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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: 132412

Reported Deaths: 1799
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah28237458
Washington18512171
Marion16085238
Clackamas11577138
Lane8219108
Jackson686284
Umatilla670968
Deschutes490736
Yamhill316245
Malheur312452
Linn310246
Klamath242238
Polk241340
Josephine170633
Jefferson168725
Benton168414
Douglas166643
Union110416
Wasco106323
Columbia103318
Lincoln98517
Hood River94821
Coos93315
Morrow92710
Clatsop6695
Crook60410
Baker5665
Tillamook3622
Curry3185
Lake2295
Grant2131
Harney1734
Wallowa963
Gilliam481
Sherman470
Wheeler201
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2955323

Reported Deaths: 33342
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles100392313741
San Bernardino2482851560
Riverside2352352517
San Diego2098972065
Orange2093652320
Santa Clara914661060
Kern83547558
Sacramento802791080
Fresno79950932
Alameda65679757
Ventura59061412
San Joaquin56484748
Contra Costa50627430
Stanislaus41925739
Tulare40176501
Monterey34959249
San Mateo31291294
San Francisco28574254
Imperial24944463
Solano24654105
Santa Barbara23538228
Merced23492296
Sonoma23204234
Kings18661110
Placer16761173
San Luis Obispo15129128
Madera12883130
Santa Cruz11776113
Marin11345153
Yolo10240131
Shasta9594117
Butte9233121
El Dorado751544
Sutter748477
Napa723139
Lassen509413
San Benito485043
Yuba481827
Tehama397142
Tuolumne330438
Nevada309973
Mendocino307631
Amador295329
Lake243428
Humboldt226324
Glenn182419
Colusa16919
Calaveras153823
Siskiyou140813
Mono10834
Inyo92429
Del Norte8472
Plumas5735
Modoc3783
Mariposa3434
Trinity3024
Alpine730
Sierra700
Unassigned00
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