But he is also "president of the Western Canada Biodiesel Association" and hardly a neutral observer.
Over at the Oregon Economics Blog last month, Willamette Professor and economist Fred Thompson says,
[T]he efficacy of Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program depends upon the aggressive deployment of biomass on the assumption that the use of biofuels is carbon-neutral, that plants pull CO2 back from the air when they grow, offsetting the carbon emitted from burning them as fuel, which is all true. But diverting a cornfield or a forest to produce energy means not using it to do something else, like make food or store carbon. Consequently, using biomass to produce energy could change land uses, food supply and ecosystems without actually affecting climate change....There are plenty of reasons to be wary of the Clean Fuels program!
Unfortunately, the scoring used by DEQ (which they wanted to change but were prevented from doing so) ignores the ecological opportunity cost of alternative fuels.
It is also the case that the local producers supporting this program are almost entirely in the biofuels/biomass business. Moreover, they strongly opposed the DEQ’s rescoring to better account for ecological opportunity costs. Consequently, most of the purported gains from the Clean Fuels Program come from substituting biofuels for fossil fuels. Scoring of electricity is equally biased since it ignores the fact that, at the margin, electricity is produced by burning fossil fuels. None of the other options available are currently competitive with gasoline/diesel fuel, which is a pity.
IMHO, Oregon, like BC, needs a carbon tax...
Meanwhile, the Oregonian is reporting that they learned Thursday night
that eight lawmakers — named the Gang of Eight by Brown — had reached a tentative deal to swap Oregon's new clean fuels law for new carbon-reducing measures. The lawmakers, four Democrats and four Republicans, also agreed to raise the state's gasoline tax by 4 cents, to 34 cents a gallon, over two years to generate an estimated $200 million a year for transportation projects....And we don't have any idea on the project list the $200 million a year might fund. Would it be roadway expansion in the guise of "congestion relief"? Or would it devote meaningful funding to building out alternatives to drive-alone trips, to maintenance of existing roads and bridges, and to seismic retrofits of existing bridges.
Environmental groups that pushed hardest for the clean fuels program railed anew at the threat of repeal, despite estimates showing the new carbon reduction measures would be slightly more effective. They worried that, unlike the existing plan, the new one would shift some of the burden to taxpayers.
It's hard to feel good about any of this.
The recitation of bills is also a bit tedious, and it hardly seems like any interesting legislation will emerge this session.
Specific bike things:
- HB 3255 Originally requiring additional reflective clothing at night, but now with two sets of proposed amendments for a rear light instead of just a reflector at night. Looks dead.
- HB 2283 (remains a null speed bump bill for gutting-n-stuffing)
- HB 2621 for expanded photo speed enforcement pilot project in Portland. It had a hearing last week, but it may be struggling.
- HB 2736, gutted and stuffed - and would establish a Task Force on Vision Zero. Looks pretty dead.
- SB 463 would permit darker tints in car windows with "letter from doctor." It passed both House and Senate. I still wonder if your eyesight is this compromised, maybe you shouldn't be driving?
- HB 2002 The Portland BTA came out with a important observation about traffic stops, racial profiling, and vision zero. We need more enforcement for actually dangerous or unlawful behavior, and less "stop and frisk" for potential or phantom or trivial lawbreaking.
- HB 2281 Former speed bump bill. On road usage charges passed the House and is in the Senate with a "do pass" recommendation.
- HB 2274 Changes name of "Connect Oregon Fund." Maybe it's waiting on the transportation package - it's active with a Public Hearing and Work Session scheduled for next week.
- HB 5040 ODOT Biennial Budget. Lots of hearings - maybe this will be one of the vessels filled by the "transportation package"?
|This is a great illustration of modest density increase!|
(Image: Daniel Parolek, Opticos Design,
|This has a name! It's a "Bungalow Court"|
This one is on the 1200 block of Chemeketa,
and you will spot a few others around town
- SB 565 - Tax credit for rehab of historic properties. Probably dead.
- HB 2293, formerly one of the speed bump bills, has been gutted and stuffed: now it would "expand scope of long-range transportation plan. Requires [Oregon Transportation] commission to review and update plan at least once every six years." Looks dead.
- HB 2564 on inclusionary zoning. Passed the House, has a "do pass" recommendation in the Senate, but got sent back to committee. Hmm... Last week's Willamette Week had an interesting piece on apartments and rent and observed "In the roughly 500 cities that have tried inclusionary zoning, the policy has proven to be a powerful but complicated tool. Set the rules too lenient and developers wiggle out of building affordable units. Make it too strict and they don’t build at all." The Mercury has a counter. Both are worth reading. BikePortland has a piece on the "missing middle" in our debates about density.
- HB 2633 on improving planning for disasters. Got a major watering down in amendments, from "adopting administrative rules" to "providing guidance." It's in committee now. Hearing last week.
- SB 5502 concerning North State Hospital Campus. The "Enterprise Asset Management" line item went from $8.3 million for that project to $100 million for a whole lot more, and from the bill alone it is not possible to say what is envisioned. SCV has some thoughts from two weeks ago on it, but things might have changed since then. It's hard to say where things stand right at this moment.
- HB 3470: Requires Environmental Quality Commission to adopt by rule statewide greenhouse gas emissions limits for years 2020 and 2050 and to adopt interim statewide greenhouse gas emissions limits consistent with 2050 limit every five years. Early this month my notes say this has a work session scheduled, but now I do not see any evidence of one. Maybe it was cancelled. This bill may be dead now.
For all notes on the 2015 session, see here.