The trucking industry is trying to block Oregon’s lower carbon fuel standards. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Oregon’s new governor Kate Brown two weeks ago signed into a law a bill requiring distributors to reduce the carbon “intensity” of vehicle fuel by 10 percent over the next decade.
Now the American Trucking Associations has joined with the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers and the Consumer Energy Alliance in suing Oregon to block the fuel standards.
“The Oregon program is set up to give a big boost to Oregon’s small biofuel industry, without reducing net greenhouse gas emissions, and at the expense of higher fuel costs for everyone,” said ATA Vice President for Energy and Environmental Affairs Glen Kedzie. “Unfortunately for Oregon, the Constitution doesn’t allow states to set up these kinds of trade barriers in order to promote in-state businesses, nor does it allow Oregon to regulate how fuel is produced in other states.”
The trucking group contends that the Oregon law will hurt out-of-state refiners and producers and thus violate the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.
Brown said she signed the bill because it will help counteract “the effects of a warming planet. This year, 85 percent of our state is experiencing drought, with 33 percent experiencing extreme drought.”
She noted that her state’s Pacific Coast neighbors, California, Washington, and British Columbia, have launched their own lower carbon emissions programs, “which will shape the West Coast market,” and therefore “it is imperative not only that Oregon does its part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also that we build a program that meets the needs of Oregonians.”
Brown, a Democrat who had been serving as Oregon’s secretary of state, became governor last month when Gov. John Kitzhaber, also a Democrat, resigned amid federal and state investigations into potential conflicts of interest and influence peddling involving his fiancée, green energy consultant Cylvia Hayes.
Oregon House Minority Leader Mike McLane, a Republican, insinuated during the final House debate on the bill that it might have been improperly influenced by Hayes. “We need to know who influenced who, and was that influence improper or illegal,” he said.