Oil Check Oregon

Uncovering the truth: The facts about Clean Energy Jobs and cap-and-invest in Oregon

The Oregon legislature is currently considering a cap-and-invest policy that would put a cap and price on climate pollution from the largest polluters in the state. The policy, known as the Clean Energy Jobs bill, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions while raising hundreds of millions of dollars per year to invest in the clean energy economy across the state.

The fossil fuel industry and other dark money funders don’t want to see this policy become law. They’re throwing tons of money into a campaign aiming to stop it. This opposition campaign includes misinformation and fuzzy facts from top to bottom as it tries to scare Oregonians away. The myths and fabrications they’re throwing out there are proven incorrect by years of success in other states and provinces.

Here are the facts about the proposed version of cap-and-invest in Oregon.

They say...

The additional cost for an average family of four would be between $500 and $1,500 per year.

The fact is...

Average families in places where cap-and-invest bills are in place save hundreds of dollars per year. In RGGI states, electricity prices have fallen more than 3% since 2009, when cap-and-invest went into place.

In California, a Consumers Union study estimated families would save $1,210 to $1,530 per year in fuel costs by 2030. Disadvantaged communities benefit as well; one study estimates that over a 5-year period, each low-income family of four would save over $369-$682 on gasoline, $215-$246 on electricity bills, and $44-$78 on natural gas bills thanks to clean energy investment from cap-and-invest proceeds.

Cap-and-Invest would work:

The bill would set aside a large chunk of money for electricity and natural gas utilities to use on behalf of their customers to cut pollution and reduce energy bills. It’s much more than simply giving customers a credit on their bill, though it does that too. This funding will help people pay for energy efficiency upgrades, solar or other renewable energy at home or a small business, improvements that reduce energy bills and emissions.

Utilities would be required to prioritize assistance to low income residential customers, including renters, before assisting public entities and industrial customers.

Sightline Institute estimates that for every $800 in proceeds collected in Oregon, about $100 would go to low-income customers in the form of utility assistance, and another $17-$25 would go to impacted and rural communities in the form of climate investments.


They say...

The price of gasoline would go up by a minimum of 16 cents/gallon.

The fact is...

Gas prices have dropped in all states and provinces where cap-and-invest is in place. In Ontario and Quebec, Canada, where cap-and-invest is in effect, gas prices are unchanged or lower now than they were before the program started. Gas prices in California were lower in 2017 than they were in 2012, the year their bill became law.

Any attempt to name a figure of change in gas prices from cap-and-invest is a fabrication. Because cap-and-invest is a more flexible program than a tax; there's no way to calculate a specific price impact. There's no way to predict how each oil company will choose to comply with the program -- buying allowances, purchasing offsets or lowering their pollution with biofuels. There's also no telling yet how cleaner, less expensive transportation options will lower the cost of fuel. International oil politics, natural disasters and refinery fires do much more to affect gas prices than any action states take.

Cap-and-Invest would work:

The bill would help improve transportation efficiency, making transportation cheaper for Oregonians. The bill would direct revenue into the “Transportation Decarbonization Investment Fund” dedicated to projects that combat climate change, such as local street maintenance, improved signals, mass transit infrastructure, bike and pedestrian projects, and electric vehicle charging -- making it cheaper and easier for Oregonians to get around.


They say...

Capping utility pollution will cause your electric bill to go up.

The fact is...

Since cap-and-invest began in nine northeastern states in the US, electricity prices have fallen across all nine states.

Cap-and-Invest would work:

A big chunk -- 35 percent -- of the revenue generated will go to utilities to use on behalf of their customers to cut pollution and reduce energy bills. The policy requires utilities to prioritize their spending on low-income residential customers first, helping ensure that those who need assistance most will get it. Utilities will be rewarded for making their operations more efficient and investing in renewable energy, and all utility customers will have cleaner air to breathe.


They say...

The agricultural industry won’t benefit from cap-and-invest.

The fact is...

The agricultural industry in California has grown by more than double in the last decade, including years with cap-and-invest in place, from $9 billion to $20 billion per year in GDP.

Cap-and-Invest would work:

A lot of the revenue that would go to the Climate Investments Fund could benefit the agriculture industry in Oregon. 20 percent of those monies would be invested in carbon sequestration in natural and working lands, which includes agriculture, along with rangelands, forestry and coastal areas. Another 20 percent would go to rural communities impacted by climate change, where much of the state’s agricultural industry is located. And another 20 percent could be used anywhere in Oregon for projects that either increase carbon sequestration and heightened resiliency in natural and working lands -- again, where much of the state’s agriculture is located -- or reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make communities more resilient to the effects of climate change. The state’s agricultural industry stands to benefit greatly from cap-and-invest.


They say...

Manufacturing jobs will leave the state.

The fact is...

Ontario, Canada, with a heavy manufacturing and natural resources economy, surpassed all other states and provinces in North America last year for investment flowing in from outside its borders. With cap-and-invest in place, businesses are putting money into the economy and placing bets in Ontario's growing economy, not leaving. Every year since cap-and-invest was adopted, California has added manufacturing jobs1. Their policy is creating good, union manufacturing jobs in the poorest parts of the state that need those jobs the most.

Cap-and-Invest would work:

The bill gives so-called “energy intensive, trade exposed” (EITE) industries up to 90 percent of their allowances for free to ensure they don’t take their business and jobs out of the state. This means businesses like cement, food processors, and pulp and paper manufacturers, that must use a lot of energy to create their product and face competition from outside Oregon, will be able to ease their way into compliance, while improving their industrial efficiency and reducing their emissions.

1 2010 - 2016, State of California Employment Development Department


They say...

Climate change and environmental issues are not a top priority concerns for Oregonians.

The fact is...

The sizable majority of people in every county across Oregon want to see the state take action on climate change. Plus, 76 percent of Oregonians want to see carbon dioxide regulated as a pollutant, including 60 percent of Republicans in the state. A recent statewide survey found that Oregon voters support a cap-and-invest program, like the legislation under consideration, by a three-to-one ratio. The public wants the state to take action.

Cap-and-Invest would work:

The bill address the climate priorities of Oregonians in every county, in every congressional district, across the state.

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