AP NEWS

Secretary of state rejects 2 clean-energy initiatives

December 20, 2019 GMT

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Two clean-energy ballot initiatives were rejected by Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno Thursday, drawing condemnation from climate change action advocates who claimed Clarno is bowing to pressure from polluters and business interests.

The Statesman Journal reports they added that Clarno’s rejection of initiative petitions 48 and 49 represents a pattern of her siding against environmental interests. She also rejected three petitions from the group Oregon Wild that proposed adding protections for the state’s forest waters.

“There is now a pattern of flagrant abuse of power by this secretary of state, far outside the norms for any Democrat or Republican who has held the office,” Tera Hurst, executive director of Renew Oregon, said in a statement.

Clarno’s staff didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Gov. Kate Brown appointed Clarno, a Republican and former state lawmaker, to replace Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, who died of brain cancer in February.

According to Renew Oregon, Clarno’s reason for rejection was the inclusion of fair labor standards for clean energy projects.

The proposed initiatives would require all retail electricity sold in Oregon to come from carbon-free sources by Jan. 1, 2045, up from about half today. Washington, California and Nevada already have similar targets.