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Although Oregon’s 2007 legislation session has been packed with environmental issues -- expanding the bottle bill, implementing an electronics waste recycling program and encouraging renewable energy -- the state still can still offer more, legislators and environment advocates said this week. Those who can help? Everyone. Multiple groups have outlined specific ways to cut Oregon's global warming contributions, and each Oregonian must do their part by driving less and making their homes more energy efficient. Although the equation sounds simple enough, city streets and state highways remain tattooed with gas-guzzling automobiles and lined with homes obsessed with detachment from the natural world.

Oregon And Its Green Future

Although Oregon’s 2007 legislation session has been packed with environmental issues — expanding the bottle bill, implementing an electronics waste recycling program and encouraging renewable energy — the state still can still offer more, legislators and environment advocates said this week.

Those who can help? Everyone.

Multiple groups have outlined specific ways to cut Oregon’s global warming contributions, and each Oregonian must do their part by driving less and making their homes more energy efficient. Although the equation sounds simple enough, city streets and state highways remain tattooed with gas-guzzling automobiles and lined with homes obsessed with detachment from the natural world.

“We need to do more work … reaching out to both members of the Legislature, as well as industry and agriculture and forestry, to get everyone on the same page in terms of how to be part of the solution,” said Rep. Ben Cannon, D-Portland, according to the Statesman Journal. “In general, industry understands that it can be and needs to be part of the answer. We can work hard in 2009 with real consensus around cap-and-trade and performance plant standards.”

In 2003, Oregonians emitted 11 metric tons of carbon dioxide per person, the Journal reported. These numbers are plagued by folk who insist on driving two blocks to rent a movie or leave their engines running during a cold winter’s morn simply to drive down the road to go to work.

The good news from Salem this year include a cap-and-trade bill that would have established an emissions cap for all significant carbon emitters and allowed emitters to trade “credits” for carbon reductions, the Journal reported. Then there’s House Bill 3543, which sets targets for reducing greenhouse gases to 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 75 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. It also would create a global warming commission and a research institute.

Other renewable-energy and energy-efficiency measures, the Journal reported, which have an effect on greenhouse gas emissions include:
House Bill 2876 requires the state by 2015 to reduce energy use in all structures used by the state by 20 percent from 2000 levels. It means an annual reduction of 83.5 million kilowatts of electricity, 3.5 million therms of natural gas and 110 gallons of fuel oil.

Senate Bill 576 requires state agencies and other large public entities to construct or renovate buildings to be 20 percent more energy efficient than state building code.

Senate Bill 375 establishes minimum energy-efficiency standards for commercial appliances such as walk-in freezers, exit signs and clothes washers, and residential products such as DVD players, audio products and electric spas. The bill would reduce total carbon emissions by about 70 tons. By 2020, the more energy-efficient appliances save enough electricity to power 20,000 Oregon households and enough natural gas to power 28,000 households. By 2030 those figures rise to 27,000 and 59,000, respectively.

There are 3.5 million people in Oregon. Each of us need to step it up when it comes to taking care of our state, and the planet.

About Joseph Friedrichs

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Book Festivals of the West 2011

Each year readers and writers gather to celebrate the written word at book festivals, fairs, and writing conferences throughout the West. Although there are a few spring festivals, everything really begins to pick up in June, and the schedule remains busy through November. The offerings vary from those that concentrate on helping writers improve their craft, such as the Lighthouse Writers Workshop's retreat in Grand Lake, Colo. (July 10th-15th), to those that introduce writers to readers through panels, readings, and book signings, such as the Montana Festival of the Book in Missoula (October 5th-7th). Some, such as the Aspen Summer Words Festival (June 19th-24th), combine workshops and readings. The workshops charge fees, but plenty of the festivals are free to attend, including the Montana Festival of the Book in Missoula and the Equality State Book Fair in Casper. Most workshops are already accepting applications for this year. I've updated the Book Festivals of the West map with this year's information when it was available. Please let me know if there are any more events to add or update—I'll even throw this open for events in California and Texas. New West will run reports from the festivals again this year—we already have correspondents lined up for the Jackson Hole Writers Conference, Aspen Summer Words, and the Montana Festival of the Book, and are looking for more contributors.

One comment

  1. That 70 tons of carbon saved and not put in the atmosphere is about 5 minutes of one “let it burn” wilderness fire event. So the question becomes “Why?”. Was there ever a law maker who understood the law of diminishing returns? That Oregon’s legislature and elected state government is a Democrat controlled attempt to control every facet of human life is not news. It is comedy central. Retro-fitting every public building to gain a 20% energy saving is insane economics. A Mel Brooks movie subject. Carbon credits and Beanie Babies both have the same long term impact on society.

    I have to wonder how much more energy it will take to make a DVD player in Asia that will meet Oregon energy standards. Anyone think about that? Or is that a Toyota Prius kinda deal: making the batteries that partly power the Prius leaves a bigger carbon footprint than operating a Hummer for its scheduled life.

    I wonder what the PERS cost plus other benefits over a lifetime will be like in carbon credits for the “exit” sign energy use enforcement officers?

    My other question is how much energy is saved by expanding the number of social workers to check on all the meth orphaned kids under state care right now? Could we save energy by having fewer dope babies created by the illegal alien muled Mexican meth trade? This week, driving down the main thoroughfare in my town, I slammed on the brakes and jumped out of the rig to keep two toddlers, dirty and naked but for their full load diapers, from starting to cross the highway. No mom in sight. Or to be found. 911 call and I turned them over to the cop. He told me today it was a sleeping babysitter at 9 in morning…sure….but they did get a caseworker assignment by State Children Services.

    Poverty, welfare, sloth and laziness. That is where the energy goes. The State has a thousand cars running around keeping kids from being killed and they are not 100% good at it. The Oregon legislature is not about improving education, public safety, and adequate highways. It is about touchy feely billion dollar light rail, green buildings, bicycle ettiquette, access to medical dope, and about anything that might make an egghead or an urban greenie feel good. They vote on resolutions to end the war in Iraq and bemoan the deaths of servicemen and women, all the while inner city kids shoot each to death at a far higher rate, and teens die on the highways at 10 times the rate soldiers get killed fighting to keep a nation and religion of barbarians from killing each other.

    Like our Congress with immigration, our State government does not get it either. People want good roads, good schools, safety and security, and the right to live their lives, spend their wages. See any of that in the Oregon legislature? In our Congress?