BlueGreen Alliance | Gov. Kotek Signs Offshore Wind and Labor Roadmap Bill into Law, Signaling Oregon’s Preparedness to Lead in this Industry

Gov. Kotek Signs Offshore Wind and Labor Roadmap Bill into Law, Signaling Oregon’s Preparedness to Lead in this Industry

March 28, 2024

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek has signed House Bill 4080A into law, reinforcing Oregon’s commitment to requiring robust public engagement and strong labor standards for any future development.  

“House Bill 4080A is a blueprint on what is possible when you move at the pace of partnership rather than a race to be first,” said BlueGreen Alliance Oregon State Policy Manager Ranfis Giannettino Villatoro. “Bringing offshore wind to Oregon’s coast must be done correctly, which means including strong workforce equity provisions, robust labor standards, and ensuring that labor, conservationists, tribal leaders, and a diverse community of stakeholders are engaged to explore the impacts and benefits of offshore wind development. Today’s framework moves Oregon forward through careful planning and partnership.” 

The legislation represents a common ground approach where a diverse coalition of advocates agreed that it should be the policy of the state to develop an offshore wind roadmap that engages stakeholders and considers and analyzes all potential impacts, while exploring responsible approaches, and/or exit ramps, to development and localizing benefits. House Bill 4080 will help shape that process by:   

  • Directing the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) to develop an Offshore Wind Roadmap to support Oregon’s goals and policies related to communities, economic opportunity, protection of Tribal resources, offshore wind workforce development, environmental protection, and state energy and climate objectives.   
  • Requiring strong labor standards that align with federal directives and previous Oregon bills like House Bill 2021 on renewable energy projects.  
  • Ensuring coastal communities and current ocean users like commercial fishermen and seafood processors have an authentic seat at the table.  

“We’re so proud to be a part of the coalition of labor, environmental groups, fisheries and developers to get House Bill 4080 across the finish line during the 2024 session,” said Graham Trainor, President of the Oregon AFL-CIO.  “As the Oregon economy shifts toward greener energy sources, it is essential that the workers are protected every step of the way. House Bill 4080 ensures strong labor standards for construction, operations, maintenance, and manufacturing jobs, including the highest level of worker training and earn-as-you-learn apprenticeships, living wages, and family-supporting healthcare. This bill is an example of how Oregon labor can provide a strong voice for all working people, as well as the communities in which they live and work.”  

“Oregon has an incredible opportunity to further our decarbonization goals through offshore wind,” said Nicole Hughes, Director of Renewable Northwest. “But how we pursue this opportunity matters, and House Bill 4080 establishes a roadmap to explore offshore wind in a thoughtful, transparent, and inclusive manner. That means soliciting robust public feedback, and it means engaging with Tribes and other impacted communities and ensuring that they benefit from any investment in offshore wind. I want to thank the legislature for their work to create a more robust, more inclusive offshore wind process.”  

“While offshore wind may play a role in Oregon’s transition to clean energy, there are a lot of unknowns about potential impacts to fisheries and the marine environment,” said Heather Mann, Director of the Midwater Trawlers Association. “The Oregon Roadmap is the only way to ensure all voices are heard and that existing commercial fishing-related jobs are not replaced with offshore wind jobs. Oregon’s fishing industry supports the Roadmap approach and is grateful for the passage of House Bill 4080.”  

Offshore wind development in Oregon would create thousands of new jobs in industries spanning construction, operations, maintenance, and more. However, coalition advocates stress that any approach to offshore wind must not displace or negatively impact businesses and workers in the fishing, retail, and tourism industries or permanently impact ocean sea life.   

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has identified two potential areas for offshore wind development—one off the coast of Coos Bay and another off the coast of Brookings. With the passing of House Bill 4080, Oregon agencies will have the funding needed to ensure the process is consistent with Oregon values and includes strong stakeholder participation.