-income, rural, communities of color, and impacted workers. A minimum of 35% of proceeds should go to these Oregonians, and technical assistance should be provided to county governments, municipalities, nonprofits and small businesses so that they can apply these funds to implement projects.
- A fair transition to a clean energy economy leaves no one behind. As we transition our state to a clean energy economy and as the impacts of climate change intensify, some sectors will be hit harder than others. It is important that workers and rural communities are provided with transition and retraining support by expanding access to apprenticeship and training programs. While a transition to clean energy will be cheaper in the long term than relying on aging out-of-state coal plants and new natural gas facilities, in the short term we must insure that low-income Oregonians are protected from any energy rate increases.
Administration of the program is effective and accountable. Disproportionately affected populations such as rural, low-income, and communities of color.
- From Pollution to Prosperity: It’s time for Oregon to transition from polluting energy to a clean energy economy. Our state is poised to reap the rewards of more jobs, clean air, and local, renewable energy if we hold the largest polluters accountable with a limit and price on the pollution they put into our air and water. The threat of climate change on Oregon farmers, families and communities requires urgent action.
- The clean energy economy employs all kinds of Oregonians — like construction workers, engineers, designers, manufacturing workers, salespeople, secretaries and custodians.
- A lot of the work such as energy efficiency and local, clean energy like solar and wind has to be done here with jobs that can’t be outsourced.
- Clean economy jobs growing at an 11% annual rate in Oregon — faster than state employment as a whole.
- We must invest proceeds from a price on climate pollution to build up and clean up communities hit first and worst by climate change and dirty fossil fuels — such as low-income, rural and communities of color. We must create opportunities for Oregon workers with new jobs and job training.Transitioning Oregon away from polluting energy will help create good paying jobs in the clean energy economy.
- We need clean air to breathe and healthy water to drink
- Pollution from gas and diesel can trigger asthma, heart attacks and other health emergencies. These health issues affect all Oregonians, and particularly impact children, the elderly, low-income communities, and communities of color.
- Our families, farmers, fishermen and firefighters are all bearing the burden of climate pollution – today.
- Earlier snowmelt and lower, warmer rivers are impacting Oregon’s nearly $13 billion outdoor recreation industry which directly employs 141,000 people.
Pricing pollution works. And it’s what Oregonians want.
- 2 out of 3 Oregonians favor making large polluters pay for the cost of what they put into our air and water. And 8 Oregon city and county governments have passed resolutions supporting a statewide cap and price on climate pollution.
- California, Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia (and soon all of Canada) and 9 Northeastern states have pollution pricing systems that work. And cap & pricing pollution worked to stop acid rain in the 1990s.
- Oregon has limits for climate pollution already on the books, but they aren’t being enforced.
- As individuals, we follow the rules and do our part to keep Oregon clean and green. Businesses operating in Oregon should have to follow the rules too.
Communities of color must have meaningful representation in decision-making bodies for both policy and fund allocation. The administration of the program must have adequate resources, paid for by pollution fees.
Oregon’s Comprehensive Approach to Climate Change
In 2007, Oregon’s legislature enacted long-term climate pollution reduction goals (ORS 468A.205). Since then, the impacts of climate change have only become more evident: our state has suffered record-breaking, devastating forest fires and droughts; our tourism, snow sport, and shellfish industries have been negatively impacted; and, severe weather has increased. But recent polls and research show us that Oregonians are committed to a clean economy that will protect our climate and communities throughout the state while keeping pollution out of the air we breathe.
It is time to adopt a comprehensive climate policy to account for the true cost of climate pollution on our health and communities, and to reduce the major emissions in the energy and transportation sectors.
Oregon’s comprehensive climate policy must include three components in order to ensure that multiple sectors of the community play a fair role in reducing GHG emissions. Working together, this suite of programs help Oregon to reduce pollution while being responsive to market conditions, stimulating innovation and clean jobs, while meeting standards set forth by scientific goals.
1. Clean Energy Jobs Act: Three years in development
Legislation was introduced in 2016 to ensure Oregon meets its statutory climate pollution reduction goals, accounts for the cost of climate pollution, and accelerates the transition to clean energy in our state. It was not passed. The Clean Energy Jobs Act is the updated 2017 proposal derived from the most recent climate policy studies and the need to make the bill responsive to impacted communities, including those who will make a JUST TRANSITION from the Dirty Energy Industry.
2. Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Act
This Act was passed in 2016. It made Oregonians to be the first in the nation to vote to be coal-free. Today, one-third of the energy that powers Oregon’s homes and businesses comes from coal, an unacceptably high rate. This measure phases out coal power by 2030. To ensure coal is replaced with cleaner power, the measures also double the amount of energy required to come from renewable sources, like wind and solar, by 2040. This will allow Oregon to remain a leader in the national clean energy economy, as companies create good paying jobs with benefits that can support families. Research shows transitioning to clean, renewable energy will save money for ratepayers in the long run while simultaneously protecting Oregonians from the increasingly volatile price of coal and oil.
3. Clean Fuels Program
Approved by the Oregon Legislature twice, the Clean Fuels Standard tackles emissions from the transportation sector. Without this program, it will be impossible to reach Oregon’s pollution reduction goals. Recent polling shows that 65% of Oregonians support the Clean Fuels Program, which addresses climate pollution by transitioning Oregon’s fuel supply to be cleaner over time. The law will clean up our air, create jobs in clean fuels production and distribution, bring investment to our state, and protect ordinary Oregonians from unpredictable gas prices. The program has already spurred the formation of new companies that have developed cleaner fuels, as well as businesses that are using them. Opponents misleadingly state the significant costs passed on to consumers from this program. But in reality, its estimated that the real cost passed on to consumers is less than a penny per gallon. All of this to help reduce polluted air.