by Rep. Mike Nearman
Well, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard bill, SB 324, passed the House by one vote and is on the way to Governor Kate Brown for her signature. I was proud to have voted no on this. It’s a bad idea, for several reasons.
It’s going to cost Oregonians more at the pump. The DEQ estimates are from 4 to 19 cents per gallon. Industry estimates are higher. There’s hardly an industry or household in Oregon that won’t be hit by this price increase. Simply, this is not what the not-yet-fully-recovered economy of Oregon needs.
It’s not going to help the planet much. Automotive fuels contribute about 30% of the greenhouse gasses in Oregon, so for starters, the most we’re going to impact is less than a third. By law, we blend 10% of our fuel with ethanol, so of that third, we’re only going to impact 10% of that third, or 3% of the total greenhouse gasses. Of that 3%, we already have a mandated low carbon blend that is very near what is technically and economically possible, so it won’t even be 3%.
What’s really frustrating is that, in the midst of discussions about raising the gas tax – a tax increase that I’m not really inclined to support – none of the increase in the price of gas will go toward fixing roads and bridges. Not one penny.
Instead, fuel suppliers who are unable to blend to the standard, will have to buy carbon credits from identified “green” producers who may or may not reside in Oregon. We need to ask what relationship these “green” producers have to the crafters of the bill, the former Governor or his fiancée.
The only remaining unasked question is one I have for the good folks of the local farm bureaus in my district. That is, “Where are you going to plug in the electric tractor?”
State Representative Mike Nearman (R-Independence) hates paying more for energy. He can be reached at [email protected]