Enviros drop 112-page amendment surprise at last minute

By Taxpayers Association of Oregon


Hb 3409 was a simple three sentence bill.

Now at the end of Session and at nearly the last possible minute, environmentalists are working to gut-and-stuff this tiny bill with a massive 112 page amendment.   The bill is up for a possible vote on Monday and the public is still trying to figure out what is in it.  Analysis here.

To the best of our first-reading analysis this is what the bill appears to do:

– The bill gives power to several agencies to enact rules requiring home/commercial construction/transportation projects and heat pumps to follow in order to meet certain arbitrary government benchmarks.  We fear that this would give power to un-elected State Agencies the power to force rules on taxpayers without public hearings and a vote by the elected Legislature.  The bill analysis in one area reads “ODOE may impose civil penalties for noncompliance”.  Could this power be abused to ban natural gas construction in new homes?  Limit parking spaces in construction buildings?  Mandate higher-cost home products for new homes (washer, dryer, water heaters)?   The analysis says at one point “this measure could cause increased building cost.”

– This amendment allows the Environmental Quality Commission to create their own fee.

– The bill gives more power to the Governor by allowing her agency and agency representatives to direct tens of millions of tax dollars to special environmental funds for what appears no oversight or consent from the people’s elected lawmakers.   The bill creates several funds to take this free pile of millions of dollars of tax funds, such as the Agriculture Natural Climate Solutions Fund, Forestry Natural Climate Solutions Fund, Watershed Natural Climate Solutions Fund, and Fish and Wildlife Natural Climate Solutions Fund.

This bill could increase the cost of housing and construction at a time of an affordable housing crisis.   This bill could increase transportation costs when Oregon is among the highest gas tax and auto fee states in America.    This bill could increase energy costs during a near-historic high in inflation.   The public might now know the full impact of the bill until after it is passed because this bill is moving so fast.   This is unacceptable.

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