Spotlight: Warming Climate

“Here in our beloved temperate climate of Oregon — well-known for its lush green landscape and seemingly endless rainy days — we just set three new heat records » in three days: First, 108 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, 112. And finally, 116 degrees. In all, over
115 Oregonians died » as a direct result of the heat — a preventable tragedy, coupled with an equity issue that we should not accept as our new normal. ”

– Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, “Another heat dome: Why the social cost of greenhouse gases is so important,” The Hill, 23, July 2021.

Fighting for Our Climate

The impacts of climate change are all around us in the Pacific Northwest. From hotter summers to deadly wildfires, Oregon’s most vulnerable are facing the consequences of a warming climate the most. That is why Attorney General Rosenblum has made addressing climate change a priority for the Oregon Department of Justice and has partnered with other states to tackle these national issues. In the past several years, Oregon DOJ lawyers and staff have worked with state agencies to get resources flowing to wildfire victims as fast as possible, supported stronger state and federal climate laws, and fought in court to protect our natural resources.

National Environmental Coalition of Attorneys General

AG Rosenblum is part of a coalition of state Attorneys General that have been defending and promoting important environmental laws, chemical regulations, and climate protections. In the last few years alone, Oregon has engaged in over 200 legal actions, including comments on federal rulemaking, letters to heads of federal agencies, amicus (or “friend of the court”) briefs in federal court, and litigation involving multiple states.

Protecting the “Clean Power Plan”

Oregon successfully sued the Trump Administration over their attempt to repeal the Obama-era Clean Power Plan and replace it with a toothless standard for greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Ensuring that science has “a seat at the table” on EPA advisory committees

AG Rosenblum joined multiple amicus briefs challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) directive that banned recipients of EPA grant funds from serving on EPA’s advisory committees. As a result, fewer independent scientists served on EPA Advisory committees, and more industry-employed scientists filled their spots. Fortunately, the courts blocked it.

Defending California’s Greenhouse Gas Strategy

Oregon led the effort to support California’s bold greenhouse gas emissions strategy called a “common carbon allowance market.” The Administration argued that California’s actions were unconstitutional, a claim that threatened all states’ abilities to act on climate change. Oregon organized the first amicus brief and joined a second to support California in defending its greenhouse gas law. California won the case in district court.

Automaker Penalties

AG Rosenblum joined the AG coalition in challenging a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rule that reduced the penalty for automobile manufacturers that violate fuel efficiency standards. The court agreed and threw out the 2019 rule that sought to freeze penalties for automakers violating such standards at 1970’s levels.

Washers, Dryers, and Lightbulbs, Oh My!

Oregon led comments to the federal government that challenged the Trump Administration’s effort to exempt certain clothes washers and dryers from environmental energy efficiency standards. Oregon also played a major role in comments opposing a proposal to exempt hundreds of millions of light bulbs from energy efficiency standards. Although the Trump Administration ultimately adopted both rules, the Biden Administration is now moving to repeal them, relying on arguments like those Oregon raised.

Defending Governor Brown’s Climate Executive Order

AG Rosenblum defeated a lawsuit challenging Governor Brown’s authority to issue her climate executive order, EO 20-04. The court agreed with the DOJ’s argument that the executive order was simply a policy direction and did not itself adversely affect any parties.

Defending the Clean Fuels Program

AG Rosenblum defeated two challenges to the Environmental Quality Commission’s Clean Fuels Program, implemented by the Department of Environmental Quality. One of the challenges was a federal constitutional challenge and the other a state administrative procedures act challenge. The Clean Fuels Program aims to encourage the use of cleaner fuels such as electricity, ethanol, biodiesel, renewable diesel, and renewable natural gas by providing incentives and requirements to create demand for cleaner fuels in the marketplace.

The Social Cost of Climate Change

Read: AG’s recent op-ed » in The Hill newspaper.

Described as “the most significant number you’ve never heard of,” the “social cost” of climate change refers to the damage caused — in dollars — by the emission of a metric ton of greenhouse gas. The number is used by policymakers who weigh the “cost” in carbon or other greenhouse gases of a new project against the project’s potential benefits. In this Op-Ed, AG Rosenblum explains how the current methods used to calculate the impact carbon are underestimating the social cost, and how this practice could lead to devastating consequences.

Natural Disaster Resources

A climate disaster is devastating. Fires, floods and other extreme events can leave a path of destruction and not everyone who rushes in after a disaster is there to help. Scammers, including fly-by-night, unlicensed contractors, government imposters and door-to-door scam artists make their living off the misfortunes of others. This resource guide will help you avoid falling victim to a scam as you recover and rebuild.

Learn to Spot Natural Disaster Scams

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