More than a dozen fuel users groups and business organizations are uniting to oppose new rules for cleaner fuels in Oregon.
Sustainable Business Oregon reports the new group, Oregonians for Sound Fuel Policy sent out a press release announcing its opposition to Oregon's Clean Fuels Program, which sets a low-carbon fuel standard to reduce carbon emissions associated with transportation.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality says the program won't raise the cost of fuel. But opponents say they're sure the new standards will make fuel more expensive and hurt the state's economy.
"A Low Carbon Fuel Standard will raise fuel costs, slow the state's economic recovery, and create unnecessary overlap and confusion between Oregon's existing alternative fuels programs," cautioned Mike Salsgiver, Executive Director of the Oregon Columbia Chapter of Associated General Contractors.
The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission is scheduled to vote on the program at a meeting later this week.
The vote could launch the first phase of the Clean Fuels Program, where fuel suppliers have to report the carbon intensity of the fuels they sell. That will give the state an idea of the overall carbon intensity of the fuel on the market, according to Cory-Ann Wind, air quality planner for DEQ.
The second phase, which would require a 10 percent reduction in the average carbon intensity of fuel within 10 years, is more controversial and less certain. It requires additional approvals from the state Legislature and the Environmental Quality Commission.
Opponents worry the second phase will raise the price of fuel and that there won’t be enough supply of low-carbon fuels to meet the regulations.
The groups involved in Oregonians For Sound Fuel Policy include Salsgiver's group as well as: Oregon Farm Bureau, Oregon Trucking Associations, Associated General Contractors, Associated Oregon Industries, Portland Business Alliance, Oregon Petroleum Association, Oregon People's Utility District Association, Associated Oregon Loggers, Oregon Metals Industry Council, and the Oregon Concrete and Aggregate Producers Association.
Regulators say the carbon footprint of fuel is important given the fact that about a third of Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation. The ultimate goal of the Clean Fuels program is to reduce the carbon intensity of fuel by 10 percent in 10 years.
It stems from a controversial bill that passed in the 2009 Legislature.