Federal court sides with environmental advocates, upholds Oregon's clean fuels … – OregonLive.com
SALEM — A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit aimed at blocking the rollout of Oregon’s clean fuels program.
In her decision, U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken waved off arguments from oil and trucking industry advocates that the program, which requires fuel distributors to cut carbon emissions 10 percent by 2025, discriminates against fuel importers and looks to regulate out-of-state businesses.
“On its face, the Oregon program rewards all investment in innovative fuel production, irrespective of where that innovation occurs,” Aiken wrote.
The court’s decision handed a win to environmental groups, who joined the state in fighting the lawsuit and fended off a push to repeal the program in the 2015 legislative session. Another lawsuit is pending in the Oregon Court of Appeals. Three proposed ballot measures and continued political pressure are also targeting the program.
“Over the last year, we’ve seen that oil companies will stop at nothing to take away our clean air in order to benefit their bottom line,” Andrea Durbin, executive director of the Oregon Environmental Council, said in a statement. “The decision today shows that we can do things the Oregon way: Reward innovation, protect our clean air and communities and provide drivers with more choices in how they fuel up. Oregon’s laws will not be held hostage.”
Republicans have said they’ll continue to block a funding package for road fixes if the program isn’t repealed. The Department of Environmental Quality estimates that the program could increase gas prices between 4 and 19 cents a gallon by 2025.
“The courts aren’t going to solve this problem,” said Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day. “It’s up to Oregonians to solve this problem.”
— Ian K. Kullgren