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|Articles - June 2014|
|Thursday, May 29, 2014|
Page 2 of 6
LESSON 1: It’s risky for Oregon to act alone.
Oregon businesses pride themselves on the voluntary steps they’ve taken to become green. But when it comes to new environmental regulations, business gets nervous.
James Piro, president and CEO of Portland General Electric, says PGE’s investments in wind and solar energy projects have the utility on track to obtain 25% of its energy from renewable sources by 2025 — as required by state law. To recognize the costs to the planet of carbon emissions, PGE includes a carbon price in its internal calculations when comparing fossil fuels to other energy sources. Piro says his company is a national leader on green issues. Yet he opposes the idea of new regulations aimed at reducing carbon emissions — especially if Oregon acts alone.
“We are making the right decisions already,” Piro says. “I’m not a proponent of any type of carbon pricing. All it would do is raise prices for consumers without changing results. They are already paying a higher price for the product they buy because we have made it greener.” Piro believes that Oregon-specific or Western-U.S. climate regulations would put businesses in the region at a competitive disadvantage. “We are especially not a proponent of local carbon pricing. If it’s going to be done, it has to be national.”
Ryan Deckert, president of the Oregon Business Association, likewise worries that new regulations could do more economic harm than environmental good. His nonpartisan statewide business group advocates for 500 companies spread across Oregon; recent priorities have included boosting academic achievement to improve the workforce and investing in transportation infrastructure.
“Precision Castparts, Blount, Greenbrier — companies like these are at the core of the middle-class economy in Oregon,” Deckert says. “Let’s keep our eye on the ball, ensuring that good decisions are made for their growth.” In 2013 Precision Castparts ranked No. 1 on a University of Massachusetts list of the nation’s most toxic polluters, but the company also employs more than 2,300 people in Portland. Deckert is wary that too much regulation could chase away employers like these “to the extent that 100, 200 jobs leave Oregon because Daimler can more profitably do things in North Carolina.”
Sandra McDonough, president and CEO of the Portland Business Alliance, sees an appropriate role for environmental regulations but opposes region-by-region legislation. “We would be concerned about practices that are Portland specific,” she says. “It doesn’t make sense for businesses in Portland to face costs and regulations that other businesses don’t. Businesses would not want to locate here, because cost is a factor in decisions they make.”
McDonough, Deckert and others do argue that global and national action are needed to successfully address climate change. They celebrate Oregon’s status as a green leader but oppose state-specific regulations aimed at addressing global environmental challenges. Even the governor, recognized for his support of environmental legislation — seems caught by this tension. “It is important that we be able to show that the quality of our air and the quality of our water is improving, and that we continue to find ways to build on our clean-economy successes to date,” Kitzhaber says. But in his second term, the governor’s environmental priorities have often taken a backseat to health care and education. And beyond opposing Pacific Northwest coal exports and advocating for clean fuels, he has focused on broader collaborations, such as the Pacific Coast Action Plan, an agreement signed last year by four governors to put a price on carbon emissions and promote clean energy.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR
The implosion of the energy complex: The best thing for low oil prices is low oil prices.
Friday, January 30, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
For those who were working, here are a few highlights of Charlie Hales' State of the City address.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
2014 was a year of wild contradictions, fast-paced growth and unexpected revelations.
Friday, January 23, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
The Northwest Environmental Business Council previews the 2015 legislative agenda as Hatch Oregon celebrates Oregon's new community crowdfunding rules.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER
Catching up with Amen Teter, Portland-based global director of action sports for Octagon Olympics & Action sports talent agency.
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE
After more than a decade of wrangling, construction on a convention center hotel in Portland is slated to start this summer. But debate over project financing continues.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
A look-in on the life of Norris & Stevens' president, plus an abridged Powerlist for the best commercial real estate firms.
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Is your business ready to join us in the call for action? This opening panel includes Oregon businesses who will discuss why they signed the Oregon Climate Declaration, the investments they are making to reduce carbon emissions, and how their actions are affecting their companies.
Get ready for two days of special events produced with the EPA, Portland Timbers and ISOS before and after the GoGreen Conference on October 16.
hubbub health uses behavior change science to rethink wellness programs.
In Ashland, a public-private partnership results in online resources to help diversify the local economy.
How sports tourism is driving economic growth and making cities across Oregon a better place to live.
Sussman Shank LLP is pleased to announce that Matt Mertens has joined the firm. Matt will practice in the firm's Business, Litigation, and Business & Restructuring practice groups.
If you have given a former employee access to your company’s electronic information by virtue of assigning a desktop or laptop computer and you suspect he or she of having taken electronically stored data, there are several steps to follow to preserve electronic forensic evidence from spoliation.
The official launch will be Jan. 14.