Gov. Ted Kulongoski has signed a package of bills expected to level off greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon by next year.
The seven bills, meant to help combat were signed Wednesday at the University of Oregon Lundquist College of Business in Eugene, Ore.
""These bills are the next step in growing our green economy, lessening our dependence on foreign sources of fossil fuel and ensuring clean air, cleaner burning fuel and energy efficient buildings and homes that save money and protect our environment," Kulongoski said. "These policies secure Oregon's position as a national leader in climate change policy while also expanding economic opportunity in clean, green jobs across the state."
The governor's top priority, capping carbon emissions and creating a marketplace to trade offsets, failed to gain traction as Congress took over the issue and recession made anything costing money difficult to pass.
Those that did will reduce emissions from cars and trucks through a low-carbon fuel standard, promote solar energy for homes and energy efficiency upgrades for homes and businesses, and control emissions from power plants and industry.
Sallie Schullinger-Krause of the Oregon Environmental Council said the new laws and others from 2007 should come close to meeting the Legislature's goal of leveling off greenhouse emissions by 2010. But the next goals of reducing emissions below 1990 levels by 10 percent by 2020 and 75 percent by 2050 will take more action.
"What do we do after this to maintain a downward trend in the face of things like population growth and economic growth so we are on target to meet the 2020 goal.
Evan Manvel, legislative affairs director for the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, said he expected the bills would produce green jobs and help reduce the amount people pay for energy, showing the Legislature that "we can move forward on climate without harming individuals or the economy, in fact benefiting them."
-- House Bill 2186 gives the Environmental Quality Commission authority to develop standards to lower the carbon coming from fuel for cars and trucks. It expires in 2015.
-- Senate Bill 38 helps the state track greenhouse gas emissions by expanding reporting requirements to include imported electricity, natural gas, and transportation fuel.
-- Senate Bill 79 creates new building codes to increase energy efficiency in homes by 10 to 15 percent and commercial structures by 25 percent, and a system of rating buildings similar to mileage ratings for cars.
-- House Bill 2626 authorizes financing to promote energy efficiency upgrades in homes and businesses that can be paid back on utility bills.
-- Senate Bill 101 blocks new coal-fired power plants by requiring new power plants to give off no more carbon than one powered by natural gas.
-- House Bill 3039 directs the Public Utility Commission to create a pilot program promoting home solar energy by paying homeowners for power that goes into the grid.
-- House Bill 3464 requires that 2 percent of diesel sold statewide be biodiesel.