Representative Vic Gilliam:A hydrogen economy is the way

Representative Vic Gilliam is moving full-speed ahead with hydrogen as a powerful energy source.
By Rebecca Tweed
Taxpayer Association of Oregon Lawmaker Profile

Representative Vic Gilliam (R””Silverton) has introduced legislation that advances one of Oregon’s richest potential energy sources by empowering the Public Utilities Commission to recognize hydrogen hub technology. He hopes this bill will advance a viable renewable resource centered here in the Northwest. A hydrogen economy can reduce our foreign oil consumption, strengthen existing businesses, including agriculture, and cost very little in public funds. “It’s fiscally and environmentally responsible and entirely business-friendly. We have every reason to implement new green ideas,” says Representative Gilliam. “While my party is in the minority, we’re locked out of some of the bigger economic decisions for our state, but we still can succeed in the seemingly small things that will have a significant effect on our energy future.”

During his freshman term in 2007, Gilliam introduced HR 1 which passed through the House unanimously, recommending hydrogen become a top priority of any current or future renewable energy research, policy and programmatic initiatives by the State of Oregon.

This session, HB 2940 takes Oregon a step closer to making this exciting new technology a reality. The piece of hydrogen legislation that Vic Gilliam originally introduced this session almost didn’t make it due to a print error. Chris Edwards (D””West Eugene) who was sponsoring similar legislation, reached across the aisle and added key points to this bill. The House passed HB 2940, 59-1 and now it’s in the hands of the Senate- Vic Gilliam is expecting the bill to pass. “I can’t think of any logical reason that this will be seen as a political issue””who wouldn’t be interested in increased forms of generating electricity for our state? It’s smart, progressive and economically wise,” Representative Vic Gilliam said.

This bill specifically affects Vic Gilliam’s district because of hydrogen’s malleability within products frequently used in agricultural areas””fertilizer. If stored, hydrogen can be a fertilizer bi-product in place of fertilizer made with fossil fuels, thus reducing carbon emissions. The impact of more environmentally-farm-friendly products would be significant; given Oregon has an estimated 17.1 million acres of agricultural land.

“The beauty of hydrogen is its versatility in how it may be used. We’re still developing the possibilities, but we know for a fact that it can be combined with existing energy sources,” says Representative Vic Gilliam. “Hydrogen is clean, renewable, requires virtually no new infrastructure and is here in the Northwest- I think that is something we can all be excited about.”

Vic Gilliam Biography: Over 25 year career as a development executive with non-government organizations including Willamette University, OHSU foundation, International Youth Foundation and Mercy Corp. Legislative aide to US Senator Mark O. Hatfield. Appointed by Gov. Tom McCall, confirmed by the Oregon Senate, to a term on the Educational Coordinating Council.