State Legislature: the Environment a Report from Addie Greene

Although HB2020, Oregon’s cap and trade bill, was stymied when 11 Senate Republicans fled the state, the Legislature had a landmark year supporting Oregon’s environment and natural resources. The seven bills are:

            SB 90, which bans single-use plastic straws at restaurants, unless requested by a customer. It will take effect January 1, 2020.

            SB 256, which prohibits the Department of State Lands from leasing submerged and submersible lands within the territorial sea for exploration, development or production of oil, gas or sulfur or for activities in furtherance of exploration, development or production within federal waters adjacent to the territorial sea. Sen. Jeff Golden was a sponsor.

            SB 1044, which requires that 25 percent of new light-duty vehicles purchased or leased by state agencies to be zero-emission vehicles by 2025, with exceptions, and requires all light-duty vehicle purchases by state agencies to be zero-emission vehicles by 2029. It also allows funds received by school districts from electric companies to be used for fleet audits and allows districts that have completed fleet audits to purchase zero-emission vehicles and charging stations. Framers of the billed noted that the “transportation sector is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions” in Oregon.  Rep. Pam Marsh was a sponsor.

            HB 2007, which invests in clean diesel upgrades to reduce carbon emissions. It applies only to Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington counties.

            HB 2509, which prohibits restaurants from providing single-use checkout bags to customers and requires retail establishments to charge not less than five cents each for recycled paper checkout bags, reusable fabric checkout bags or reusable plastic checkout bags provided to customers, except in certain circumstances. This brings the entire state in line with Ashland, which has banned plastic bags in grocery checkout lines and charged 10 cents a bag for paper bags in checkout lines since 2014. Packaged bulk items, frozen food, meat, fish, newspaper bags, door hanger bags, laundry bags, and bags sold in a package are exempt. There also are waivers for participants in the Women, Infants, and Children Program and benefit transfer cards issued by the Oregon Department of Human Services.

            HB 2623, which bans fracking in the state of Oregon. It sunsets January 2, 2025. Rep. Pam Marsh was a sponsor.

            HB 2209, which requires railroads that own or operate high hazard train routes to have oil spill contingency plans approved by the Department of Environmental Quality. It sunsets January 2, 2027.