Oregon to implement phase one of Clean Fuels Program

By Erin Voegele | December 12, 2012

On Dec. 7, the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission elected to begin implementation of the state’s Clean Fuels Program. A spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality confirmed the commission voted four to one to implement the proposed rules for phase one. Phase two of the program has not been recommended by the commission at this time.

According to information published by the department, phase one of the program requires entities that produce fuel in Oregon, or import it into the state, to register and report to the DEQ the volumes of fuel they provide within the state. According to the DEQ, the mandatory reporting will allow it to gather data on the Oregon transportation fuel market, which will help assess the feasibility of implementing phase two.

In the second stage of the Clean Fuels Program, regulated parties would have to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the fuels they provide by 10 percent when compared with 2010 levels. Phase two has not yet been approved.

Information published by the DEQ specifies that it will use the data gathered during phase one to make recommendations to the commission and state legislature regarding the next phase of the program.

The Oregon program is similar—but not identical—to California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard. Information published by the DEQ points out two important differences between the programs. First, the Oregon program would include provisions to prevent supply shortages of clean fuels. Second, the program rules have been specifically designed to prevent the program itself from increasing the price of fuel.

According to information posted to the DEQ website, its next action will be to ask the 2013 Oregon Legislature to remove the Dec. 31, 2015 sunset date from the legislation authorizing the program. The DEQ also noted it would ask the legislature to establish a fee on regulated parties to pay for implementation of phase one of the program.