A measure to cut the permitting time for new renewable and gas plants has passed through one house of the Oregon legislature. The measure, to last for two years, would shorten the siting process through Oregon's Energy Facility Siting Council from about a year and a half to a few months. By getting as much new power to market as soon as possible, sponsors of the senate bill hope to ease a West Coast energy supply shortage and avoid a serious energy crisis like California is experiencing. Northwest generators are finding it difficult to meet electricity demand this year due to energy supply problems, compounded by a drought that has cut hydroelectric production. "If we can act now, we can actually start to solve power supply problems by this summer," says Republican senator Jason Atkinson. Backers of the bill believe that siting permit difficulty is a contributor to California's energy shortage. Conservationists are cautious of streamlining the process and warn of rushing to provide power at the expense of the environment.