Salem, OR—(Salem, OR) — Standing with business and labor leaders, Governor Kitzhaber today announced a new initiative to maximize the economic development potential of clean fuels in Oregon, directing the Department of Environmental Quality to move forward with full implementation of Oregon's Clean Fuels Program and announcing a new Clean Fuels Work Advisory Committee.
“We have the opportunity to spark a homegrown clean fuels industry right here in Oregon – an industry with a big impact in communities urban and rural alike,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “I'm committed to using every tool at my disposal to support 21st century industries and innovation, and to attract investment and new jobs to our state.”
While the state is well positioned to take advantage of a clean fuels industry cluster, Oregon's Clean Fuels Program is in a state of suspended animation. DEQ has only partially implemented the Clean Fuels Program passed by the Legislature in 2009. The program was designed to reduce the carbon intensity of fuels by 10 percent over 10 years, and while DEQ is collecting fuel data from producers and importers, it has not yet implemented the program's carbon reduction requirements.
With today's directive from the Governor, DEQ will fully implement the Clean Fuels Program, providing regulatory certainty for companies looking to invest in Oregon jobs, alternative fuels and vehicles, with big impact all over the state.
"At the Port of Morrow here in Eastern Oregon, we're connecting Oregon farmers with Oregon innovators and processors to national and international markets. And clean fuels are a big part of that story," said Gary Neal, General Manager of the Port of Morrow. "This 'clean fuel cluster' is key to creating good, family wage jobs in our community."
Delaying full implementation of the Clean Fuels Program has had real economic and environmental consequences. In 2012, Oregonians sent more than $6 billion out of state to import gas and diesel, while homegrown, low carbon fuel producers remain locked out of a promising market. There are no oil refineries in Oregon, but there are biofuel producers, feedstock growers, a burgeoning electric vehicle industry, and propane, natural gas, and other innovative fuel companies ready to invest in the state if they have regulatory certainty.
"Oregon consumers need market access to cheaper, cleaner fuels, and our state needs more manufacturing and living wage jobs," said Neil Koehler, CEO of Pacific Ethanol. "We've only scratched the surface of the potential for a clean fuels industry that captures a portion of the billions we spend on gasoline every year and keeps it here — in Oregon — to grow, produce and deliver fuels that benefit our communities. The Clean Fuels Program is a great start."
In addition to directing DEQ to move forward, the Governor also announced a new Clean Fuels Work Advisory Committee. The committee is made up of both business and labor leaders, and will help answer questions about how to leverage the potential of clean fuels in Oregon and accelerate job creation and investment:
Robert Carrick, Daimler North America
Jill Eiland, Intel
John Mohlis, Oregon State Building Trades Council
Margaret Kirkpatrick, Northwest Natural
Gary Young, IBEW Local 48
Bob Levy, Windy River
Curtis Robinhold, Port of Portland
Darren Engle, Blue Star Gas
Neil Koehler, Pacific Ethanol
Gavin Carpenter, SeQuential Biofuels
Ryan Deckert, Oregon Business Association
Rachel Wray, 503-559-1277