States: Oregon governor’s resignation may doom state LCFS

Source: By Inside EPA • Posted: Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The fallout over the resignation of Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) could include the defeat of pending legislation to implement a full-scale low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) in the state, primarily because the legislation is backed by an organization that paid Kitzhaber’s fiancee to lobby for the LCFS.

Kitzhaber’s fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, who served as an unpaid policy adviser for the governor’s office, collected more than $100,000 in fellowship and consulting fees from the Clean Economy Development Center, a Washington-based nonprofit, for work on the LCFS legislation in Oregon, according to multiple reports. Hayes is also accused of using her relationship with Kitzhaber to land contracts for her green-energy consulting business.

Kitzhaber had been under pressure for weeks to resign for unethically allowing Hayes to profit by influencing Oregon policies through his office.

Legislation, including SB 324, is pending in the Oregon legislature to repeal a Dec. 31 expiration date for the state’s Clean Fuels Program, which would allow a full LCFS regulation to be implemented. The standard would be similar to California’s LCFS, which requires fuel providers to reduce the carbon intensity of gasoline and diesel 10 percent by the end of 2020.

Sources with several major environmental groups that have advocated in recent weeks in favor of the legislation either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment on the potential impact Kitzhaber’s resignation could have on the LCFS legislation.

Oregon is part of the “Pacific Coast Collaborative,” a partnership created in 2013 that also includes California, Washington and British Columbia. The collaborative in 2013 agreed to an “action plan” to reduce greenhouse gases and promote clean energy. The non-binding agreement in part commits the states and province to implementing and maintaining LCFS programs in each jurisdiction.