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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Kitzhaber Pushes Ahead On Clean Fuels Standard

Kristen Steele

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has ordered the state's Department of Environmental Quality to toughen standards for car and truck fuels.

Under the Clean Fuels Program, the agency already has rules in place that mandate a 10 percent reduction in the carbon footprint of motor vehicles over the next decade. However, the rules have not been fully enforced and critics contend the agency has been dragging its feet on implementing the policy.

The Democratic governor said Thursday a full enforcement of these rules and a shift toward more alternative fuels will benefit Oregon-based companies.

"We've got biofuel producers, we've got feedstock growers, we've got a burgeoning group of electric vehicle producers. We've also got propane, natural gas and other innovative fuel companies that are ready to invest as long as they have regulatory certainty."

But that certainty might only exist in the short term. The Clean Fuels program will sunset next year unless Oregon lawmakers approve an extension.

Opponents to the policy say it’s difficult to implement and leads to higher prices.