SB 824A VOTE:NO
Died in committee
SB 824 Requires certain public improvement contracts to contain and reserve one percent of total contract price for performing repowers or retrofits of certain diesel engines used in course of performing contract. Some monies and all fees collected will go into the Clean Diesel Engine Fund. Sunsets requirement on January 1, 2028. Beginning January 1, 2017, requires certain nonroad diesel engines to be registered with Department of Environmental Quality. Authorizes Environmental Quality Commission to adopt rules and registration fees. Directs commission to adopt diesel emission standards by rule operative January 1, 2022. Requires commission to phase in implementation of certain standards. Repeals state preemption of local regulation of idling by primary engines in commercial vehicles.
Oregon will incur huge costs with the implementation of SB 824. The Department of Transportation owns hundreds of pieces of diesel-powered equipment which will require retrofitting. Oregon taxpayers can expect to shell out approximately $12,500 for each retrofit. Where will that money come from? Oregon will also pay to expand the Department of Environmental Quality. SB 824 will create a need for more bureaucrats to set up and monitor new emission standards, to monitor the registration of diesel engines, and to collect registration fees.
SB 824 is unnecessary. Why put the government in charge of something that will happen naturally? Oregon’s business owners will steadily replace older diesel-powered equipment with newer, less polluting engines, as time passes and older equipment wears out. Oregon’s air quality has been steadily improving, and will continue to improve without implementing the high-priced legislation of SB824.
SB 824 empowers a non-elected board, the Environmental Quality Commission, to set a fee schedule for engine registration, set emission standards, to register engines and to collect the fees. By creating a board of non-elected officials, voters are without direct power to replace commission members through an election process. SB 824 repeals previous law ORS 825.615 and allows local governments to pass regulation on the idling of commercial vehicles.
SB 824 will unquestionably burden Oregon’s economy by taking money out of the hands of business owners and workers. SB 824 requires businesses who own and use diesel engines, who are also working on certain projects pertaining to public improvement, to dedicate 1% of the contract price toward retrofitting any older diesel engines (those produced before 2007) and being used on the project. That adds up. One percent of $2 million is $20,000 dollars, money enough to hire some extra help or to buy more equipment. Each retrofit costs approx. $12,500, and many businesses own multiple pieces of diesel-powered equipment. High costs like these may close some businesses altogether, further draining money away from our economy. In addition, because this bill requires the registration of practically all non-road diesel equipment, business owners will also be required to pay a registration fee, funneling off even more funds that would otherwise be used to support our economy.