Clean Energy Jobs Bill: A sneak-peek

Mary Kyle McCurdy
Tue, 10/17/2017 (All day)

Oregon legislators are leading an effort to refine a Clean Energy Jobs bill for the 2018 legislative session, which will cap and price certain greenhouse gas emissions.  The bill will invest the proceeds statewide to ensure the benefits of transitioning to a clean energy economy and environment are shared by all, and any burdens are mitigated.  Four work groups have been established, consisting of legislators and interested groups including agriculture, environmental organizations, community-based organizations, business associations, tribes, forestry, utilities, communities of color, and others.[1] 

1000 Friends staff is sitting on three of these work groups. We support investments that focus on equity, taking into account that the burdens of climate change fall disproportionately on Oregon’s more vulnerable underserved and lower income urban and rural communities and economies.

Preservation of Oregon’s carbon-absorbing farms, forests, and ranchlands is one of the most significant carbon mitigation investments the state can make. Through targeted investments in projects such as forest resiliency, energy-efficient water delivery and irrigation measures, strategically placed solar and wind facilities, clean energy jobs training, and more, the legislation can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions while benefiting the social and economic needs of rural agricultural and forest communities.

Similarly, investment in transit, walkable neighborhoods, safe bicycle infrastructure, and affordable and diverse housing in places served by these reduces greenhouse gas emissions while providing housing and transportation opportunities to vulnerable communities.  Lower-income households living near transit drive less than half as many miles as wealthier households. In California, creating 15,000 new affordable homes near transit keeps over 1.58 million metric tons of greenhouse gases out of our air.[2] Therefore, California is investing in building just that – affordable housing near transit.  

The benefits from this policy could be even more pronounced in Oregon, where almost 40% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions come out of the tailpipes of automobiles and light trucks. Moreover, we have an in-place structure of compact urban growth that amplifies the magnitude of these investments because they are more effective here.

Oregon’s land use planning program is a ready-built system that makes much of these investments not only easier, but also integrates them into one another.

 

[1]https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/senatedemocrats/Documents/CleanEnergyJobsStatement.pdf

[2] Why creating and preserving affordable homes near transit is a highly effective climate protection strategy, TransForm, 2014 http://www.transformca.org/transform-report/why-creating-and-preserving-...