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Gov. Brown to sign environmental protection act, taking Oregon back to Obama-era standards

The Oregon Environmental Protection Act was designed to mimic the 2017 federal Clean Air and Clean Water Act environmental standards and codify them into state law.

Posted: May 23, 2019 5:40 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown is prepared to sign into law a bill that would keep Oregon beholden to Obama-era environmental standards, according to a statement from her office.

Brown intends to sign the Oregon Environmental Protection Act (EPA) into law on Friday, May 24 in Portland.

"The legislation adopts the federal environmental standards of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts that were in place and effective as of January 19, 2017, before President Trump took office, protecting those standards under Oregon state law even if the federal government rolls the standards back," the statement reads.

The governors of California, Washington, Colorado and Washington have signalled their willingness to adopt similar standards.

“Unfortunately, the Trump administration has relentlessly attacked environmental safeguards that keep our communities healthy and vibrant," said Governor Brown. "As we sign the Oregon EPA into law, we send a signal to Washington, D.C. that rolling back federal environmental laws only creates uncertainty. By working together with other states, we can take a leadership role in preventing the erosion of core laws that protect our environment. This bill is an insurance policy for our children. With this act, they will know that Oregon is not backsliding on its environmental commitment."

House Bill 2250, the Oregon EPA, passed the House and Senate on March 14 and May 14 respectively, largely along party lines.

In June of 2017, then-Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt announced that he would move to roll back clean water rules added in 2015 under the Obama Administration.

"We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation's farmers and businesses," said Pruitt. "This is the first step in the two-step process to redefine 'waters of the U.S.' and we are committed to moving through this re-evaluation to quickly provide regulatory certainty, in a way that is thoughtful, transparent and collaborative with other agencies and the public."

The rule change remains under review by the Trump Administration after the U.S. District Court of South Carolina reversed the first attempt.

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