2023 Environmental Scorecard for the Oregon Legislature

The Bill Graveyard

We had a lot of big wins this session — on climate, public health, and waste reduction — but a lot of good bills were stalled due to the Senate Republican walkout. And, as in past sessions, we were forced to spend far too much time defending against bad bills and rollbacks to our previous hard fought victories.

Good Bills that Died

OCN PrioritySB 426 Toxic Free Schools. Would have provided resources for Oregon Dept. of Education and created a stakeholder advisory group to modernize school integrated pest management with the goal of reduced pesticide exposures for K-12 students. It made it to Ways and Means, but never got out.

OCN PrioritySB 542 Right to Repair. Would have reduced electronic waste and extended the life of our personal technology by allowing people and any repair shop to have access to the parts and blueprints for how to repair our personal devices, like cell phones and computers. This bill would have saved people money and helped reduce the technology divide low-income folks and rural communities face in our state. The bill needed one last amendment to move, but legislators ran out of time because of the walkout.

OCN PrioritySB 544 Reducing Plastic at the Source. Would have required producers to reduce the amount of single-use plastic packaging and foodware by 25% over the next decade. If your bathtub is overflowing, you wouldn’t start by bailing out the water; you’d start by turning off the tap. We need to turn off the plastic tap and reduce the amount of single-use plastics entering the market in the first place, resulting in less plastic production, less greenhouse gas emissions, and less pollution. The bill died early on during the session.

HB 2816 100% Clean Electricity for Big Tech. Data centers and cryptocurrency operations are a large and growing energy consumer in Oregon. We need to ensure these facilities are included in the state's clean energy transition. HB 2816 set similar targets to those set in HB 2021, the 100% Clean Energy for All legislation we passed last full session––essentially closing a loophole in HB 2021 that didn't include Big Tech.

HB 2903 Oregon Marine Reserves Program. Would have required ODFW to develop an adaptive management and social monitoring program to support marine reserves in an uncertain climate future, ensuring communities and key stakeholders are engaged in future marine protected area planning. It also would have appropriated funding to support new program mandates. The Marine Reserves were a hard-won victory, and seeing the legislature fail to support them now is disappointing.

HB 2998 Healthy Soils Bill. Would have created the Oregon Soil Health Initiative to improve soil health and carbon sequestration. It also would have supported agricultural communities by collaborating on and advancing voluntary incentive-based soil health strategies. This bill got lost in the mix in the rushed end of session due to the walkout.

HB 3019 Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) Reform. Would have reformed the controversial Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) and redistributed some of its funding to more pressing needs. The reforms are similar to what passed the House in 2021, providing more accountability and oversight for this rogue agency and eliminating public advertising propaganda that sought to distort public perceptions of Oregon's forest laws. The redirected funding would have gone to critical firefighting efforts and long-unfunded environmental education programs. The bill stalled out in the House Revenue Committee.

HB 2396 and 3158 Indirect Source Pollution Rule. Directed the Environmental Quality Commission to establish an indirect source rule and implement an indirect source review program to control emissions of air pollution from indirect sources, such as off-road construction equipment. This would have helped to mitigate and reduce the amount of diesel pollution — a major public health issue — in our state.

Bad Bills that Died

OCN Major ThreatHB 2659/SB 580 Repeals Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities. Would rollback the Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities portion of former Governor Kate Brown’s Climate Executive Order. We succeeded in holding back this bad bill, but it's concerning to see it introduced in both chambers with bipartisan bill sponsors.

OCN Major ThreatHB 3414 Urban Growth Boundary Expansion Without Demonstrating Need This was a large housing bill that had a one-time urban growth boundary expansion added late in the session. The language added into the bills was a slightly edited version on SB 1096, a UGB expansion bill we designated as a Major Threat. This terrible amendment elevated HB 3414 to Major Threat status, and it died by a single vote in the Senate after narrowly passing the House.

OCN Major ThreatHB 2631 7X Multiplyer for Wolf Compensation. Within the wolf compensation program, this bill would have allowed up to a seven times multiplier of market value to be paid out to the producer/rancher for loss of livestock. Reimbursing at that rate could provide a perverse incentive for livestock producers who could make far more money from missing or dead livestock than they could make by keeping them alive.

SB 1071 Rollback to Original Wake Boat Bill. If passed, this bill would have rolled back the protections to a delicate portion of the Willamette River from extreme erosion caused by heavy wake boats. The bill would have increased the weight allowed in the Newberg Pool area of the Willamette, putting water quality and fish habitat at risk.

HB 2185 Predator Control Districts. Had the legislature reauthorized "predator damage control districts," it would have provided money to prevent damage to private property from "predatory" animals (including bears, cougars, wolves, coyotes, rabbits, rodents and birds). The funding would have paid for county contracts with USDA Wildlife Services, which employs inhumane lethal methods such as poisons, trapping and aerial gunning. This bill keeps coming back, and we have to keep killing it.

HB 2206 Land Development "Mitigation". The so-called “Salmon Credit'' bill would have required the Dept. of State Lands to study a land development mitigation credit program. Despite its title this bill would not be good for salmon in Oregon. The program would allow developers to destroy functioning salmon habitat in one place, and ostensibly offset that damage by purchasing a credit for salmon habitat that would be created elsewhere––streamlining the process for developers to destroy salmon habitat, and not providing a net-increase in habitat for salmon in Oregon. This bill made it to Ways and Means, which is way too far for a poorly designed bill with negative impacts for salmon.


About OLCV

The Oregon League of Conservation Voters is a non-partisan organization with a simple mission: to pass laws that protect Oregon's environmental legacy, elect pro-environment candidates to office, and hold all of our elected officials accountable.

For more information about OLCV, visit our website at olcv.org.

About the Scorecard

For more than 40 years, OLCV has protected Oregon's natural legacy. An essential part of our work is holding our elected officials accountable. The OLCV Environmental Scorecard is not only one of our most important accountability tools, but also a tradition. The first scorecard was published in 1973.

By sharing how each member of the Legislature voted on the most critical conservation bills, we help Oregonians understand whether legislators listened to their constituents, or if they listened to special interest groups instead. It also serves as a summary of environmental bills and includes special recognition of the legislative champions.