SALEM, Ore. – Oregon will establish some of the most aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals in the country under a bill signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Ted Kulongoski.
Gov. Kulongoski signs off on greenhouse gas bill
SALEM, Ore. – Oregon will establish some of the most aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals in the country under a bill signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Ted Kulongoski. Passed by the 2007 Oregon Legislature, the measure aims to cut the state’s emissions 75 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 as part of an effort to curb global warming. “Global warming is an issue that impacts all of us and requires immediate attention,” Kulongoski said as he signed the bill that creates a commission on global warming to recommend to state and local governments ways to reduce the emissions. It earmarks $180,000 for a climate change institute within the Oregon University System. The new law was one of the measures passed in a legislative session dominated by energy and environmental legislation that aims at positioning the state as a leader in the emerging clean energy economy. Under the bill, the state will aim to stop growth of greenhouse gas emissions by 2010, reduce the emissions 10 percent below 1990 by 2020 and arrive at 75 percent below 1990 levels in 2050. At Tuesday’s bill signing, Kulongoski was joined by representatives of 14 Oregon wineries that announced their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make their operations more environmentally friendly. They said they would take steps such as using biodiesel fuel in their tractors, relying more on solar energy and wind power and switching to more energy-efficient light bulbs and heating systems in their winery operations. “At the end of the day, we’re farmers,” said Eric Lemelson, owner of Lemelson Vineyards in Carlton. “We realize that our climate is already warming and becoming less predictable. The continued success of our industry depends on slowing global warming.” Kulongoski, meanwhile, called the greenhouse gas bill “another important step forward” in the state’s efforts to curb global warming. He mentioned the state’s 2005 program to limit vehicle tailpipe emissions as well as passage this year of a new law requiring Oregon’s largest electric utilities to draw 25 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2025. The global warming commission that’s being set up under the bill signed Tuesday is likely to consider a “cap and trade” system for the state’s electric utilities. Such a system would reduce pollution by requiring utilities to meet tough emissions standards. Utilities that cut their emissions even further could then sell the right to emit what they don’t.