Energy Trust of Oregon budget grows 480% in last 8 years
State Senator Larry George
Salem, OR Â— While more than 8 out of every 10 Oregon classrooms are considered substandard from years of unfunded maintenance needs, the Energy Trust of Oregon has grown from an original budget of $30 million in 2001 to $146 million today. Senate Bill 476 would redirect $100 million to pay for energy upgrades, renewable energy and conservation efforts for schools and local governments.”This is a question of priorities; what do we value most, energy conservation for classrooms or corporate give-aways?” said Senator Larry George (R-Sherwood), one of two chief sponsors of SB 476 along with Senator Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose). “The unchecked growth in this program has left Oregon classrooms in the dust while big corporations can feed at the government trough.”
Watch George petition his Senate colleagues to hear Senate Bill 476.
In 2001, the Energy Trust of Oregon was established by rule of the Public Utility Commission to oversee a portion of the 3% public purpose charge leveled on Oregon utility ratepayers. The self-appointed board at the Energy Trust of Oregon now hands out more than $120 million every two years in large part to high-priced consultants and out-of-state corporations while schools go without vital energy conservation dollars.
Senate Bill 476 would free $100 million to create better learning environments, significantly save schools energy costs in the long term and create over 4600 jobs. The bill is supported by Innovation Partners, a non-profit aimed at solving community problems like the classroom maintenance crisis with creative, sustainable solutions.
“Classrooms are crumbling and maintenance schedules are falling further and further behind,” said Ruth Scott of the Center for Innovative School Facilities. “This bill is the best hope of creating learning environments that breeds knowledge and save schools money. With a modest allocation of the public purpose charge to school facilities Oregon has the opportunity to begin to catch up with the rest of the nation. These funds would have a three-fold benefit by creating jobs, improving the learning environment and reducing Oregon’s carbon footprint while delivering annual public cost savings.”
Senate Bill 476 is currently in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee chaired by Senator Jackie Dingfelder (D-Portland).