Editor's note: The following summary represents state and utility stances after the Supreme Court stayed the Clean Power Plan in February 2016.
Oregon is continuing to pursue greenhouse gas emissions reductions from its power sector and has voiced support for the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan, but its timeline for coming up with a plan is up in the air.
In the wake of the Supreme Court's stay, Gov. Kate Brown (D) issued a statement in support of the plan.
"Even though the Clean Power Plan is going through a battle in the courts, Oregon has been and continues to be committed to national efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector," she said. "Oregon is well-positioned to comply with the EPA targets because there have already been early actions in Oregon through investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy development, and moving away from coal."
But now that the deadline for turning in a plan has been disrupted, Oregon policymakers aren't sure how they will proceed.
"We have been working on it, certainly," said Colin McConnaha, senior climate change policy adviser in the Department of Environmental Quality. "There is now no deadline in front of us to turn something in, so the timeline is a big question mark."
Oregon is well-positioned to meet its Clean Power Plan target of a 20 percent reduction in power plants' emissions rate. The state got nearly three-quarters of its electricity from hydropower and other renewables in 2014, and its only coal-fired power plant, Boardman, is scheduled to close by the end of 2020. A bill currently in the Legislature would raise the state's renewables portfolio standard to 50 percent by 2040 and have utilities exit their coal-fired contracts by 2030.
But until then, the state is still projected to get a significant amount of its power from out-of-state coal plants in Montana, Utah and Wyoming -- states that have been more hostile to the Clean Power Plan. Oregon officials have been holding talks with them, as well as in-state utilities and power plant owners, to figure out the best approach but aren't sure about the next steps.
"How that work continues in light of the stay is unclear because those states are affected differently by the rule than we are and see it differently," McConnaha said. "It's not totally within our control, as much as we might like it to be. We have to be sure that our stakeholders and other states we've been working with still want to proceed."
Last updated on February 22, 2016 at 11:42 AM