Oregon DEQ Legal Challenge

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Department of Environmental Quality  Climate Protection Program Legal Challenge

Cascade Natural Gas, along with NW Natural and Avista Corporation, filed on March 18, 2022, a lawsuit challenging the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Climate Protection Program, which is intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Cascade Natural Gas is committed to environmental stewardship and supports decarbonization goals. However, we believe the pathway must be done in the most effective and affordable way possible, which is not the case with DEQ’s plan. That is why we are challenging this program on behalf of our customers. We need a carbon reduction program that achieves its goal while balancing affordability, reliability, and energy system resiliency.

Cascade strives to meet its legal requirements, and while we’re working to comply with the program as required, we don’t believe DEQ has the legal authority to implement it.

Filing a legal challenge was a last resort. The program has too many flaws to be left unchecked:

  • We don’t believe there is accountability for the desired emission reductions that will be paid for by our customers.
  • There are no cost protections for customers, including our most vulnerable already struggling with cost-of-living increases.
  • DEQ did not analyze the costs, alternative solutions, and economic impacts of their final program design, so we don’t know the true cost to Oregonians – at the pump, at the grocery store, in other goods and services, or in their energy bills.

We don’t have time to get climate policy wrong. We need to fix this now.

Cascade Natural Gas was at the table during DEQ’s planning process. We brought forward valuable ideas and legitimate concerns as part of a broad group of stakeholders, all with the aim of developing an effective climate program.

Stakeholders provided hundreds of pages of comments, including analysis from third-party experts, to improve the program alongside thousands of written pleas by customers, businesses, and other members of communities throughout the state. Our requested changes would have provided verifiable emissions reductions. They were rejected by DEQ.

Cascade believes there can be an effective decarbonization pathway, but it needs to be accountable, affordable, reliable, and provide cost protections for our customers.