Background

Employers have long demonstrated their commitment to preserving our state’s environment and natural resources while also providing critical necessities like energy, food, products and jobs. Many have acted ahead of regulations to reduce their environmental impacts.

However, Oregon’s regulated community is taking on more than ever before. Increased stringency and complexity in environmental programs continue to require employers to make costly investments. Regulatory requirements should not burden Oregon businesses unduly or place them at a competitive disadvantage.

 

Policy Objectives

OBI’s priorities for energy, environment, natural resources, air and water policy will be guided by these principles:

Climate Policy: OBI recognizes that the business community plays an important role in leading a lower-carbon economy and we support state greenhouse gas emissions reduction policies that:

  • Result in actual global greenhouse gas reductions
  • Are not used as a general revenue source
  • Are focused on positive environmental and economic outcomes
  • Are fair and affordable for all Oregonians
  • Do not result in a competitive disadvantage to Oregon businesses
  • Do not focus on a single sector of the economy
  • Address the unique challenges of Oregon’s diverse business sectors
  • Are commensurate with the state’s emissions relative to global emissions and goals
  • Nurture Oregon-based innovation
  • Include adaption and mitigation strategies for long-term planning
  • Provide regulatory and compliance certainty for businesses

Biofuels, Renewable Fuels and Biomass: OBI supports state and federal incentives to promote use of biofuels, renewable fuels, and biomass. OBI opposes new laws and regulations that burden the use of these fuels and/or energy recovery from otherwise discarded or disposed material.

Chemical Use Laws: OBI supports laws and regulations that advance the safe and responsible use of chemicals as long as they are based on sound science and recognize that many safety regulations are currently in place. When sound science identifies the need for chemical regulations, OBI supports state laws that are consistent with federal laws and not unnecessarily duplicative. OBI oppose the addition of burdensome state regulations that do not align with other state and federal regulations.

Consistent Regulatory Authority: OBI supports the consistent and uniform application of state regulatory and permitting authority related to air, water, cleanup and energy. OBI opposes new, expanded or duplicative regulatory requirements at the local level.

Permitting and Other Fees: Fee structures should support regulatory certainty and serve the needs of the regulated community. Fees must support workable and reasonable permit programs vetted by industry and processed with clear conditions and timelines to minimize impact on business operations. OBI opposes fee increases that are not accompanied by proportional increases in non-fee funding. OBI opposes fee increases to support programs that do not meet the needs of the regulated community. We oppose fees that are not tied reasonably to environmental benefits and those that are assessed inequitably among regulated entities. OBI also opposes the addition of local fees that impose unreasonable cost burdens or are duplicative of existing program fee structures.

Energy Infrastructure: OBI supports cost-effective state and federal policies that facilitate the planning, permitting and construction of electric, natural gas and alternative energy infrastructure.

Food Innovation: OBI supports policies that advance Oregon’s food and beverage industry in the areas of research and development, workforce and market development, and distribution infrastructure.

Forest Resilience: OBI supports the role active forest management plays in preserving forest health, increasing productivity and reducing wildfire risk.

Franchise Taxes: OBI seeks to ensure any increase in franchise taxes is justified by commensurate benefits to consumers.

Government Procurement Protocols: OBI opposes unduly burdensome requirements on governmental purchasing protocols.

Departments of Agriculture and Forestry: OBI supports the current regime, in which environmental activities relating to agriculture and forestry are regulated by their respective departments.

Mass Timber: OBI supports policies that encourage the development and use of mass timber products.

Oregon Agricultural Heritage Program: OBI supports statewide incentives that encourage agricultural landowners to keep land in agricultural protection while supporting fish, wildlife, or other natural resource values on those lands.

Renewable Portfolio Standards: OBI supports increased flexibility within the portfolio with appropriate rate protections.

Tax Incentives: OBI supports incentives for environmental investments that exceed federal requirements, improve environmental outcomes and enhance Oregon’s economy.

 

Air Policy

Objective and Timely Regulation: OBI supports unbiased and prompt processing of state and federal permits and other actions.

State Environmental Impact Statements: OBI generally opposes the imposition of new layers of regulatory oversight and permitting. OBI opposes the establishment of a state environmental impact statement program.

Ambient Monitoring: OBI supports funding for additional monitoring of state air quality as long as the regulatory community is not required to support increased monitoring with unreasonable fee increases.

Federal Delegation: OBI supports federal delegation of programs to the state level for implementation.

Air Quality Regulations: OBI supports workable air quality laws and regulations that do not place Oregon businesses at a competitive disadvantage or inhibit economic activity. Regulations should have clearly identified and scientifically supported justifications.

Exceptional Events: OBI seeks to ensure that industries are not penalized or disadvantaged for natural events, such as wildfires, that are outside of their control

Core Regulatory Programs: Given limited funding, core regulatory programs must be prioritized over emerging programs that increase regulatory requirements and stretch DEQ staffing. OBI opposes new regulatory programs that are not scientifically supported or do not seek to resolve environmental challenges first through existing regulatory channels.

 

Water Policy

Objective and Consistent Regulation: OBI supports the unbiased and prompt processing of state and federal permits and other actions.

Water Storage and Delivery: OBI supports innovative solutions to address increasing competition for scarce water resources that balance the needs of irrigated agriculture, municipal and industrial demand, hydropower, and sustainable fisheries. This includes continued investment in infrastructure for new storage, withdrawals from the Columbia River and other rivers to improve efficiency.

State Environmental Impact Statements: OBI generally opposes the imposition of new layers of regulatory oversight and permitting. OBI opposes the establishment of a state environmental impact statement program.

Effluent Trading: OBI supports the creation of voluntary and equitable trading and market-based options for effluent reductions and habitat improvement.

Ambient Monitoring: OBI supports funding for additional monitoring of state water quality as long as the regulatory community is not required to support increased monitoring with unreasonable fee increases.

Water Quality Regulations: OBI supports workable water quality laws and regulations that do not place Oregon businesses at a competitive disadvantage or inhibit economic activity. Regulations should have clearly identified and scientifically supported justifications.

Federal Delegation: OBI supports federal delegation of programs to the state level for implementation.

Core Regulatory Programs: Given limited funding, core regulatory programs must be prioritized over emerging programs that increase regulatory requirements and stretch DEQ staffing. OBI opposes new regulatory programs that are not scientifically supported or do not seek to resolve environmental challenges first through existing regulatory channels.

COMMITTEE CHAIRS:

Calli Daly, Koch Industries, Inc.

Annette Price, PacifiCorp

Download OBI’s 2022 Policy Principles

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