Oregon Agriculture Industry hails defeat of Climate Change bill…others vow not to give up on fossil fuel replacement
SALEM – The defeat of HB 2020 was a major victory for farmers, ranchers, foresters, and rural Oregonians. The bill would’ve increased the cost of fuel, diesel, and natural gas to levels unsustainable for these families and businesses, while having no impact on global climate change. Oregon’s agricultural and forestry lands are a net-positive to both our state’s carbon footprint and our economy. Oregon Farm Bureau looks forward to ongoing collaborative efforts to promote sustainable production of our state’s natural resources.
Failing to Advance Bold Climate Action Will Hurt All Oregonians
Portland, Ore. – Oregon Environmental Council remains more determined than ever to work on behalf of children and families from all communities in Oregon who face an uncertain climate future.
We remain resolute in urging lawmakers to act on climate this year. Delaying action on strong policies that reduce climate pollution only harms Oregon. The state has missed out on opportunities to invest in our communities and to prepare for costly climate disruption.
“Oregon Environmental Council thanks Governor Kate Brown for her statements today, and our committed members continue to stand behind strong climate action,” said Oregon Environmental Council Interim Executive Director Diana Nuñez. “We agree with Governor Brown that a legislative solution is best yet we support any of the options in the tool box to address this important issue.”
It’s an utter shame that reported misinformation, fear and bullying by some companies directed at hard working small businesses has ushered in a new, ugly era in state politics and community behavior. Oregon Environmental Council remains committed to fight this toxic rhetoric using truth, science and facts.
Climate change is not slowing down and neither can Oregon.
“The only way this bill was stopped was through extreme and radical measures,” said Morgan Gratz-Weiser, Legislative Director. “Oregonians have shown unwavering support for a cap-and-invest program in this state, not only via credible polls but through the sheer number of supporters we saw all year.
“People, including youth, sat for hours in the hearing rooms inside the Capitol during dense, technical discussions. Supporters wrote thousands of emails and made hundreds of phone calls to their lawmakers. They showed up time and time again to engagement days at the capitol in February, March, April, May and June. We have no doubt they’ll continue to be there demanding meaningful climate action.”
Why? Climate impacts are amplifying, and costly disruptions from these problems will be felt in all areas in this state. This bill has been about finding a solution that helps businesses and homes adapt to pending catastrophes.
The Clean Energy Jobs bill is one of the most balanced and reasonable proposals offered to combat climate disruption. The bill included many accommodations, while still getting strong environmental outcomes.
Below are some provisions, mostly from a document recently filed by Sen. Michael Dembrow. These provisions protect and benefit rural and small-town Oregon.
Here’s what Oregon loses by not passing HB2020:
· 50,000 new jobs in addition to boosting the work of an existing 55,000 clean energy jobs, according to an economic analysis by Berkeley Economic Advising and Research and E2
· Funding for forest-health projects (e.g., forest thinning and prescribed burns)
· Funding for clean transportation options
· Funding for career technical youth programs in forestry and agriculture
· Direct investments in irrigation modernization and other water projects
· Direct investments to protect Oregon’s shellfish and other fisheries from harmful ocean acidification
· Millions of dollars to help farmers make their equipment cleaner and better for the health of farm workers
· Weatherization projects for low-income Oregonians, particularly in rural parts of the state where there is a high unmet need
Year-long attendance tracked by supporters shows commitment to action
Oregon Environmental Council would like to remind the public and the media about the broad support this bill carried. Through the near-60 organization Renew Oregon coalition, we had 700 people show up at the capitol during the first month of the 2019 session. Over the last 6 months, we’ve had nearly 3,000 attend the capital to lobby in support of HB 2020.
This coalition also had 15,000 people sign petitions. Working people, represented by building trades, carpenters, and nurses associations supported the bill. More than 200 farms have banded together to show their support, as well as 141 faith leaders from throughout the state.
Nearly 900 businesses continue to demand climate action.
This widespread, diverse support is in line with findings of a recent poll showing 7 in 10 Oregon voters support our pollution reduction strategy, including 2 out of 3 people in rural Oregon where the “roadshow” hearings were focused.
During those roadshow hearings, local elected officials, business people, concerned parents, farmers, winter sports athletes, teachers, and many other Oregonians demanded leadership from our state on combating the climate crisis, and insisted on the need to invest in the clean energy economy to create good-paying jobs and protect our homes and health — especially in rural and low-income communities, according to a Renew statement earlier this year.
“Oregon Environmental Council is fueled by this broad support, and we are very grateful for it,” said Jana Gastellum, Climate Program Director. “More than a decade of work will not be silenced, and we are excited to continue this work in partnership with so many climate champions throughout the region.”
Testimony Analysis from the HB 2020 “Roadshow”
Quotes taken from testimony given around the state:
Springfield — “When I was in ag business three decades ago… I was one of those that protested pesticide, clean water, clean air, and clean fuel requirements imposed on us. We thought they would kill our business and industry. …But we were wrong. Smart business always adapts. We did that and were profitable as a result. …To kick the can down the road is a stall tactic. I propose you pass this and work hard to make it the market driven, net job creator it should be.”Joe Berney, Lane County Commissioner
Medford — “In 2010 I attended Southern Oregon University and was afforded the opportunity to study renewable energy in Germany. I saw firsthand the ability of policy to affect change in a country. …I am blessed to be one of the 55,000 Oregonians to have the opportunity to hold a clean energy job, and I hope that number grows. …I’m here today to urge you to support House Bill 2020.” Sean Franks, True South Solar
Newport — “We know that sea levels are rising, ocean acidification is damaging marine life…We know that our crabbing and clamming industries have been impacted by toxins and domoic acid. Climate change is real. We must act now. Oregon can be a leader…If we pass this bill we can transition from polluting energy to a clean energy economy. I ask you to work to bravely pass this.” CM Hall, Newport City Councilor (speaking as a citizen)
The Dalles– “If this bill is enacted it will benefit both our economy and our climate. It will propel Oregon into a green renewable energy future and position our state to be competitive nationally as an economic leader in the 21st century. …We have an urgent need to pass this bill.”John Nelson, Wasco County School Board (speaking as a citizen)