Findley expects court battle over emission reduction plan

Rep. Lynn Findley (R-Vale) (The Enterprise/File).

VALE – Gov. Kate Brown’s actions last week to slash the state’s carbon emissions was a hasty move and its impact will remain unknown for months, said the Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale.

“I am, obviously not very excited about it,” said Findley.

Brown’s executive order directs 16 state agencies – from the Department of Land Conservation and Development to the Department of Environmental Quality – to lower emissions by 45 percent from 1990 levels by 2035 and by 80 percent from 1990 standards by 2050.

The order could impact Oregon industries, transportation, natural gas firms and vehicles. 

Brown’s executive order came on the heels of a failed 2020 legislative session, where a carbon emission reduction plan – Senate Bill 1530 – was floated by Democrats. The bill, though, sparked a walkout by House and Senate Republicans that effectively ended the session.

An attempt by Democrats in the 2019 session to create and pass a carbon emission reduction plan also sparked a Republican walkout. The 2019 carbon reduction bill died in committee.

The regulatory cap process will be subject to a time-consuming rule-making system by state agencies such as the DEQ. Lawmakers approved $5 million last week to begin the rule-making plan. 

Findley said the executive order is “not doable.”

“You can’t reduce greenhouse gas by 80 percent. That is not viable. It is an unachievable target made in haste and not based on science,” said Findley.

Findley said he doesn’t know what the impact of the executive order would be in Malheur County.


The rule-making effort, he said, will “take six to nine months at least.” After that, he said, the mandates of the executive order will be challenged in court.

“I can guarantee it,” he said.

Findley said he wasn’t aware of any proposed legal action by Republicans but expected the challenges to be driven by private industries. 

Findley said the action by the governor can be traced to the Republican walkout during the last session.

“She is so upset and mad at the Republicans for what we did,” said Findley.

Findley said Republicans didn’t want to walk away and even tried to rearrange the legislative schedule to put the cap and trade legislation behind other legislative business. 

“We pleaded with them (Democrats) to rearrange the priorities because they set the calendar. There is no reason we couldn’t have got the budget sorted out and the policy tweaks done. They chose not to. They ignored us,” said Findley.

Now, he said, it is a waiting game.

“We have to wait and see the rules and how they will accomplish that,” said Findley.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected] or 541-473-3377.

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