Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Time to act: Transition from coal bill nears a vote

Source: http://ecowatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/bigcoal3.jpg
Jim has been devoting a lot of time to this piece of legislation. ThinkProgress has a nice summary.

The Oregonian, the state's largest newspaper, is not happy about any of this. Nick had a very good letter published: 

The Oregonian was quick to trumpet the words of John Savage and others on the Public Utility Commission (PUC), a committee of unelected bureaucrats who oversee Oregon utilities. The PUC has a history of refusing to support clean energy; its objections to the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan are just more of the same. Part of the reason we need this legislation in the first place is that the PUC has failed to push utilities toward renewables. One case in point: In 2010, the PUC decided Portland General Electric's Boardman coal plant could continue polluting until 2020, despite immense public support for a speedier cleanup. Now members are incensed because Oregon's elected legislators have the temerity to go where the PUC won't. Sorry, but that's democracy. Oregonians are ready for clean energy even if the PUC isn't.

More pro-coal editorials drove Jim over the edge; he submitted this letter Sunday, but he doesn't think it will be published. Too bad. I think it is pretty funny.

To the editor:

The continuous pro-coal cacophony from the Oregonian Editorial Board (“Oregon's no-coal 'accounting scheme' and its phantom benefits”,”Kate Brown doubles down on muzzling of no-coal plan critics”) is NOT as mysterious as the nocturnal shrieking in Forest Grove.Surely, it is just like the shrieking of the Koch brothers, ALEC, and their allies. They can no longer claim that global warming doesn’t exist. So their argument became that global warming is too large a problem for us to deal with at the state level. But seventy percent of Oregonians think we should be doing something about it now.

Support for legislation moving Oregon away from burning coal is so strong that even the public utilities support it. But not the Oregonian Editorial Board.

So the new argument is that someone else is going to burn that coal. Just like someone else is going to buy that ivory. Someone else is going to eat that dolphin. Someone else is going to buy that DDT. So WE must keep burning coal because someone else will too. Ridiculous.

Global warming is real, it is a serious problem that requires the efforts of everyone including the OEB, and continued burning of coal is not commensurate with keeping our planet below 2°C of warming.

The time to act is now. We need to transition Oregon away from relying on electricity from coal. We must act and convince other states to do the same.


This bill is nearing a vote in the Oregon House and will probably go to the Oregon Senate for a vote tomorrow or Thursday. If you are an Oregon resident, please contact your state senator and urge them to support Senate Bill 1547.

You can find your state legislators here.

UPDATES: 11:15 AM. Debate in the House is finishing now. I'm watching online.
It just passed the House. House Republicans are now caucusing in the back of the chamber.

13:30  Here are the votes:first, an attempt to substitute the minority measure; second, the bill itself.

Motion to substitute Minority Report for Committee Report failed.Ayes, 24; Nays, 34--Barker, Barnhart, Barton, Boone, Buckley, Clem, Doherty, Evans, Fagan, Frederick, Gallegos, Gomberg, Gorsek, Greenlick, Helm, Holvey, Hoyle, Keny-Guyer, Komp, Lininger, Lively, McLain, Nathanson, Nosse, Piluso, Rayfield, Read, Reardon, Smith Warner, Taylor, Vega Pederson, Williamson, Witt, Speaker Kotek; Excused, 2--McKeown, Nearman. 

 Third reading. Carried by Vega Pederson. Passed.Ayes, 38; Nays, 20--Barreto, Bentz, Davis, Esquivel, Hack, Hayden, Heard, Kennemer, Krieger, McLane, Olson, Parrish, Post, Smith, Sprenger, Stark, Weidner, Whisnant, Whitsett, Wilson; Excused, 2--McKeown, Nearman.

UPDATE March 2. Senate was scheduled to meet at 08:30. Finally there is a quorum at 13:00.


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