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Portland plans $750 million climate agenda, but can’t comply with state eco-law

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(The Center Square) – Although Portland, Oregon, has a $750 million plan that it hopes will combat climate change, the city recently failed to provide basic greenhouse gas emissions data to the state — which fined Portland due to its negligence.

The city received a $4,400 civil penalty from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality after it failed to submit its complete greenhouse gas emissions data report to DEQ for the 2022 reporting year on time, according to a letter DEQ sent the city. The city missed the March 31, 2023, deadline, providing a supplemental reporting form on June 9, 2023. DEQ considered the city’s efforts when assessing its penalty.

Portland was one of 12 entities to receive a fine last month for environmental violations. However, Gervais, which paid a $1,275 fine for a wastewater violation, was the only other municipality on the list.

The fine from DEQ marks the fourth fine DEQ has issued to the city in the past five years. Previously, Portland has paid fines for discharging partially treated sewage into Columbia Slough, cutting water quality below acceptable standards, and failing to comply with a consent order, according to DEQ.

Portland approved a five-year, $750 million proposal called the Portland Clean Energy Fund Climate Investment Plan last fall.

“In the next five years, PCEF will invest $750 million in community-led clean energy projects and climate solutions like energy-efficient upgrades to make apartment buildings safer and more comfortable during extreme heat and tree planting to increase shade in neighborhoods that lack tree canopy coverage,” the city’s website says. “These investments help ensure our most impacted residents are prepared for a changing climate as we support the city’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

The project also hopes to meet a more immediate goal the city set long ago, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting: ensuring that the city’s emissions in 2030 are half of what they were in 1990.

A city spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment on Tuesday.

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