Law to curb Oregon's greenhouse gas emissions passes House

Law to curb Oregon's greenhouse gas emissions passes House

Credit: kgw.com photo/graphic

Smog haze over downtown Portland.

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by By JEFF BARNARD, AP Writer

kgw.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 3:26 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 6 at 1:22 PM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- The Oregon House on Friday passed a piece of the governor's global warming legislative package designed to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks over the next decade through new standards for fuel, tires and replacement parts.

The vote in Salem was 32-28.

Inspired by steps taken by California, the bill gives the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission authority to develop standards reducing the carbon footprint of gasoline and diesel fuel by 10 percent by the year 2020, set mileage standards for tires, and require large and medium-size trucks to be more aerodynamic.

It also would require repair shops to make sure tires are inflated for the best fuel mileage, make available replacement parts that help reduce carbon emissions, and prohibit trucks from wasting fuel by long-term idling.

The bill now goes to the Senate.

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"While only one piece of my overall climate package, House Bill 2186 represents one of the most important actions we can take to ensure Oregon meets our statutory greenhouse gas reduction goals, encourages investments in cleaner transportation fuel options, and creates a greener and healthier Oregon for everyone in the years to come," the governor said in a statement.

'09 Legislative Session

Chris Hagerbaumer of the Oregon Environmental Council said the bill would help Oregon break free of dependence on foreign oil, save consumers money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

But oil industry lobbyist Brian Doherty warned that there is no alternative to current fuels available in commercial quantities right now that could get Oregon to the goal of reducing the carbon footprint of gasoline and diesel 10 percent by the year 2020.

Both corn-based ethanol and soy-based biodiesel have bigger carbon footprints, he said.

Rather than imposed limits, Doherty said, oil companies would rather see some kind of market-based system, such as a national or regional cap and trade system, to draw down greenhouse gas emissions.

The House was also expected to vote on a bill that came out of the backlash over the 2007 requirement to add ethanol to gasoline. Many consumers complained that gas with ethanol reduces their mileage and could damage boat, aircraft and other engines.

House Bill 3177 would allow premium gasoline to be sold without ethanol.

Doherty said he doubted things would change in Oregon even if the entire 2007 requirement to include 10 percent ethanol in gasoline was dropped, due to federal standards.

Meanwhile, ethanol continues to be part of President Barack Obama's plans for promoting renewable energy, despite concerns that ramping up corn production to make it poses other environmental problems.

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