Oregon governor considers Clean Fuels Program sunset date bill

By Erin Voegele | March 06, 2015

Legislation that aims to repeal the Dec. 31, 2015 sunset date of Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program has been sent to the governor for consideration. The bill, S.B. 324, was passed by the Oregon House of Representatives on March 4 by a single vote, with 31 state representatives voting in favor of the measure and 29 voting against it. The bill passed the Oregon Senate on Feb. 17 by a vote of 17 to 13.

The process to establish the Oregon Clean Fuels Program has been ongoing for several years. The program was first approved by the state’s legislature in 2009. The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission adopted rules for the first phase of the program in December 2011.  Those rules allowed the department to collect information on fuels that were being imported into the state, enabling the creation of a baseline against which future reductions could be measured. The DEQ was directed to draft rules for Phase 2 of the program in February 2014, and an advisory committee met last year to provide input on program design. A comment period on the Phase 2 rules was also held last year. It closed Nov. 7.

On Jan. 7, the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission voted 4 to 1 to approve rules for the second phase of the Oregon Clean Fuels Program. The program, which is similar to California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, requires a 10 percent reduction of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from transportation fuels over a 10-year period. The rules took effect Feb. 1. 

Now that phase two of the program is being implemented, state lawmakers who support the initiative are working to remove the sunset date, ensuring the program will continue past the end of 2015. 

According to information published on the Oregon Legislature website, the governor has five days to take action on the bill.