The Oregon legislature adjourned in July 2013 without taking up a measure that would have weakened the state’s renewable energy energy standard. SB 121, sponsored by Senator Alan Olsen and Senator Chuck Thomsen (both elected 2010), would have allowed the use of large-scale, existing hydroelectric power to qualify for the RES, thereby watering down the requirement to increase the use of clean energy in the state. The bill was stalled in the Environment and Natural Resources Committee when the legislature adjourned.
Oregon’s RES has faced multiple attacks in the past. In 2013, Representative Greg Smith co-sponsored a bill with at least 6 known ALEC members (Representatives Katie Eyre Brewer, Bruce Hanna, Mark Johnson, Mike McLane, Matt Wingard, and Matt Wand) to allow all hydroelectric power to be included in RES.
With the anti-RES bill stopped, Paul Cosgrove, a utility lobbyist (representing the Umatilla Electric Cooperative) and ALEC’s Oregon private sector co-chair, spearheaded a ballot initiative that would also water down Oregon’s RES by including hydroelectric power.