Oregon PSR's 2019 Legislative Agenda

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Oregon PSR is committed to advancing health protective bills and stopping harmful legislation during the 2019 Oregon State Legislative Session, which began on January 22nd and runs through June. Take a look at our ever-evolving agenda for the Oregon Legislature and contact our lobbyist if you would like to learn more and/or help us pass these important pieces of legislation. 

Cleaning up Dirty Diesel Engines

  • Bill Number: TBD
  • Position: Support
  • Summary: Pollution from Oregon’s diesel emissions causes 460 premature deaths and 145 heart attacks each year, in addition to other serious health ailments that cumulatively cost the state more than $3 billion annually. We have a unique opportunity to use Oregon dollars from the 2016 Volkswagen settlement of a civil lawsuit against their emissions violations to bring Oregon's engines up to a 95% cleaner standard that has already been adopted in California. Oregon PSR supports legislation that commits all of these funds to mitigating the harmful health effects of diesel pollution, especially for those most affected, including low-income communities and communities of color. For more information, read our factsheet on diesel particulate matter and health. 
  • Note: we are not supporting HB 2063, the Volkswagen spending bill that would put 15% towards vehicle electrification, because there are other funding sources for electrification and the Volkswagen settlement offers a rare opportunity to maximize our mitigation of diesel vehicles in the communities that need it most.

Carbon Cap-and-invest ("Clean Energy Jobs," Oregon Carbon Action Program/OCAP)

  • Bill Number: HB 2020
  • Position: Watching
  • Summary: For many years, supporters of a market-based system of capping and pricing greenhouse gas emissions have attempted to pass legislation to regulate carbon dioxide emissions and force the biggest polluters to buy and trade credits for their emissions, investing the proceeds in clean energy projects and job training. The political atmosphere in 2019 has many thinking that it's now-or-never for a carbon cap-and-invest bill. Oregon PSR raised serious concerns about some of the weaknesses in the cap-and-invest bills considered in the 2018 legislative session, and remains wary of the consequences of a watered-down version of this bill including exemptions for major polluters, and loopholes for dirty energy sources (such as nuclear, forest biomass, and incineration of medical and municipal waste). This session's current bill language is not strong enough from Oregon PSR's perspective to effectively curb greenhouse gas emissions and create substantial investments in clean energy and impacted communities. We are working to advocate for improvements to the current bill draft.

Joint Memorial on Nuclear Weapons

  • Bill Number: TBD (LC 3676)
  • Position: Support
  • Summary: Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility and partner organizations are working with Senator Michael Dembrow to introduce a joint memorial urging congress to lead a global effort to reduce the threat of nuclear war. The memorial details the the negative impact of nuclear weapons on Oregonians, including the financial trade-offs of spending Oregon taxpayers’ money on nuclear weapons rather than on critical needs such as education, health care and the environment. It highlights the people most affected by nuclear weapons and honors Oregonians who have worked for nuclear abolition. The memorial declares Oregon’s support for the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which was passed by the majority of countries in 2017. It also affirms Oregon’s support for federal legislation to lessen the risk of nuclear war sponsored by members of our congressional delegation. 
  • Take Action: Sign our Petition to Oregon's legislature to support the Nuclear Weapons Memorial

Oil Train Safety

  • Bill Numbers: SB 99, HB 2064, HB 5009
  • Position: Support
  • Summary: Oregon communities continue to be at risk due to unsafe crude oil trains and a lack of emergency response preparation. This threat was illustrated in June 2016 when an oil train in Mosier, OR derailed and spilled oil that leaked into the Columbia River, causing a large fire near homes and an elementary school. These bills would require the state’s approval of contingency plans and training for oil train-related spills, fees on railroad operators used to improve oil spill response and establish funding for emergency preparedness, adequate insurance for railroads to cover true worst-case oil train derailments and oil spills, and 24-hour notice that oil trains will be passing through a certain area.

Stopping Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)

  • Bill Number: SB 444
  • Position: Oppose
  • Summary: Oregon's 1980 nuclear reactor law bans all nuclear reactors in the state unless the United States licenses a deep geological repository for nuclear waste and Oregon voters approve a new reactor at the ballot box. SB 444 would create a carve-out from this law for small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs), allowing Oregon cities and counties to license reactors under 300 megawatts of electrical output without a safe destination for the waste they would produce. The Oregon House of Representatives struck down a nearly identical bill to this one sponsored by the same State Senator (Brian Boquist, R-12) in 2017 after hearing testimony from Oregon PSR and our partners. This year, once again, we will work to block SB 444 and keep Oregon's common-sense public health laws strong.

Gun Violence Prevention

  • Bill Number: Many bills, visit Ceasefire Oregon's website for comprehensive list
  • Position: Support gun violence prevention measures
  • Summary: Gun violence has reached epidemic proportions in our state and nation and should be understood and treated as a public health crisis. There are many bills related to firearms that will be put forth to the Oregon legislature this year. Some of the ideas we support include safe firearm storage regulations, increasing the minimum age for firearm purchases to 21, and banning assault rifles and high capacity magazines. Stay tuned for our sign-on letter for health professionals to join us in supporting bills which decrease gun violence and save lives.

Energy Equity at the Oregon PUC

  • Bill Number: HB 2242
  • Position: Support
  • Summary: The Oregon Public Utilities Commission (PUC) regulates and sets rates for the customers of private utilities including Portland General Electric and Pacific Power. This bill would authorize the PUC to consider differential energy burden and other inequities of affordability in rates. HB 2242 would also create a Low-Income and Environmental Justice Advocate position at the PUC to intervene on commission proceedings related to utility consumers from low income or environmental justice communities. HB 2242 would also allow the PUC to provide financial assistance to stakeholders from low income and environmental justice communities wishing to participate in public input on regulatory processes.

Household Hazardous Waste 

  • Bill Number: HB 2772
  • Position: Support
  • Summary: This bill establishes product stewardship program for household hazardous waste. It requires initial plans for household hazardous waste stewardship programs to be submitted to Department of Environmental Quality no later than April 1, 2021. 

Oregon Fracking Ban

  • HB 2623
  • Position: Support
  • Summary: Places a 10-year moratorium on the use of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas exploration and production in the state of Oregon. In 2017 a similar bill passed the Oregon House of Representatives in a bipartisan 33-25 vote only to be abandoned by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources. This year's Chief Sponsors are Rep. Julie Fahey, Sen. James Manning, Jr., Rep. Ken Helm, Rep. Rob Nosse, Rep. Karin Power, and Rep. Tawna Sanchez. The bill will be heard in the House Committee on Energy and Environment on an as-yet-undetermined date.