On June 1, 2016, the Governors of Washington, Oregon and California joined British Columbia’s Environment Minister and representatives from six West Coast cities, in the Borgia Room of San Francisco’s Westin St. Francis Hotel, to sign what history may show was a key milestone in the struggle to mount a concerted defence against the ravages of global temperature rise. The 2016 Pacific Coast Climate Leadership Action Plan has a strong emphasis on issues like ocean acidification; the integration of clean energy into the power grid; “support for efforts by the insurance industry and regulatory system to highlight the economic costs of climate change; and so-called “super pollutants” (also known as short-lived climate pollutants).” This sounds good, but do the Pacific Coast’s “Climate Leaders” mean business?
Six years ago, Oregon passed legislation requiring fuel distributors to cut the carbon in fuels by 10%. This has never been put into effect. Indeed, the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission only approved the final rules last January. On March 4, the Oregon House of Representatives approved SB 324 – which will allow this legislation into effect. Starting in 2016, distributors will be required to cut the carbon in their fuels by ¼%. This percentage is to reach 10% by 2020. The Clean Fuels Program is expected to keep 7 million metric tons of carbon pollution – the equivalent to 37,500 rail cars of coal – out of the atmosphere. Though the legislation has a built in mechanism to protect the industry, which would suspend the program if prices rise above 5% (about 12.5 cents) on a 12-month rolling basis, the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) responded by taking legal action. It has only been a few months since the media revealed how Oregon “grassroots” opposition was “funded” & “activated” by the WSPA.