Posted on Mar 15, 2015
by Larry Meyer
ONTARIO — How will it work?
That’s what state Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, and other lawmakers want to know about the low-carbon fuel standard. The bill, which Gov. Kate Brown signed Thursday, extends a program that aims to limit carbon emissions from fuel, but Bentz and other state legislators want to know how well that program and similar programs actually work.
Bentz’s House Bill 3091, which is co-sponsored by several colleagues, would require that Oregon Department of Environmental Quality conduct a study of the state’s return on investments in programs designed to reduce carbon emissions. The DEQ and the Oregon Business Development Department would be required to issue an annual report on the study findings.
The bill would require the DEQ to consider such factors as the total costs of each program; total reduction in carbon emissions achieved, as of June 30, through the programs; and total reductions in carbon emissions projected after June 30.
Bentz said he wants to know, “What is the cost to the state, and to what end?”
The main question, he added, is “What is the benefit to the state?”
The bill will be the subject of a hearing before the House Energy and Environment Committee Tuesday.
Bentz will be busy that day, as several other bills that have his name as the lead sponsor will be up for hearing.
One is House Bill 3334, which requires the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board to spend $2 million per year out of the Flexible Incentives Account on implementing strategies to protect and restore sage grouse habitat.
If it passes, the bill would go into effect July 1 and sunset Jan. 2, 2021. This would be part of the ongoing effort to keep the greater sage grouse from being listed as an endangered species.
Another natural resource bill is House Bill 3169, which directs the Water Resources Department to conduct a study to determine the status of aquifers in Oregon and develop a financing program for drilling, repairing and rehabilitating or deepening wells used for domestic purposes.
The loan program is designed to help people whose wells may go dry because of the drought situation, but who may not have their own funds to take steps to restore their water, Bentz said.
The aquifer study would include determining their size, extent, and capacity and physical qualities.
Bentz continues to work on getting funding for career technical education, he said, but is still not sure how much will be provided.