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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: 387485

Reported Deaths: 5116
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah59768836
Washington41571393
Marion39592504
Clackamas32426376
Lane29856354
Jackson24672350
Deschutes23182185
Umatilla15087180
Linn14488178
Douglas13236286
Josephine10057240
Yamhill9665142
Klamath8979145
Polk813698
Benton605137
Malheur591586
Coos5573106
Columbia423855
Jefferson416865
Lincoln357252
Union336854
Crook330156
Wasco314846
Clatsop258335
Baker217531
Tillamook214345
Hood River211337
Morrow197025
Curry190136
Harney119332
Grant108314
Lake104016
Wallowa74713
Sherman1903
Gilliam1844
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5061240

Reported Deaths: 74159
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles152548627128
San Diego4047084319
Riverside3849455306
San Bernardino3718825944
Orange3329505675
Sacramento1674002423
Kern1565171781
Fresno1558992246
Santa Clara1511691922
Alameda1246581504
San Joaquin1070001833
Ventura1036461188
Contra Costa1032921045
Stanislaus912991413
Tulare856141082
San Francisco56614669
San Mateo56058629
Monterey52340625
Solano47422356
Santa Barbara47035548
Merced44807664
Sonoma42912412
Placer41881468
Imperial38128769
Kings35038358
San Luis Obispo31294358
Madera26005311
Shasta25917440
Butte25295309
Santa Cruz22028222
Yolo21451257
Marin18342248
El Dorado18166161
Sutter14494181
Napa13372104
Yuba1070088
Tehama10230129
Humboldt10043117
Nevada9914103
Mendocino848894
Lassen792355
San Benito775977
Tuolumne767790
Lake6990110
Amador573766
Siskiyou470954
Glenn455136
Calaveras435685
Del Norte371242
Colusa323519
Inyo254345
Plumas19127
Mono18294
Mariposa156718
Trinity98817
Modoc7475
Unassigned2430
Sierra2170
Alpine1060
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