The Keizer Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee met Wednesday (December 19th). A summary of the meeting is below.
Briefing on Cap & Trade – Portland General Electric
Elysia Treanor and Wendy Veliz from Portland General Electric (PGE) joined us to talk about what the company is doing for clean energy moving forward and the Cap & Trade proposals which may surface in the Oregon Legislature.
PGE has its own carbon reduction goals which call for an 80 percent reduction by 2050. The pathway to reach those goals includes energy efficiency initiatives, getting additional electricity from non-carbon sources and using electricity for things which currently require carbon based fuels (i.e. transportation).
In addition to these goals, the legislature is discussing a cap and trade proposal which will cap carbon emissions and companies needing more would need to purchase credits in the market. Under the bill proposed last session, PGE would have needed to buy carbon allowances which were estimated to increase residential power rates by up to 27 percent by 2030. Commercial rates would have increased by up to 31.5 percent over the same period.
The costs of PGE’s own carbon reduction initiatives are already accounted for in the rates we all pay. The bill before the legislature would have asked ratepayers to pay again for the cap and trade system.
These additional costs to PGE customers from the cap and trade system could be alleviated by giving PGE allowances for their current carbon reduction efforts. However, to date, lawmakers have been unwilling to move in this direction.
When the dust had settled from the 2018 General Election things in Keizer looked very good. Two members of the Keizer Chamber, Dan Kohler and Elizabeth Smith, won their races and will join the council in early January. Congratulations to both of them!
We also congratulate Mayor Cathy Clark and Councilor Roland Herrera on their re-elections.
On the state level, things do not look nearly as promising. Senator Kim Thatcher and Rep. Bill Post are headed to the Capitol which now includes a Democratic supermajority. This means legislative leaders can now raise taxes without Republican votes. If the bills already coming forward for the 2019 session are any indication, we can expect to face many business tax increases and bills like cap and trade (above) which could also increase costs to residents and employers.
This session it will be vital for Keizer Chamber Members to reach out to lawmakers and make their voices heard.
Baseball Park Taskforce:
James Hutches reported the taskforce has been meeting to look at a long range plan for the park. They are currently working on plans for a maintenance and operations board for the fields. It is very early in the process.
If you have any suggestions for the taskforce, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will make sure James gets them.
January 29th – Chamber Luncheon – This month we will get an update on the upcoming legislative session. Please make plans to attend to hear what is coming and how you can help.
Our next Government Affairs Committee Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 16th at noon at the Chamber Office.
If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact me.
Jonathan Thompson, Chair
Government Affairs Committee, Keizer Chamber of Commerce
Cell: (503) 580-1294