Oregon Extends its Clean Fuels Act

This is an article from Gemma Renton

At the end of February 2015, a significant and important decision was made by the Oregon State Senate. The State’s Clean Fuels Act, which was originally passed in 2009 and was due to expire in 2015 has been extended, meaning its 2015 expiration date no longer applies. This particular act requires all oil and gas producers within the state to reduce their CO 2 emissions created from the burning of fossil fuels by at least 10 percent over the next decade. This new bill sends a firm message to oil and gas producers that Oregon wants cleaner fuels and that we care about the effect our fuel production has on the planet. It also carefully positions Oregon as one of the States leading the fight against climate change.

Not Without Scandal

Of course a bill such as this is not without its objectors, and so far it is surrounded by controversy and objection. The bill was only passed by a 17-13 vote, so even within the Senate itself there were doubts and objections about the effectiveness of such a widespread policy. There are concerns about the cost of the act, and climate change doubters are even throwing into dispute that there is a problem for the Clean Fuels Act to solve. Of course, the loudest objections to the bill are currently coming from the fuel production industry itself. Money is always at the root of objection in these kinds of issues, and the financial cost of addressing climate change is a huge concern for corporations across the country. The system proposed by the Clean Fuels Act is designed to financially punish distributors who are selling dirty oil whilst simultaneously rewarding those companies that have the cleanest oil. This means that whilst they may object, those companies that don’t get on board with the act will be financially penalized: something that no big business wants.

Minimize the Impact

One of the main objections to the Clean Fuels Act is that it will dramatically affect the price that regular hard working families will pay for their fuel at the pump. State Republicans and members of the Western States Petroleum Association have estimated that the effect of the bill will be gasoline prices that are between 33 cents and $1.06 per gallon higher than they are right now. This is just guesswork however, as there is no real knowledge at this point of how exactly the clean fuels act will actually effect gas prices at the pump. Of course, whether they are proven to be accurate or not, these figures are a concern for ordinary people who simply want to get to work, balance their books, and not spend more than they have to on their everyday expenses. But the fact is, climate change is a very real and very scary proposition. It is happening right now and if we don’t begin to reverse it then it will soon be too late.

Our rivers, streams, air quality and natural beauty spots are already being affected by the by-products of oil and gas production. Manufacturing, the by-products of the pharmaceutical industry, and even the dangers posed by landfill sites are also having a direct and devastating effect on the world we live in: many of the horrible effects of climate change on our natural world already cannot be reversed. If we want to preserve the quality and standard, not only of our beautiful state but also the delicate balance of the world around us, for our children and our grandchildren then we really don’t have any choice but to act now. That doesn’t mean that if there is any financial impact of the Act that we can’t take steps to minimize those: carpooling and private commuter services offered by companies such as ours can and will both benefit the environment whilst simultaneously cutting down your commuting costs. Why not start doing your bit right now? Look into eco-friendly carpooling and help to minimize the environmental impact that your daily commute is having.

 

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