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Climate Protection Program feedback window extended

The Oregon State Capitol in Salem. Construction of the state's third capitol building began on December 4, 1936. It is (as of 2018) the fourth-newest capitol in the United States.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality extended the public comment period for the Climate Protection Program until 4 p.m. Oct. 25.

In response to requests, the department extended the public comment window by 21 days “to allow an additional opportunity to submit data, views or arguments concerning the proposed rules.”

Gov. Kate Brown signed an executive order in March 2020 directing state agencies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change, and created a new program to regulate emissions limits and incentivize clean energy transitions.

DEQ released a draft proposal for the Climate Protection Program Aug. 5. The public comment period precedes adoption by the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission.

DEQ will review, consider and respond to every comment submitted, and adjustments will be made to the program proposal prior to submission to the commission in December, according to Colin McConnaha, Department of Environmental Quality greenhouse gas programs manager. If adopted, the program takes effect in 2022.

DEQ defines the program as “aggressive and achievable,” while some early public feedback has pressed for more expedient and drastic action.

The program is intended to establish new limits on greenhouse gas emissions from significant sources in the state, define regulatory applicability, prioritize equity and alleviate burdens for communities disproportionately impacted by climate change and pollution, and achieve co-benefits for environmental justice communities, according to DEQ.

DEQ had received about 6,000 comments as of Monday, according to public affairs specialist Dylan Darling.