On March 12th, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed into law Oregon’s Clean Fuel Program (CFP), a critical step to reducing our dependence on foreign oil and expanding homegrown production of cleaner, less polluting fuels. It will also help spur innovation and investment in Oregon's clean fuel sector.
As the West continues to lead the country on smart policies that are fueling a revolution in our transportation system – creating jobs, driving innovation and transforming our economy along the way, Oregon’s move is a decisive victory.
Thanks to the leadership of Gov. Brown and state legislators, Oregon’s CFP adds to the progress made by leaders in British Columbia and California, helping to create a West Coast block of economically successful and environmentally responsible states and provinces. This momentum is helpful for Washington state, which is just beginning to develop a Clean Fuel Standard.
For five years, E2 has been an active advocate in Oregon for the CFP. E2 members and staff made multiple visits to the state legislature to attend hearings, submitted testimony, participated as an expert witness to the legislature and the Environmental Quality Commission on clean fuels and economic metrics, and publishing reports such as the 2014 Advanced Biofuel Market Report, making evidence of the availability and stability of biofuels production known widely.
E2 will continue to monitor and advocate for the program. Already, the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, the American Trucking Associations, and the Consumer Energy Alliance have filed a lawsuit attempting to stop the program. They claim that the CFP violates the Constitution’s “dormant commerce clause” and that the program is pre-empted by the federal renewable fuel standard, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, as well as the Clean Air Act. These claims were used in California after the Low Carbon Fuel Standard was put in place, and thus far, they have been unsuccessful in their attempts to dismantle the policy.
In addition to further advocacy, E2 looks forward to tracking investment dollars, new jobs created, carbon reduction, and other metrics associated with implementation that will provide further argument for adoption in other states.
Washington state may be the next state to move forward. In February the Washington Department of Ecology, under the leadership of Gov. Jay Inslee, released a discussion draft of a Clean Fuel Standard for comment. E2 provided official comments as well as a press statement on this discussion draft and looks forward to supporting a future rulemaking process.
Washington, California, Oregon, and British Columbia represent the world’s fifth largest economy. British Columbia has already put in place their “Renewable & Low Carbon Fuel Requirements Regulation”. If Washington follows suit, this sends a strong message not only to other states in the nation, but other countries in the world.
– Rebecca Deehr is E2's Pacific Northwest Advocate.
Above image: E2 members Erik Wohlgemuth (left) and Alex Wall (right) with E2 Western States Advocate Mary Solecki during the first-ever E2 Salem advocacy trip.