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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.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
Oregon Business celebrated the 100 Best Green Workplaces with an awards luncheon yesterday at the Nines Hotel in downtown Portland.
Friday, June 05, 2015
As temperatures in Oregon creep into the 90s this weekend, Oregonians' thoughts are turning to — summer baseball.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY ANNIE ELLISON
Portland tech veteran Ben Berry is leaving his post as Portland’s chief technology officer for a full-time role producing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) aimed at first responders and the military. Berry’s AirShip Technologies Group is poised to be on the ground floor of an industry that will supply drones to as many as 100,000 police, fire and emergency agencies nationwide. He reveals the plan for takeoff.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR
Roy Kaufmann always lands on his feet.
Thursday, June 11, 2015
In 2014, total revenue for camping and day use in Oregon State Parks was a little more than $17 million. That figure may even higher this year "because we've had exceptionally nice weather," Hughes says.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
BY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER
Uncertainty is a part of doing business, whether in through the lens of investment opportunities and risks or the business of running an enterprise.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Jeff Lang and his wife Rae used to dole out campaign checks like candy. “We were like alcoholics,” Lang says. ”We couldn’t just give a little.”
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Oregon-based Environments helps companies create inspired workspaces. “Simply put, we help companies future-proof their workspaces,” says Chris Corrado, president. Since 1988,Environments has witnessed firsthand the changing landscape of business. Native Portlander and Environments founder Corrado says, “We help our clients navigate the complex realities of the workplace today and plan for their future in a very mindful, strategic way. We think of ourselves as their partners in the process.”
One hundred years ago, the Willamette River might easily have been mistaken for a sewer. Unchecked industrial activity and decades of pollution made it unrecognizable compared to the clean river that now flows north for 187 miles from Eugene through the center of Portland.
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Bend energy leader brings passion for efficiency and renewable energy to the nonprofit.