Clean Fuels Just Make Sense

Evan Manvel

California’s program has attracted more than $5 billion in the clean transportation industry. Oregon should work to capitalize on the same benefits of innovation. - Oregon Business Association

The Oregonian editorial board, which argued against prioritizing the climate crisis, is desperate.

Oregon’s effort to make our fuels cleaner seems to be moving forward. So in an impressive stretch of reasoning, the editorial board (apparently mainly Eric Lukens) is arguing we shouldn’t reauthorize a clean fuels law because the executive branch supports it.

Let’s be clear: the Oregon legislature passed the clean fuels law in 2009, under Governor Kulongoski. The clean fuels concept has been around for a long time; it’s neither new nor radical. California passed a version and was supported by Royal Dutch Shell, among others, and a clean fuels law has been implemented in British Columbia.

The Oregon Business Association’s Ryan Deckert says, “OBA’s business leaders have been evaluating this program for the last five years... The Clean Fuels Program meets the test of [incentivizing] economic development here in Oregon. California’s program has attracted more than $5 billion in the clean transportation industry. Oregon should work to capitalize on the same benefits of innovation.”

Legislation should be passed or rejected based on the underlying policy, and The Oregonian’s “it’s a tainted bill” obfuscation is classic misdirection.

Ask yourself three questions:

  1. Should the $8.8 billion Oregonians spend each year on transportation fuels flow to out of state companies, where oil and gas are produced, or should we try to have some of that money spent at local businesses like SeQuential Biofuels?

  2. Do we have an ethical responsibility to take action to fight climate disruption, which the World Health Organization projects will kill 250,000 people a year if it goes unabated?

  3. Given that the London School of Economics projects unabated climate disruption will cost the world 5-20% of our GDP, what actions can we take that are low cost in comparison?

Then ask yourself whether clean fuels legislation makes sense. Remember, transportation makes up about 40% of Oregon’s global warming pollution, so cutting pollution from those fuels by 10% means a 4% cut in our state’s total pollution – and a reduction in other tailpipe toxins.

What’s the alternative? The Oregonian laughably argues we should have Congress lead, but the less-radical Senate can’t even agree global warming is caused by humans.

The Oregonian has also argued little Oregon has no impact. Yet Oregon’s economy is larger than the economies of three-quarters of the world’s countries (larger than Portugal, Iraq, Hungary, Vietnam, or Pakistan.) Furthermore, we’re not acting alone; we’re working joining in efforts with our West Coast neighbors of California, Washington, and British Columbia – together, the world’s fifth largest economy.

Oregon needs cleaner fuels. The world needs action on the climate crisis. Let’s take this step, and more.

UPDATE: On Twitter, Tom Powers noted this climate-disruption-denying floor letter from Sen. Olsen was distributed.

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