DEQ releases draft rules to limit greenhouse gas emissions
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has released draft rules aimed at dramatically reducing Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions over the coming years and decades.
The rules, which require approval by the Environmental Quality Commission, would establish enforceable limits on greenhouse gas emissions caused by the use of gasoline, diesel, natural gas, heating oil, propane and other fuels used in homes, cars and businesses. Those limits would be lowered every year, reaching an 80% reduction by 2050. Emissions from the generation of electricity used in Oregon are being reduced through a separate program, recently approved by the Oregon legislature and signed by Governor Brown last week.
“We all have witnessed the growing and horrific effects of climate change across Oregon and the nation,” said DEQ Director Richard Whitman. “These new programs put Oregon on a path to doing its part to avoid the worst effects of climate change.”
DEQ’s Climate Protection Program focuses squarely on fossil fuels and on how Oregon communities and businesses can shift over time to cleaner forms of energy. Under the proposed rules, DEQ will set limits on companies supplying most of the fossil fuels used in Oregon.
A key part of the Climate Protection Program is helping vulnerable communities move to cleaner energy more rapidly. The proposed rules would allow regulated fuel suppliers to meet part of their emission reductions by supporting projects to accelerate affordable clean energy alternatives to gasoline, diesel, natural gas and other fossil fuels and make them available in rural, low-income and communities of color throughout Oregon.
Modeling conducted as part of the rulemaking process shows that the program will significantly reduce emissions without disrupting Oregon’s economy. It also points to additional benefits, such as cleaner air and reduced illness and death from pollution, that amount to billions of dollars in health savings for Oregonians.
The proposed rules were developed through a 16-month public process with input from all corners of the state, including environmental justice communities, businesses, environmental groups, tribes more.
The public has 60 days to comment on the draft rules. DEQ will review comments and further refine the proposal before bringing it to the Environmental Quality Commission for their consideration late this year.
“This was a comprehensive, transparent process that brought in many voices that have not always been part of this discussion,” Whitman said. “We’re looking forward to hearing even more diverse input during the 60-day comment period. The end result will be game-changing climate program that Oregonians can believe in.”
DEQ plans to hold two public hearings virtually.
Hearing #1 hosted by DEQ at 4 p.m., Sept. 22, 2021
Hearing #2 hosted by the EQC at 4 p.m., Sept. 30, 2021
For more information, visit the rulemaking website Greenhouse Gas Emissions Program 2021 .