PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) — The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission on Friday unanimously approved a significant expansion of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Clean Fuels Program, which will helps reduce emissions that cause climate change.
Additionally, the commission rejected a petition to designate Oregon’s Metolius River as an exceptional water resource on the grounds that the petition was incomplete and did not address issues of tribal and sovereign governments.
Revised clean fuel rules set new targets for reducing the carbon intensity — or lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions — of transportation fuels used in Oregon. The current reduction target is 10% lower than 2015 levels by 2025 and the new reduction targets are: 20% lower by 2030 and 37% lower by 2035. These more aggressive targets allow to ensure that Oregon will continue to lead its efforts to reduce the amount of carbon emitted by transportation.
The transportation sector is the largest source of carbon emissions in Oregon, responsible for 37% of state emissions. The Clean Fuels Program is one of Oregon’s most successful national policies to address the state’s contribution to global climate change, and expanding its goals will bring us closer to achieving those goals.
Expanding these targets will:
• Provide low-carbon fuel suppliers with valuable incentives to continue bringing their products to Oregon
• Increase the availability and reduce the cost of low carbon liquid fuels that can be used by existing internal combustion engines
• Reduce the cost of transitioning to zero-emission technologies such as electric and fuel cell vehicles
• Reduce exhaust air pollutants that disproportionately harm the communities that live closest to our transportation corridors
Clean Fuels Context
Since 2016, the Clean Fuels Program has supported the reduction of 7.3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions and replaced nearly 1.5 billion gallons of fossil fuels with cleaner ethanol, biodiesel, renewable diesel, electricity and renewable forms of natural gas and propane. Electric utilities have invested more than $45 million in grants that provide community organizations with electric vehicles and chargers, community colleges with workforce training programs, media campaigns at the statewide and the state’s first electric school buses.
For more information, visit the Clean Fuels Program website at: https://www.oregon.gov/deq/ghgp/cfp/Pages/default….
Metolius River Petition
On June 27, the EQC received a petition from Friends of the Metolius and the North West Environmental Advocacy Center asking to grant special protections to the Metolius by designating the river as an exceptional water resource. Such designation includes prohibitions on further discharges or other activities likely to degrade water quality.
While DEQ agrees that the Metolius is a special river, the petitioners did not consult with Confederate Warm Springs Tribes – the river borders tribal land. The petition also failed to address the complexity of uses along and near the river, including a hatchery, campgrounds and homes.
The EQC has agreed that protecting the Metolius is a priority. DEQ recommends that if the petitioners wish to pursue this proposal, they should consult with the Warm Springs Tribal Government and the U.S. Forest Service, and then submit the proposal as part of the Oregon Water Quality Standards Triennial Review. .