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Oregon Governor Signs Package of Seven Climate Change Laws

On July 22, 2009 the Governor of Oregon signed seven laws, all dealing with issues related to climate change. In a press release the governor’s office summarized the new laws as follows:

“Senate Bill 38- Expands reporting requirements for greenhouse gas emissions to imported electricity, natural gas, and transportation fuel and will allow state to better track amount of greenhouse gases emitted in Oregon.

Senate Bill 79- Ramps up energy efficiency in building codes by 10 to 15% for residential and by 15 to 25% for commercial structures and creates a new “reach code” system to highlight best practices for builders and developers. The bill also creates a task force appointed by the Governor to develop energy performance scores for homes and buildings, similar to fuel mileage stickers on vehicles and recommends to next legislature whether to require the performance scores as part of real estate transactions.

Senate Bill 101- Requires that new electricity sources must be as least as clean as natural gas plants, effectively blocking new development of conventional coal. This is similar to legislation passed in Washington and California.

House Bill 2186- Authorizes the Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) to develop a low carbon fuel standard that would sunset in 2015. Authorizes EQC to require inflation of tires as part of servicing vehicles and to require reduction in emissions from ships at port and directs the DEQ to study measures to reduce aerodynamic drag on long haul trucks and idling and to provide recommendations to legislature by October of 2010.

House Bill 2626- Gives local governments the authority to issue bonds for residential and business energy efficiency projects. In addition, the bill creates the ability for homeowners and building owners to access long term low cost financing and uses $5 million in lottery bonds as grant money to capitalize the program. Loans can be paid back on utility bills.

House Bill 3039- Directs the PUC to develop a pilot program to integrate 25 megawatts of small scale solar energy into Oregon’s electricity mix using a feed-in tariff. The bill also requires 20 megawatts of large scale solar be integrated into utility loads.

House Bill 3463- Triggers the 2 percent blending requirement for biodiesel into statewide diesel fuel, ensuring greater use of a renewable fuel source that will also reduce carbon emissions. The blending is required by the end of August of this year.”