By Nick Smith
Oregonians we all value a healthy environment, but a state Low Carbon Fuel
Standard (LCFS) being proposed by some would have no measurable impact on
global warming. None.
impact on our state’s economy, however, would be significant—and terrible.
to existing programs like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s and
Oregon’s state Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS), Oregon is already one of the
lowest per capita CO2 emitters in the nation. According to a recent study by
Charles River Associates, we are blending 170 million gallons of ethanol and 60
million gallons of biodiesel per year to successfully reduce carbon fuel
only effect a LCFS would have, then, would be to expose Oregonians to volatile
price increases at the pump and do extreme damage to working families,
consumers and job growth.
LCFS proposal would require fuel providers to ration traditional fuels and
replace them with expensive, frequently imported biofuels that won’t exist in
commercial quantities for many years.
mandating products in short supply, the LCFS would mean higher fuel and
transportation costs for small businesses and potentially higher prices for
consumers, which is why a similar law in California was recently declared infeasible
by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Nonetheless, the state of Oregon
continues its work to implement the law in our state. Small-business owners
should be aware of the mandate’s potential impacts, and speak up as the Oregon
Environmental Quality Commission considers adopting LCFS rules in November.
also found that a LCFS mandate could increase the cost of fuel by an estimated
$1 or more per gallon. This would hurt working Oregonians the most, as research
indicates such a law could cost the average family up to $1,280 per year.
an economic impact study by Charles River Associates shows a LCFS could result
in the loss of as many as 29,000 jobs in Oregon, by forcing many small
businesses to cut costs, defer hiring or increase their prices and become less
competitive than businesses operating outside of the state.
why the Oregon arm of the National Federation of Independent Business, which
has more than 7,000 small-business members in the state, has joined Oregonians
for Sound Fuel Policy in standing up to the LCFS proposal.
for Sound Fuel Policy is a broad coalition of labor, businesses, contractors,
transportation firms, farmers and ranchers. The group shares the goal of
reducing Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions but believes the limited reductions
in emissions under the LCFS are not worth the cost to the state’s economy.
punish consumers and businesses that have already made significant
contributions in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through energy
efficiency programs, wiser choices in vehicles and adoption of alternative transport
modes and technologies?
businesses are the backbone of Oregon’s economy, accounting for 98 percent of
all employers who provide jobs for 56 percent of the private-sector labor
force, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of
with any new or higher tax or regulation, they would bear the brunt of a LCFS. By
nature, small businesses operate on tight margins. Many struggle to keep
employees and pay their vendors while keeping prices reasonable for customers.
proposed Low Carbon Fuel Standard would only make it harder for many small
businesses to survive in today’s economy, while making it more difficult for
Oregon families to meet their everyday needs.
for Sound Fuel Policy has a message state legislators need to hear, and working
with small business’ leading representative association, among many others, the
volume in increasing: A Low Carbon Fuel Standard is bad for working families,
bad for consumers, bad for job growth, and does nothing substantive for the
Nick Smith is small-business
coordinator for Oregonians for Sound Fuel Policy.