In the Courts

Business Groups File Legal Challenge Against Oregon Over Climate Plan Forcing 90% Emissions Cut

A coalition of a dozen Oregon business groups filed a legal challenge against the state’s aggressive climate plans, forcing a 90% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The groups filed a petition for judicial review with the Oregon Court of Appeals on Sunday, asking the court to consider whether the state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) overstepped its authority when it laid out the climate regulations, according to a copy of the filing. In December 2021, the agency unveiled its so-called Climate Protection Program (CPP) to “dramatically reduce greenhouse gas” over the next 30 years.

“The coalition filing the appeal represents a broad spectrum of Oregon employers who are united in the belief that the DEQ overstepped its authority,” Angela Wilhelms, the head of Oregon Business & Industry, one of the groups that filed the challenge, said in a statement to the Portland Business Journal. “Oregon law is clear that DEQ does not have authority to implement this policy.”

The sweeping CPP rules target a 90% overall greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2050, aiming regulations at suppliers of natural gas, gasoline, diesel and other fuels.

Fossil fuel suppliers will be given a number of emissions credits which will decline every year and which they must stay under to avoid penalties, the PBJ reported. Suppliers must then reduce sales or transition to cleaner energy sources to stay beneath the state-imposed limit.

“Because business and consumer use of these fuels is central to Oregon’s economy, the CPP Rules will have a profound and unprecedented impact on everyday life in Oregon,” the groups wrote in the petition Sunday. “The CPP Rules substantially affect the interests of Petitioners and/or Petitioners’ members, as well as the public.”

Altogether, the groups represent businesses in the farming, ranching, fossil fuel, logging, manufacturing and retail sectors.

Shortly after the DEQ approved the CPP in December, environmental groups applauded the program.

“The Climate Protection Program is a major step toward turning Governor Brown’s climate pledges into concrete policy that curbs harmful pollution,” Pam Kiely, Environmental Defense Fund’s associate vice president for U.S. Climate, said in a statement.

“Despite significant setbacks in the legislature, Gov Brown demonstrated climate leadership at a critical time by directing state environmental regulators to use strong tools already in the toolbox to put in place enforceable, declining limits on climate pollution,” Kiely said.

The DEQ didn’t immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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