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air pollution from gas power plant
A climate protection plan that exempts gas power plants(?!)
January 22, 2021

In my last blog post, I wrote about how Oregon's Environmental Quality Commission was stacking the Climate Protection Program (formerly cap-and-reduce) rulemaking advisory committee with more voices from the fossil fuel industry, as compared to those representing Tribes, environmental organizations, scientists, public health experts, or frontline communities.

​​​​During the first meeting of that committee, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) proposed exempting Oregon's fossil gas power plants from the Climate Protection Program. DEQ also is considering a number of additional exemptions for industry and oil companies. Worse still, DEQ has refused to commit to strong targets for climate pollution reductions through the program, most notably an interim target.

This is not a good start for regulations dubbed the “Climate Protection Program,” but DEQ still has time to course correct. As the champion of Oregon's Climate Action Plan, let’s urge Governor Kate Brown to instruct her regulators to step up to the plate.

Nobody should get a free pass to pollute.

Gas power plants are our state's largest individual sources of climate pollution; excluding them from climate protection regulations is unacceptable. Instead of looking for ways the exempt and appease polluters, DEQ should be designing the strongest possible climate protection program.

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NOTE: Our friends at Renew Oregon are leading this write-in effort; clicking the button above will take you to their website.

To learn more about some of the red flags popping up as the rulemaking kicks off, our friends over at the Environmental Defense Fund offered up some helpful insights in a recent blog post.  The Rulemaking Advisory Committee will continue to meet monthly through June to hammer out the details of the Climate Protection Program and there will be numerous opportunities for public comment along the way.  

DEQ has set up a webpage where all of the rulemaking info will be housed and we’ll continue to keep you posted on how you can help move the ball forward. 

Author Bio

Zach Baker

Oregon Policy Manager, Climate Solutions

Zach works to advance policies that address climate change and accelerate the transition to clean energy in Oregon. 

Zach brings to his work over a decade of policy and advocacy experience focused on protecting the environment and promoting public health.  His experience spans the local, state, and federal policy levels and he has served in a variety of capacities, including serving as a City Councilor in Corvallis, Oregon.  Immediately prior to joining Climate Solutions, Zach worked with the Center for Climate Change and Health to launch a national initiative to engage health professionals in state climate change policy. 

Zach holds a law degree from the University of Oregon with a focus in Environmental and Natural Resources Law and a BA from Tufts University in political science and community health. 

When he’s not advocating for climate policies, Zach enjoys riding his bike, hiking a trail, and enjoying Oregon’s agricultural bounty.