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Oregon close to finalizing cap-and-trade bill

Oregon lawmakers on Monday unveiled a compromise proposal to a controversial cap-and-trade bill regulating greenhouse gas emissions, responding to overwhelming opposition from businesses and agricultural groups who worry the plan could put them out of work.

Posted: Mar 26, 2019 9:53 AM

By SARAH ZIMMERMAN Associated Press

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon lawmakers on Monday unveiled a compromise proposal to a controversial cap-and-trade bill regulating greenhouse gas emissions, responding to overwhelming opposition from businesses and agricultural groups who worry the plan could put them out of work.

If passed, Oregon would become the second state in the country after California to implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program. Under the bill, the state would place an overall limit on emissions and then sell a set number of pollution permits or "allowances" to the highest bidder.

But the plan sparked criticism from both sides, drawing thousands to testify at a series of public hearings around the state over the past two months. Environmentalists complained that the program doesn't go far enough and exempts too many polluters, while businesses say the costs associated with it would mean higher fuel costs and lost jobs.

Co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction Sen. Michael Dembrow and Rep. Karin Power said the new changes are meant to address those concerns and strike a delicate balance between preserving economic interests and combatting an impending climate catastrophe.

Most notably, they're proposing to invest a majority of the funds to rural and low-income communities and added a plan to refund any additional fuel costs to those making less than their area's median income.

"The rural communities are in the front lines of climate change," said Dembrow, a Democrat from Portland. "They're going to feel those effects most directly so we want to make sure any invests coming out of this program are investing heavily in rural areas and where low-income individuals are located."

At least half of all funds must benefit rural and low-income communities, with 10 percent earmarked for federally recognized tribes. Other revenue would go to clean energy job training, wildfire prevention and a program that would fund environmentally-friendly transportation projects.

And around a fifth of the funds would be dedicated to the gasoline refund program, to help low-income individuals adjust to possible increases in gas prices as a result of the legislation.

The revised proposal now also covers emissions from waste incinerators and from fluorinated gas, which were previously exempted. Landfills will also be regulated separately.

Businesses will be allowed to discharge up to 95 percent of their emissions for free for the first three years of the program. After that, they can still receive allowances for 95 percent of their emissions if they prove to the state that they're using the best available technology.

Power, a Democrat from Milwaukie, said that they're taking a "stick and carrot approach" to encourage businesses to remain in the state while also reducing their carbon emissions.

"If you're really, truly doing what's best in class, you'll be getting allowances to reflect that investment," she said. "And if you're not, you have an incentive to move to that quickly."

The Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction will hear the details of the amendment this week, along with alternative proposals from other lawmakers. Dembrow said he's hoping for final passage within the next few weeks.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 206851

Reported Deaths: 2756
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah40371614
Washington26781248
Marion23425323
Clackamas18932235
Lane13908164
Jackson11535146
Deschutes1001882
Umatilla859387
Linn561181
Yamhill478279
Klamath477678
Polk399356
Douglas388483
Malheur361463
Josephine360672
Benton326522
Jefferson237039
Coos216637
Columbia192129
Union149924
Wasco144430
Lincoln143021
Crook129223
Hood River121633
Morrow115416
Clatsop10589
Baker101115
Curry71011
Tillamook6604
Grant5507
Lake4678
Harney4339
Wallowa1945
Gilliam801
Sherman671
Wheeler351
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3809710

Reported Deaths: 63356
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles124774424456
Riverside3016684627
San Bernardino2992894845
San Diego2818103771
Orange2730575113
Santa Clara1201632188
Kern1107991404
Sacramento1078211736
Fresno1029471724
Alameda896591277
Ventura816611031
San Joaquin747271440
Contra Costa70730813
Stanislaus634971070
Tulare49776849
Monterey43836432
San Mateo42681581
San Francisco37269556
Santa Barbara34613455
Solano33762266
Merced32313478
Sonoma30884317
Imperial28855741
Placer23589299
Kings23195247
San Luis Obispo21421261
Madera16638245
Santa Cruz16246208
Marin14206230
Yolo14160212
Butte12668194
Shasta12630233
El Dorado10396116
Napa1002680
Sutter9663113
Yuba648951
San Benito610963
Lassen578424
Tehama573463
Nevada491975
Humboldt449948
Mendocino434050
Tuolumne421271
Amador374047
Lake356345
Glenn243427
Siskiyou239637
Colusa228418
Calaveras220756
Del Norte14588
Inyo143438
Mono12954
Plumas7366
Modoc5585
Mariposa4657
Trinity4225
Sierra1160
Alpine890
Unassigned280
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