SOURCE: Oregonians for Sound Fuel Policy

Oregonians for Sound Fuel Policy

February 04, 2015 21:08 ET

Oregonians for Sound Fuel Policy: Committee Ignores Testimony, Votes to Pass SB 324

PORTLAND, OR--(Marketwired - Feb 4, 2015) - Oregonians for Sound Fuel Policy released the following statement after a public hearing Wednesday on Oregon's Low Carbon Fuel Standard:

"This afternoon, Oregon Senate Bill 324 moved out of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee on a partisan, 3-2 vote. SB 324, which would extend and enable Oregon's experimental Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) beyond its current Dec. 31, 2015, sunset date, will now go to the full Senate for a vote.

"OSFP is deeply disappointed with the outcome of the committee vote. Despite hearing extensive testimony from a large number of citizens and small businesses opposed to SB 324, and despite hearing overwhelming testimony regarding the uncertainty, complexity and questionable science surrounding a LCFS, the committee still pushed it through on a partisan basis.

"A LCFS in Oregon will increase fuel costs while also creating a complex new set of regulations to facilitate the purchase of credits in an experimental energy market. This amounts to a hidden gas tax for Oregonians, but a gas tax that will not in any way go to help fund Oregon road or bridge improvements. 'Blended fuels have an adverse impact on the performance of some though not all vehicles,' said Craig Campbell of AAA Oregon. 'The LCFS will increase the cost on the motoring public without a commensurate benefit to the motoring public by way of improvements to the transportation system.'

"The OSFP and other groups have proposed LCFS alternatives that are technically feasible -- through electric vehicle, hydrogen or natural gas programs, for example. We welcome any opportunity to work with the governor and legislative leaders to explore and develop these options. We strongly believe that options such as these offer greater environmental benefits and pose fewer consequences for Oregonians.

"In written public testimony supplied to the committee, Frank Holmes of the Western States Petroleum Association said, 'We respect the state's desire to be a leader in environmental policy, but in this instance, the potential unintended consequences of experimental policies like those embodied in the LCFS are simply too great.'

"During the SB 324 hearing process, other organizations spoke to how the LCFS program would be particularly burdensome to rural communities and to low-income and working Oregonians. Curtis Martin, a rancher from Baker, Oregon, and former president of the Oregon Cattlemen's Association, said, 'The increased costs of (the) LCFS will threaten the economic viability and continuity of our family ranch.' He added: 'We not only will pay more for our needed supplies, we will receive less value for our product because of the increased freight cost.'

"Ray Sieler, general manager of the Tillamook People's Utility District, said, 'Low-income and working rural families will be hardest hit under the LCFS.' Seiler, describing how the LCFS would transfer money from low-income Oregonians to wealthier private businesses and individuals, concluded his testimony by adding 'this program is truly regressive.'

"Following the committee vote, OSFP is also deeply concerned that LCFS may derail any meaningful transportation package in Oregon this biennium. It will be very hard for the Oregon Legislature to pass significant legislation for the purposes of road and bridge improvements if Oregonians are also asked to pay more at the pump for LCFS. If roads and bridges are the trade-off for LCFS, it seems the Legislature will have chosen politics over sound policy."

Oregonians for Sound Fuel Policy is a coalition of fuel users, consumers and business organizations opposed to the adoption of the proposed Low Carbon Fuel Standard, or LCFS. For more information, visit www.OregonFuelPolicy.com.

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