Speaking today at a seminar sponsored by the University of Oregon, Senator Michael Dembrow and Representative Karin Power stated that they intend to introduce cap and invest legislation by the end of this month. The system is aligned with the Western Climate Initiative, the members of which include California and Quebec.
The general idea is to set a limit on carbon emissions from certain sectors of the economy, including power generation and transportation. Regulated entities in those sectors will be required to obtain carbon emission allowances for their emissions. The overall total of allowances will decline each year in accordance with Oregon’s carbon reduction goals. It appears that some allowances will be given to the regulated entities and the remainder will be auctioned. Initially, regulated entities will be able to satisfy up to 8 percent of their allowances using carbon offsets.
Revenue from the auctions will allocated into four general areas: greenhouse gas reduction projects, adaptation strategies, carbon sequestration, and transition assistance. The focus of transition assistance is to help people and companies adjust to the reduced-carbon economy.
Governor Brown has proposed that a new agency be formed to implement the legislation. The “Oregon Climate Authority” would consolidate some existing climate change programs at Ecology, Energy, and the PUC and take responsibility for implementing the cap and invest program.
Senator Dembrow hopes to have a bill-signing ceremony on April 22, 2019.