Oregon Gov. Brown Takes Decisive Action on Climate Change

Directs Agencies to Develop Enforceable Regulations to Cut Pollution

March 10, 2020
Dave Kuntz, (202) 572-3570, dkuntz@edf.org

(Salem, OR. – March 10, 2020) Swiftly following through on last week’s strong commitment, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed an executive order today designed to guarantee Oregon delivers reductions in carbon pollution consistent with scientific recommendations.

Most critically, the order sets clear emission reduction targets of at least 45% below 1990 levels by 2035 and 80% by 2050, and directs the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to expeditiously develop regulations that will cap pollution from the state’s major sources—including industrial emitters, transportation fuels, and natural gas usage—consistent with achieving these reduction targets. The order underscores the urgency of the problem, directing that regulations be in place no later than January 1, 2022—the exact same implementation timeline outlined in the broadly-supported Clean Energy Jobs legislation that was blocked by scorched-earth and undemocratic tactics of a small minority of legislators.

“The climate crisis requires decisive action. In the face of Oregon’s broken legislative process, Governor Brown showed why she is at the front of the pack with a bold directive that includes a critically-important declining limit on pollution as its centerpiece,” said Pam Kiely, senior director of regulatory strategy for Environmental Defense Fund.

“State clean air agencies have successfully cut pollution for decades, using time-tested approaches to cap and reduce emissions. Governor Brown’s plan sets a new bar for her colleagues across the nation, demonstrating how to swiftly and fully mobilize state agencies with the near-term ambition that this climate crisis demands.”

Oregonians overwhelmingly support strong action to protect the health and economic future of their state from climate change. Legislative leaders had secured all of the votes needed for passage of a comprehensive climate proposal in the House and the Senate—the centerpiece of that policy effort being an enforceable, declining limit on carbon pollution. Such pollution caps are critical for achieving the climate goals laid out by Governor Brown, and for meeting Oregon’s commitment under the U.S. Climate Alliance. As DEQ moves forward to develop options for capping and reducing emissions—due to Governor Brown by May 15th—the agency can draw from that comprehensive policy framework that effectively balanced the interests, and won the support of, business owners, labor groups, farmers, outdoorsmen and women, consumer advocates, Tribes, and community leaders.

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