America’s Green State
The Climate Change crisis is the biggest environmental issue facing Oregon. The most important step I will take as governor will be using my leadership role to push for a federal solution, while also taking actions here in Oregon to continue to curb our carbon footprint. In particular, I will tackle the three primary causes of carbon emissions in Oregon: Cars, Coal and Buildings.
I can accomplish this goal because I have already been a leader in Climate Change. I was appointed by Governor Kulongoski to chair the Oregon Sustainability Board, and I also have been appointed to sit as a member of Oregon’s Global Warming Advisory Commission. In 2006, I was one of the first 50 people to be trained by Al Gore to give the An Inconvenient Truth slide show and since then I have delivered over 240 Climate Change in Oregon presentations that directly address the dramatic local impacts of climate change. Climate Change is not only a moral obligation and a great challenge, but it also presents real opportunities to strengthen our economy, schools and the environment.
I support job creation and supporting growing an economy based on sustainability, and Liquefied Natural Gas terminals do not fit that goal.
I am opposed to LNG because I believe it makes little sense to invest time and money in a fossil fuel that will simply delay addressing the inevitable fact that we must transition to a renewable energy future. He would instead like to see time and money invested in helping renewable industries grow in Oregon – industries that will be around for the next century, paying living wages to thousands of Oregonians.
As a state legislator, I developed the Salmon Trout Enhancement Program, which brought together private citizens, groups and businesses in salmon and trout enhancement activities. I then served as Executive Director of For the Sake of the Salmon from 1995 to 1999 – a non-profit organization dedicated to finding common ground between business owners and environmental groups for salmon restoration in Oregon, Washington, and California.
Clean Energy Policy
In Oregon, we are blessed with many renewable resources, and we are leading the nation in sustainability. We must celebrate our successes and continue to plan for the sustainable future of Oregon.
In order to succeed, businesses need stability from the government to make wise decisions. We need to support programs already in place and continue to encourage innovation and conservation. To achieve these goals we need to:
1. Continue to advocate for a federal Cap on Carbon – to encourage development of clean energy and slow climate change
As a state, it is our responsibility to limit our carbon footprint, and to pursue reduction strategies.
2. Work to remove carbon-based sources of energy in Oregon
- Prohibit new construction of coal-fired power plants.
- Work with utilities to phase out existing coal-fired power plants in Oregon and neighboring states.
- Invest in real renewable solutions, not false solutions like LNG.
3. Develop Mandates – both short and long-term goals – for the amount of energy that must come from renewable sources
- Encourage expansion of the Renewable Portfolio Standard and the variety of energy sources used to meet the RPS – including up-and-coming technologies with demonstrated rates of success
- Promote development of real feed-in laws (feed-in tariffs), whereby anyone can generate renewable energy and make it available on the grid.
4. Increase carefully designed incentives and funding from the state to support Oregon’s renewable energy sector. These credits will also be used to help draw employers here, to both create jobs and secure Oregon’s clean energy future.
- Continue to work with the BETC to spur energy development until companies become profitable
- This includes incentives to encourage emerging projects, local and community-owned energy projects
- This can also include innovation for street car, plug-in hybrids, electric cars, renewable energy technologies wave, geothermal, tidal.
- Save money for the consumer by developing distributed energy systems utilizing Combined Heat and Power, CHP, “Smart Grid” technology, District Energy, and cost effective methods of energy storage.
5. Promote energy efficiency as the fastest, cleanest, and cheapest way to meet Oregon’s energy needs.
- According to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, 85% of the new demand for electricity over the next 20 years in the Northwest can be met by using energy more efficiently.
- Efficiency increases also aid consumers because new generation is costly (requires building plants, new transmission, new distribution systems)
- I will remove any existing barriers to energy conservation and ensure energy efficiency and demand side management (DSM) are prioritized.
- Increase programs for weatherization
6. Promote progressive regulation that spurs private economic development
This could include regulations of energy efficiency standards for new commercial development and matching California’s new energy efficiency standard for flat screen televisions.
7. Promote jobs and job training for the new sustainability-oriented work force.
- Increase loans available to small- and medium-sized businesses through the Bank of Oregon
- Continue to require sustainability and green building in decisions made by our state government, and encourage cities and counties to follow suit
- Increase funding for community colleges and higher education to make job training more readily available
8. Facilitate development of the smart grid through research, development, and demonstration of the technologies.
- The smart grid is a long term program that can help provide better incentives for efficiency improvements and aid in capacity.
- Facilitate creation of good policy to drive investments in infrastructure.