HB 2020 Oregon Cap and Trade FactSheet
The proposed HB 2020 legislation would have significant and lasting impacts on natural gas rate payers. Customers from all rate classes would experience rapid and increasing costs for simply heating their homes and businesses. The chart below shows the weighted average rate impact for all residential and commercial customers in Oregon, as well as by each of the three LDCs.
The current HB 2020 proposal gives free credits to Oregon’s electric utilities in recognition of the prior legislatively mandated green initiatives. It treats the more than two million Oregon residents and businesses who rely on natural gas for warmth, comfort and productive energy differently, ignoring the strides that Oregon LDCs and their customers have made in reducing emissions through system maintenance, modernization and efficiency initiatives. Consider:
• Emissions from residential and commercial* use of natural gas make up about 6% of total statewide GHG emissions according the Oregon Greenhouse Gas Sector-Based Inventory
• Emissions from residential and commercial use of natural gas have increased only 2 percent since 2000. Oregon has added more than 200,000 new natural gas homes (41% increase) and almost 20,000 new businesses (23% increase) over the same period.
• Each Oregon home heated by natural gas emits 29% less carbon than it did in the year 2000. Each commercial natural gas customer emits 19% less carbon than in 2000.
• We burn more natural gas in Oregon to generate electricity than homes and commercial entities combined use directly to heat space and water.
These achievements are not the result of legislation, but that does not make them any less real, nor reduce the commitment required by families, businesses and LDCs to see them through.
HB 2020 as currently composed is punitive to Oregon’s natural gas customers and unfair. The state is already seeing emissions reductions from the transition to and increasing reliance on natural gas as a cleaner, reliable fuel for generating electricity. The state is also seeing significant emissions-related benefits by virtue of the highly efficient direct use of natural gas for residential and commercial space and water heat. All natural gas utility customers should receive a fair share of allowances to mitigate rate impacts.
*The commercial sector includes businesses (e.g. restaurants, breweries, laundromats, etc.), buildings and institutions (e.g. schools, universities, hospitals, etc.) that use natural gas for space and water heat.
The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce submitted a neutral testimony to the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction’s hearing at Springfield City Hall on Friday, February 22nd. After careful consideration of the bill, and analysis by a study group including executive board and Government Issues Committee members, the Chamber came to the conclusion that a statement advocating for a voice for business in the fine-tuning of the bill was needed. The testimony can be read in full below.
“Welcome to Springfield, and thank you for taking the time to hear from your constituents. I’m speaking today from a position of neutrality in regards to the proposed Cap and Trade legislation, HB 2020.
The Springfield Chamber is comprised of over 750 employers located across Lane County, primarily in the Springfield, Eugene, and immediate surrounding communities – the majority of which are small to medium size businesses anchored and invested in our communities. They provide living wage jobs fundamental to our economy, and a tax base that sustains our schools, public services, and quality of life amenities. They are primarily locally owned and operated businesses, many whom you have heard from, and who – along with their employees, average wage earners, and members of our community – will carry the costs to implement Cap and Trade policy.
The economic health and vitality of our community is inextricably tied to that of our business community. And we are empathetic to local small and medium sized employers who have questions and concerns about the need, timing, and the costs of HB 2020.
We as a state are a leader in renewable energy and have the 6th lowest per capita emissions in the country. Significant new laws passed in recent years, already in place and designed to reduce greenhouse gases are just beginning to make an impact. We applaud policy-makers for action toward those gains, and recognize business and industry compliance and investments that have contributed to that progress. And, we seek a voice to those who will bear the costs and challenges brought forward by HB 2020.
– We ask that the Committee listen intently to concerns of all Oregonians as you host hearings across the State;
– That you provide consensus-building leadership, and work with your constituents on outcomes that indeed balance environmental protection with economic stability and opportunity in communities like ours;
– We ask for transparency and opportunity for input and engagement from business and industry throughout the legislative amendment process;
– We ask that you invite representatives of our communities – citizens, business, industry, and local elected officials – to the table during any future rule-making and implementation should an Oregon Cap and Trade policy ensue.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony on this important issue of interest and impact on our community.”