The Oregon Court of Appeals struck down the state’s ambitious Climate Protection Program. This decision, hailed by utilities and industry groups, is a stark reminder of the overreach often seen in state-level environmental regulations. The court found that the Environmental Quality Commission, the policy and rule-making board for Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality, failed to meet heightened disclosure requirements, a fundamental aspect of lawful and transparent governance.
The Climate Protection Program, approved in December 2021, mandated significant cuts in emissions from various sectors, including natural gas utilities and large industrial plants. However, the program’s ambitious goals overlooked the practical implications and feasibility of such drastic measures. The court’s decision to invalidate the program underscores the necessity of realistic environmental policies, and following the law rather than blatantly ramming through illegal, idealistic, and unattainable targets.
Oregon’s three gas utilities, an oil-industry group, and several local trade organizations challenged the program’s rules last year. Their victory in court is not just a win for these industries but also a win for common sense. It highlights the importance of balanced, legal, and fair rule-making processes that consider the economic and practical aspects of environmental regulations.
The court’s decision focused on a clear disclosure requirements of the statute – the failure of the Environmental Quality Commission to meet disclosure requirements. This focus on procedural integrity is crucial. It ensures that any significant regulatory changes, especially those impacting major industries and the economy, are made transparently and with due diligence. The court rightly prioritized the rule of law over the substance of the program itself, much to the chagrin of the end justifies the means activists.
The state acknowledged that the notice it submitted did not include an explicit statement about additional federal requirements. The state said it “substantially complied” with state rules by posting the notice of proposed rulemaking on its website, sending it to over 20,000 recipients and conducting 18 months of public outreach.
They argued industries had ample time to understand that the program would impose additional requirements, why the rules were needed and what alternatives it had considered.
But the court ruled that is not enough.
“Substantial compliance … is not sufficient. The statute requires actual compliance,” the court wrote.https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/oregon-court-strikes-down-state-climate-program-rules-in-favor-of-utilities-industry/ar-AA1lOdfK
Very understated of the court: “The statute requires actual compliance.”
The court rightly noted that “substantial compliance” is not sufficient. Actual compliance with statutory requirements is non-negotiable, especially when it comes to regulations that have far-reaching implications for industries and consumers alike.
The challengers of the program praised the court’s decision, viewing it as a constructive step towards addressing climate change in a more balanced and effective manner. On the other hand, environmental advocates expressed disappointment, seeing the decision as a setback.
The Oregon Court of Appeals’ decision to strike down the Climate Protection Program highlights the importance of procedural integrity and balanced rule-making that considers the economic realities and practical limitations of ambitious environmental goals, and following the law. This ruling should serve as a precedent for other states, encouraging them slow down the insane ideological rush to ignore laws, procedural, rules, and regulations.
The court’s decision underscores the importance of legal and procedural rigor in the formulation of such policies and serves as a cautionary tale against overzealous regulatory ambitions that fail to account for practical realities.
H/T James P (a link would have been nice)