Oregon rules take aim at greenhouse gases, auto industry
By Lee van der Voo
Sustainable Business Oregon contributing writer
Oregon is pursuing some aggressive policies that could drive the electric vehicle industry forward, but an engineer from Mitsubishi, maker of the iMiEV, says the rules are overkill.
Oregon is pursuing two controversial rule changes intended to reduce greenhouse gases.
While the pair of policies is among the most contentious proposed by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, state officials say they combine to promote a cleaner environment and innovation in the EV and fuels markets. Critics, however, say the state is over-reaching, and that federal standards achieve the same results with more uniformity.
Both rules follow the lead of trend-setting California, including a Clean Fuels plan that hinges on legislation tied to a lawsuit.
The policies were debated Wednesday in a forum that pitted the state’s chief air quality administrator, Andy Ginsburg, against Mitsubishi Motors’ top engineer, David Patterson.
The duo was part of a forum hosted by Drive Oregon and Portland law firm Lane Powell. The presentation, called “Policies Driving Increased EV Sales,” also included the Oregon Environmental Council’s Jana Gastellum, program director for climate protection, who added points in support of the Oregon proposals.
The Clean Fuels program will be formally proposed in May and aims to reduce the carbon emissions of fuels imported into Oregon. Though a similar California program was challenged in a lawsuit by Midwest ethanol producers — they argue it interferes with interstate commerce — a stay blocking its implementation was lifted last week.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, through an advisory committee, has meanwhile developed its own version of the program, which will allow for public input this quarter. If approved, the program would collect greenhouse gas data from fuel importers for two years before those businesses — between 20 and 30 of them — would be regulated, following approval by the legislature.
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