Recently, Oregon’s House of Representatives kept up the energy behind the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition bill (HB 4036) with a bipartisan vote to pass the clean energy legislation. While many Oregonians used this holiday weekend to enjoy the great outdoors, legislators got down to business in a bipartisan 39 to 20 vote to support a bill which sets Oregon on a path to eliminate coal from powering our homes and businesses, while simultaneously doubling the amount of clean energy — like wind and solar power — used in Oregon.
The Clean Electricity plan was crafted by bringing diverse parties to the table — the investor owned electric utilities, environmental and consumer organizations, and the renewable energy industry — and the vote reflected the wide support of the bill. Community leaders from across Oregon praised the legislature’s action:
“The whole country is in the process of transitioning away from coal. HB 4036 will put Oregon out front as a leader in this effort and replacing coal with clean, home grown, renewable energy. It’s a solution that has proven to be good for our environment and our economy—and it’s what the people of Oregon want.” – Rachel Shimshak, Executive Director, Renewable Northwest
“We know communities of color and low-income communities are hit first and worst by environmental hazards, pollution and climate change. Among those living within 30 miles of a coal plant, 39 percent are people of color. By phasing coal out of Oregon’s energy mix we send a big message to the country: coal’s impact on public health and climate change will no longer be acceptable. By focusing on equity in climate and environmental legislation, we can help ensure the health, economic and environmental benefits of bills like HB 4036 provide opportunities for those already facing the worst pollution.” – Maggie Tallmadge, Environmental Justice Manager, Coalition of Communities of Color
“Today’s bipartisan vote is a big step forward, positioning Oregon again as a leader on clean energy and climate. Oregonians want clean energy and healthy, breathable air, and HB 4036 moves our state in the right direction.” – Doug Moore, Oregon League of Conservation Voters
“Across the country, states and communities are transitioning away from coal and toward more clean energy. We have that opportunity today here in Oregon. House Bill 4036 will bring more clean energy jobs to our communities, protect consumers, and affirm our state’s commitment to acting on climate change. Today’s vote is an important step in the right direction. We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that our elected leaders move our state forward by approving this important legislation.” – Andy Maggi, Sierra Club
The Citizens’ Utility Board’s economic analyses demonstrate that HB 4036 will protect the future affordability and reliability of electricity for Oregon utility ratepayers. While the costs of coal powered electricity have and will continue to go up, the costs of renewables go down. This bill establishes the best energy policy for all Oregonians. We commend our Representatives for their bi-partisan support in passing this important legislation. — Bob Jenks, Executive Director, Citizens’ Utility Board (CUB) of Oregon
“Decisions are being made right now by utilities about what kind of energy will power our future. Coal is costing us, and that price will only continue to rise. That’s why we are so pleased to see Representatives from both sides of the aisle recognize that now it the time to set Oregon on the right path: towards cleaner air and a healthier future for generations to come,” says Oregon Environmental Council’s Andrea Durbin. “The Clean Electricity and Coal Transition bill will ensure that Oregon’s power is clean and affordable and that our state continues to lead the way towards a better climate future.”
“Today’s bipartisan passage of the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan is a major step toward making Oregon a leader in clean energy and climate protection. The support of more than 100 businesses shows that a healthy economy and a healthy climate go hand in hand.” – Kristen Sheeran, Oregon Director, Climate Solutions
“By expanding the state’s renewable portfolio standard to 50 percent by 2040, Oregon can stay ahead of the curve and increase reliable, renewable sources of energy that produce no carbon pollution. HB 4036 will help maintain low and stable electricity prices for consumers and businesses and cement Oregon’s place as a national leader in clean energy. Wind power has already attracted $6.2 billion in total capital investment to Oregon, causing many wind companies to locate their national headquarters in the state, and moving to 50 percent will continue that trend of economic investment.” – Tom Kiernan, CEO, American Wind Energy Association.