Oregon commission adopts strongest clean fuel standards in US

FILE - woman charges electric car
FILE - woman charges electric car
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 2:16 PM PDT
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SALEM Ore. (KPTV) - The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission voted on Friday to adopt the strongest emissions standards in the country, according to the Oregon Environmental Council.

The new rules will expand the existing Clean Fuels Program and are intended to reduce transportation emissions to 20% below 2015 levels by 2030 and 37% below 2015 levels by 2035.

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“The Clean Fuels Program is a proven example of how the transition off of harmful fossil fuels can create jobs and support vibrant local economies in Oregon,” said Nora Apter, Climate Program Director for the Oregon Environmental Council. “We’re thrilled that the EQC has taken this step, and we look forward to working to maximize benefits under the program, such as affordable and accessible access to public charging stations for electric vehicles, especially for BIPOC and rural communities.”

The Department of Environmental Quality said in a statement that the transportation sector is the largest single source of carbon emissions in Oregon. Since 2016, the program has contributed to reducing 7.3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions and replaced 1.5 billion gallons of fossil fuels with cleaner, renewable and electric options.

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“The Clean Fuels Program is one of Oregon’s most successful statewide policies for addressing the state’s contribution to global climate change and expanding its targets will brings us nearer to achieving those goals,” the DEQ said.

The new policies will support program targets:

  • Provide lower-carbon fuel providers with valuable incentives.
  • Increase availability and lower the cost of low-carbon liquid fuels for internal combustion engines.
  • Support transition to zero emission technologies like electric and fuel cell vehicles.
  • Reduce tailpipe air pollutants that disproportionately harm communities that live near transportation corridors.

“Everyone in Oregon pays for the damage caused by burning fossil fuels with their health and their pocketbook,” said Jessica Nischik-Long, Executive Director of the Oregon Public Health Association. “[The program] not only reduces the pollution that causes climate change, but it also reduces exposure to things like diesel engine exhaust and invests in healthier solutions.”