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SALEM, OR-A bill that would expedite the siting and permitting of power plants won unanimous approval from the Legislature Wednesday and now is headed to Gov. John Kitzhaber for signature.

The goal of the bill is to increase power production in the state and stave off the kind of predicament that has caused periodic rolling blackouts throughout California. The bill would speed permitting of power plants sited under certain conditions.

It also would make it more difficult for people to delay their construction via legal appeal, create tougher efficiency standards for state-owned buildings, and offer incentives for the use of renewable energy.

Lastly, the bill also prohibits the Public Utility Commission from offering utility companies incentives to divest themselves of power plants, which some say was a significant part of the rising power prices in California. In that regard, the Legislature is mulling several bills that would delay implementation of Oregon’s power deregulation plan, set to take effect Oct. 1.

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