Gov. John Kitzhaber, D-Ore., recently announced a new initiative meant to maximize the economic development potential of clean fuels in Oregon, directing the state's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) 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,’ says 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.”
According to the governor, however, DEQ had only partially implemented the Clean Fuels Program, which was passed by the state legislature in 2009. The program was designed to reduce the carbon intensity of fuels by 10% 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, Kitzhaber adds.
He says delaying full implementation of the program has had real economic and environmental consequences. In 2012, Kitzhaber claims Oregonians sent more than $6 billion out of state to import gas and diesel; meanwhile, the state is home to biofuel producers, feedstock growers, a burgeoning electric vehicle industry, as well as propane, natural gas and other alternative fuel companies.
In addition to directing DEQ to move forward, the governor has announced a new Clean Fuels Work Advisory Committee. According to Kitzhaber, 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.