Environment and Economic Development Committee
Co-Chairs: Bill Edmonds, NOW Natural & Rick Glick, Davis Wright Tremaine
1. Long-Term Energy Plan
OBA believes a ten year energy plan is a critical component in fostering economic development and wage growth in Oregon. Providing energy certainty to businesses and consumers will enhance Oregon’s historic competitiveness in energy rates and our national leadership in diversifying our sources of energy with a commitment to renewable resources growing in the overall portfolio. OBA will stay at the table with elected officials (and other stakeholders) to hammer out the details of the plan ensuring we continue to capitalize on the natural resources we inherited and the vision of a long term plan that outlines the energy picture for Oregon into the next decade.
2. Energy Efficiency:
OBA strongly supports the Governor’s goal of increasing energy efficiency in ways that strengthens our economy, are economically efficient and that make additional capital available for the Oregon economy. Legislation is necessary to build on and refine our system that already is effectively delivering efficiency. As we work towards a ten year vision for efficiency, policy refinements may include: examining cost-effectiveness criteria to bundle measures at the “building level” rather than evaluating single measures, engaging all interested parties to broaden and deepen efficiency efforts including opening the door to utility investment, and either streamlining or reinventing the current Oregon State Energy Incentive Program, formerly known as the Business Energy Tax Credit. These program changes should be adopted with the goal of providing savings on customer bills, increasing the livability of our built environment and preserving Oregon jobs.
3. INNOVATIVE WATER SOLUTIONS:
OBA supports in concept innovative solutions to address increasing competition for scarce water resources that balance the needs of irrigated agriculture, municipal and industrial demand and sustainable fisheries, among other values. One such approach involves winter time withdrawals of Columbia River water for underground storage, at a rate and volume protective of fish, which water could then be pumped to irrigate farms during the growing season. This approach avoids the higher risk of conflict with fishery needs during the warmer months, and would help Oregon farmers to compete with those on the Washington side, where Columbia River water is currently used for irrigation. A similar approach is being explored in the Rogue River Basin under the WISE (Water for Irrigation, Streams & Economy) project in Southern Oregon. Both of these initiatives are being developed with broad participation by elected officials, water users and other stakeholders. OBA will stay at the table to balance growth of Oregon’s economy, while protecting the state’s natural resources.
4. Streamline Permitting
OBA supports Regulatory Streamlining and Simplification Project (Roadmap) as a key element in creating a plan for changing how government agencies and new and existing businesses work together for a more vibrant economic future for Oregon. Key strategic initiatives of the Roadmap include:
- Adopt a consistent management system for state agencies
- Develop a unified 21st century information technology system
- Align the state’s initiatives
Assure accountability, promote transparency and embrace innovations and incentives
OBA supports the creation and maintenance of an efficient, simple, and streamlined regulatory and permitting system that makes it easier to start, expand, and operate businesses while protecting public regulatory goals.
Co-Chairs: Bill Edmonds, NW Natural & Rick Glick, Davis Wright Tremaine
2013 Committee Schedule: Last Wednesdays, Noon – 1:30
OBA Staff Contact: Joel Fischer