Panel considers future of Oregon clean fuels program

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SALEM — Executives from clean-energy companies asked Oregon lawmakers Monday to continue the state’s clean fuels program beyond its expiration in 2015, saying they need the Legislature’s blessing to help their budding industry take root.

They faced off with oil companies and large-volume fuel users who implored lawmakers to hold off, saying the state is moving too fast and risks raising fuel costs significantly with an unworkable policy.

Oregon was one of the first states to require fuel producers to reduce the amount of carbon emissions associated with their fuels. But state officials say lawmakers must remove the program’s 2015 expiration, or sunset, date before the program can be fully implemented.

Supporters dangled the prospect of new green-energy jobs in a hearing before the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, which heard testimony but took no action.

Opponents said the legislation is unneeded, in part because the federal government has increased incentives for clean fuels and required substantial improvements in fuel economy for cars and trucks.

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