Ore.’s low-carbon fuel standard faces an uncertain future

Source: E&E • Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A controversial low-carbon fuel standard in Oregon cannot be implemented until it passes a second time in the state Legislature, and it will not take effect until at least 2015, said Gov. John Kitzhaber’s (D) top natural resources adviser last week.

Under the new standard, fuel distributors would be required to cut the carbon in car and truck fuels by 10 percent over 10 years. The Legislature originally authorized the standards in 2009, and they were scheduled to go into effect last year.

However, concerns from fuel suppliers and a requirement that the standard does not increase costs at the pump have derailed the process. For the rules to be adopted in 2015, the Legislature will now need to lift a sunset date on the legislation.

Rules for the standard will still be drafted by Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality this year, although they may never take effect without the Legislature’s support.

Backers say the regulations could help Oregon reach its greenhouse gas reduction goals, while boosting local production of ethanol and biodiesel. Others have criticized the standard for unfairly penalizing fuels that are imported from out of state (Scott Learn, Portland Oregonian, April 20). — LJ