NFIB argues statewide rule requires legislature approval
SALEM, Ore. (June 14, 2022) – The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) has joined a coalition of business organizations as a plaintiff in the case Oregon Farm Bureau Federation, et al. v. Oregon Environmental Quality Commission, opposing the Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) and Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) Climate Protection Program (CPP). The CPP imposes caps to reduce statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. NFIB argues the agency does not have the broad authority to issue a statewide rule of this magnitude without approval by the state’s legislature.
“The sweeping Climate Protection Program greatly affects Oregon’s small business community,” said Karen Harned, Executive Director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center. “The rule limits the availability of covered fuels and will increase energy costs for small businesses and negatively impact their bottom line. The Oregon state legislature failed to pass cap-and-trade legislation in recent years and the agency is overstepping its authority by using administrative fiat to pass statewide rules with financial penalties.”
“Gas prices and inflation are hammering Oregonians right now,” said Anthony K. Smith, NFIB Oregon State Director. “The last thing small businesses need is a new government program aimed at artificially raising the cost of essential fuels used by Oregonians every day. It’s especially troubling that the state would attempt to create this program by administrative rule – without ever receiving a vote in the Oregon Legislature.”
Executive Order No. 20-04 called for Oregon to reduce its GHG emissions to 45% of 1990 emissions by 2035 and at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Pursuant to the Governor’s order, the EQC and DEQ approved the CPP in December 2021. The CPP increasingly caps emissions each year, resulting in a 90% decrease of emission levels by 2050. The CPP imposes financial penalties on companies that do not meet emission reduction requirements.
NFIB filed the lawsuit with the Oregon Farm Bureau Federation, Oregon Business and Industry Association, Oregon Manufacturers and Commerce, Alliance of Western Energy Consumers, Associated Oregon Loggers, Inc., Northwest Pulp and Paper Association, Oregon Association of Nurseries, Oregon Forest and Industries Council, Oregon Trucking Associations, Inc., Western Wood Preservers Institute, Otley Land and Cattle, Inc., and Space Age Fuel Inc.
The NFIB Small Business Legal Center protects the rights of small business owners in the nation’s courts. NFIB is currently active in more than 40 cases in federal and state courts across the country and in the U.S. Supreme Court.