Background

Oregon has been a national leader in protecting its environment while demonstrating that the thoughtful use of its natural resources can benefit its citizens and economy. The state’s businesses have been key partners in such efforts. They have helped implement and sustain such landmark policies as the bottle deposit bill and the state forest practices act to many regulatory programs that exceed federal standards.

Oregon’s early emphasis on both conserving and using its natural resources became a potent force in attracting businesses that shared these values. Many businesses, in fact, have taken measures to operate more sustainably before the adoption of regulation.

Others have led innovations that reduced not only their own environmental footprints, but those of other employers and consumers as well. Oregon’s businesses remain dedicated to operating in a manner that benefits Oregon’s people and economy while also sustaining the state’s natural environment.

However, Oregon’s regulatory environment has become increasingly complex, and a profusion of new, poorly coordinated and sometimes conflicting policies has made compliance difficult and expensive. This regulatory environment is diminishing the competitiveness of businesses, discouraging investment and even causing companies to reconsider their presence in Oregon. Regulatory programs must focus on achieving clear objectives that will protect the environment and the public without imposing excessively burdensome and costly requirements.

 

Policy Principles

Climate Policy: The business community plays an important role in transitioning to a lower-carbon economy and many sectors have made major strides in increasing efficiency and reducing energy use. We support state greenhouse gas emissions reduction policies that:

  • Result in actual, net 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 adaptation and mitigation strategies for long-term planning
  • Provide regulatory and compliance certainty for businesses

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

Chemical Use Laws: OBI supports advancing the safe and responsible use of chemicals. OBI supports chemical laws that are based on sound science and recognize that many public health and consumer protections are currently in place. When sound science identifies the need for chemical regulations, OBI supports state-based laws that are consistent with federal laws and not unnecessarily duplicative. OBI opposes the addition of burdensome, state-specific regulations that do not align with other state and federal regulations.

Consistent Regulatory Authority: OBI supports the consistent and uniform state-level application of delegated air, water, cleanup, and energy regulatory and permitting authority. OBI opposes new, expanded, or duplicative regulatory overlays 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 permitting programs vetted by industry and processed with clear conditions and timelines to minimize impacts on business operations. OBI opposes fee increases that are not accompanied by proportional increases in non-fee funding; if a program does not meet the needs of the regulated community; or if used for unrelated/non-beneficial state activities or pass-through surcharges for other state agency activities. OBI opposes fees that are not reasonably tied to environmental benefits as well as those that are applied inequitably among regulated entities. OBI opposes the addition of local fees that impose unreasonable cost burdens or duplicative fee structures.

Energy Infrastructure: OBI supports employing and optimizing existing energy infrastructure. Further, we support cost-effective state and federal policies that encourage, incentivize, streamline, and facilitate the planning, permitting, and construction of upgraded, expanded new electric, natural gas and alternative energy infrastructure that sustain Oregon’s energy needs and provides for future economic development.

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

Forest Resilience: OBI supports active forest management to address and prevent tree-related disease, increase forest productivity, reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire, and provide both commodity and non-commodity values.

Franchise Taxes: OBI seeks to ensure that any expansion or increase of franchise taxes demonstrates consumer benefits that warrant added costs.

Government Procurement Protocols: OBI opposes the imposition of unnecessary or unduly burdensome requirements on governmental purchasing protocols.

Maintenance of Regulatory Application for Departments of Agriculture and Forestry: OBI supports the current regime wherein environmental activities relating to agriculture and forestry are regulated by their respective departments.

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

Renewable Portfolio Standards: OBI supports renewable power and the allowance of increased flexibility within the portfolio with appropriate rate protections in place.

Tax Incentives for Additional Environmental Investments: OBI supports tax incentives for additional environmental investments that exceed federal requirements, improve environmental outcomes and/or enhance Oregon’s economy.

 

Air and Water Policy

Consistent Regulatory Authority: OBI supports the consistent and uniform state-level application of delegated air, water, cleanup, and energy regulatory and permitting authority. OBI opposes new, expanded, or duplicative regulatory overlays at the local level. Programs must be consistent with their underlying statutes and not seek to expand DEQ authority beyond that delegated by the Legislature.

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

New State Environmental Impact Statements: Generally, OBI opposes the imposition of new layers of regulatory oversight and permitting, including a state environmental impact statement program.

Ambient Monitoring: OBI supports funding further monitoring of state air and water quality as long as increased monitoring is not financed primarily by unreasonable fee increases paid by the regulated community.

State Delegation of Federal Programs: OBI supports federal delegation of programs to the state level for implementation so long as delegated programs continue to serve the needs of the regulated community.

Exceptional Events: OBI seeks to ensure that industry is not penalized for events outside of industry’s or DEQ’s control. For that reason, OBI supports policies and proactive requests to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to exclude ambient monitoring data influenced by natural events, such as wildfires, in providing a representative dataset to use in air permit applications.

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 impacts on business operations. OBI opposes fee increases that are not accompanied by proportional increases in non-fee funding; if a program does not meet the needs of the regulated community; or if used for unrelated/non-beneficial state activities or pass-through surcharges for other state agency activities. OBI opposes the addition of local fees that impose unreasonable cost burdens or duplicate existing program fee structures.

Core Regulatory Programs: Given limited funding, it is important to prioritize core regulatory programs 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.

Reasonable Regulations: OBI supports air and water quality laws and regulations with which Oregon businesses can comply; that do not create competitive disadvantages relative to other states; and that do not inhibit economic activity without a clearly identified and scientifically supported basis for increased stringency that regulated entities can reasonably implement.

Water Storage and Delivery: OBI supports innovative solutions that address increasing competition for limited water resources that balance the needs of irrigated agriculture, cities and industry, hydropower, and sustainable fisheries, such as continued investment in infrastructure for new storage.

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

Water Quantity and Quality: Support regulatory structures that recognize the intersection of water quality and water quantity and the importance of balancing both to protect resources and support robust business operations.

Water Reuse: OBI supports legislative and regulatory efforts to develop programs that favor water reuse as a way to efficiently utilize limited water resources and maintain minimum stream flows to protect aquatic species.

COMMITTEE CHAIRS:

Calli Daly, Koch Industries, Inc.

Annette Price, PacifiCorp

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