Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What you can do to protect renewable energy development in Oregon

Thanks to strong citizen advocacy and progressive political leadership, Oregon is deservedly known as a national leader in the response to climate change and the transition away from fossil fuels for electricity generation.

All that is now at risk due to proposed state budget cuts, cuts that will drastically impact Oregon's Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency funding. But with your help, we can stop these short-sighted cuts to our renewable energy programs.

Oregonians for Renewable Energy Policy (OREP) is working to preserve this funding. Join with OREP's efforts from now through the end of the legislative session in mid-June to continue Oregon's progress toward a sustainable energy future. And support OREP today with a donation, to keep its advocacy strong.

How bad are the cuts? The Tax Credit Subcommittee of Ways and Means and Senate and House leadership want to put a $10 million cap on all types of tax credits. They plan to:

  • Cut the available Residential Energy Tax Credit by 97%, from $34 million to $1 million.
  • Cut the Business Energy Tax Credit more than 99% (from $300 million for renewables alone in 2009-11 to $2 million to cover both renewables and conservation in 2011-13).

To find out more, read "BETC Facing Massive Cutbacks" here.

Our elected officials need to hear from us NOW!

Short term savings on renewable energy tax credits will cost Oregonians and their economy more in the long term:

  • more for oil--including the costs of military actions to secure overseas supplies
  • more for public health damaged by air pollution and climate change
  • more for climate-related damage to our environment, agriculture, fishing, and forests
  • more job loss in our growing green jobs sector

It's time to let your legislators know that support for clean energy is a priority, not a luxury. Fossil fuel is not our future, and the "innovative" extractive projects now underway, like the Alberta Tar Sands, create far more pollution, corruption, and destruction.

OREP has long advocated for a more stable and cost-effective financing method for renewable energy and conservation programs. They still do. It is the same funding tool Germany so successfully used to become the world’s leader in solar energy and is the reason why it can now confidently declare it will shut all its nuclear plants by 2022. Ontario, Canada is also using the guaranteed pricing structure tool (aka feed-in tariff) to shut down all its coal plants by 2014. Use of this policy tool has also created hundreds of thousands of good jobs.

Maintaining a reasonable level of maintenance funding until we have an alternative in place will preserve our prior investment. So severely de-funding the programs that built Oregon’s reputation sends the wrong message to Oregon’s citizens, to our children and the entire nation, who look to Oregon for leadership.

Responsible leadership requires a measured transition to a more stable financing mechanism while not losing our prior public investment.

What you can do!

  • Write letters and follow up with phone calls to your state senator and representative asking them to preserve Oregon's commitment to a clean energy future. Also contact House Co-Speakers Arnie Roblan and Bruce Hanna, Senate President Peter Courtney, Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum and Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli. Address: 900 Court St. NE, Salem, OR 97301 PH: 503-986-1000.
  • Call Governor Kitzhaber and ask him to play an active role in the State Legislature to retain Oregon's leadership position on clean energy (Comment line: 503-378-4582 )
  • Become a Facebook friend to OREP and share these action items with your network
  • Support OREP’s work with as generous a donation as you can. OREP’s groundbreaking work on the state’s Feed-In Tariff program has led to real progress in development of local, small-scale solar electric production—“democratizing the grid” to ensure a cleaner, and fairer, energy future. For more information on OREP, please visit their website,

Only the voice of Oregon's citizens demanding responsible leadership will preserve our clean energy future. Please take action now to keep Oregon's renewable energy programs a model for the nation, and to preserve our environment, our economy, and our public health.

Thank you,
Nancy Price, AfD Co-chair
David e. Delk, AfD Co-chair

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