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ODEQ to decide about Low Carbon Fuel Standard Mandates for Oregon

 

Senator Doug Whitsett
R- Klamath Falls, District 28

Phone: 503-986-1728 900 Court St. NE, S-303, Salem, Oregon 97301
Email: sen.dougwhitsett@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/whitsett
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E-Newsletter
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) will soon decide whether or not to adopt a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) for Oregon. The Department was directed to study the issue by the Oregon Legislature by HB 2186 in 2009. That bill was adopted by a very close vote even though the Legislature was controlled by a Democrat supermajority at the time. Many of us that opposed the concept in 2009 believed it was unnecessary, probably illegal and likely to trigger an economic chain reaction that would drive up costs, drive out businesses and destroy jobs.

The alleged purpose of the LCFS is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the full fuel-cycle carbon intensity of transportation fuel used in the state. Carbon intensity is an estimate of the total greenhouse gas emissions related to the extraction, refinement, shipping and consumption of a finished transportation fuel. The LCFS would neither require the use of a specific fuel nor establish any motor-vehicle specifications.

The concept is to reduce Oregonís dependence on petroleum products and to stimulate the production of alternative low-carbon fuels such the production of ethanol from both corn and cellulose and the production of biodiesel. It is similar in concept to the Renewable Portfolio Standard that requires the use of an ever increasing percentage of renewable energy regardless of the cost to the consumer. The LCFS too would serve to require the use of an ever increasing percentage of regionally produced biofuels regardless of the cost to the consumer.

In my opinion, the adoption of a state LCFS is unnecessary because greenhouse gas emission has little if anything to do with global warming or climate change. A growing number of climatologists and other learned earth scientists are publicly stating their rejection of the greenhouse gas theory of global warming. They are systematically identifying scientifically reproducible data that demonstrates the theory to be fatally flawed. They are also advancing alternative explanations for the modest global warming that has occurred in the past half century. Those explanations more closely correlate with empirical data and the stable to cooling temperature trends currently being experienced. Moreover, even if the greenhouse gas theory of global warming was valid, the changes in greenhouse gas emissions contemplated by implementing an Oregon LCFS would result in no significant difference in global greenhouse gas emissions.

The proposed Oregon LCFS is nearly identical to the LCFS adopted by the state of California. That LCFS has just been ruled unconstitutional by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California (Case No. CV-F-09-2234 LJO DLB). In a summary judgment the Court ruled that the LCFS violates the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution for a variety of reasons. It only stands to reason that another U.S. District Court would find the nearly identical proposed Oregon LCFS equally unconstitutional.

The costs of complying with any LCFS can only result in higher fuel costs for everyone. Compliance with a state or regional LCFS would certainly result in an uncompetitive business environment that would result in out-migration of businesses and jobs. The last thing that Oregon needs is another reason for businesses to leave Oregon or for capital investors to further shun the state.

Oregon is currently a national leader in biofuel requirements even without a LCFS. The state already mandates ten percent ethanol in each gallon of gasoline and five percent biodiesel in every gallon of diesel sold in Oregon. To unilaterally increase those already strict standards would be useless and economically dangerous. The ODEQ should make those obvious findings and report them to the Legislature as directed.

Oregon must NOT adopt a Low Carbon Fuel Standard. Any hope of a meaningful economic recovery depends on avoiding the LCFS like the economic plague that it will certainly bring to Oregon.

Please remember, if we do not stand up for rural Oregon no one will.

Best Regards,

Doug

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