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Lane County approves greenhouse gas reduction plan

county emissions vote
Karen Richards / Zoom
Screenshot from the Commissioners' vote on the greenhouse gas plan. Nystrom is in the center of the middle row.

Last week, Lane County Commissioners approved a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It’s the second county in Oregon to adopt such a framework.

Mark Nystrom is the county’s Climate Strategist. He said the ambitious goal is carbon neutrality by 2040. The most impactful area is transportation, with 66% of emissions. Nystrom told KLCC, “Lane County is replacing their sedan fleet right now. So as a car gets to the end of its life, we’re replacing the older internal combustion engines with electric vehicles.” He added the City of Eugene, EWEB, and Lane Transit are also transitioning away from fossil fuel vehicles.

Nystrom said besides targeting vehicle emissions, the 10 bullet points in the plan also include phasing out fossil fuel appliances and reducing food waste. "Believe it or not," he said, "food waste [is] one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the county."

He said barriers to the effort include lack of personal finances, low inventory, especially of electric vehicles, and education. Commissioner Jay Bozievich voted against the plan, citing concerns around natural gas and the capacity of the electric grid.

The full language of the new program, which was two years in the making, will be made available later this month.

Karen Richards has been a KLCC reporter since the fall of 2012.