Oregon Cap &
Trade Advances. Air horn protest can’t shutdown climate bill
by Aubrey Wieber, Oregon Capital Bureau (in Herald and News)
June 13, 2019
Democrats appear to have the support to move forward on a
massive environmental plan to price carbon after a week of
turmoil and uncertainty.
2020, which would implement a cap and trade program, passed
out of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means on Wednesday.
It now goes to the House floor for a vote scheduled for
Monday. It’s the most significant piece of legislation still
in the works, with the legislative ending in two weeks.
— and the 116th amendment proposed on it — passed out of
committee on a 13-8 party vote with Sen. Peter Courtney,
D-Salem, temporarily sitting in for Sen. Betsy Johnson,
D-Scappoose. Johnson, the most conservative of the Senate
Democrats, has been a vocal opponent of the bill, saying it
would destroy the state’s economy.
groups have long opposed the bill, but individuals working
in industry have also made themselves seen in hearings for
no different, as log truckers rallied in front of the
Capitol in the morning before filling the hearing room and
overflow room, dressed in their well-worn pants, boots and
didn’t feel heard in the brief, 20-minute hearing, so they
took to their trucks. For an hour and a half after the
hearing they performed an auditory assault on lawmakers,
driving around the building blowing their airhorns to make
sure lawmakers they were literally heard.
Under the cap
and trade program, a 52 million metric ton cap will be
placed over 80 percent of the state’s emissions. It would
regulate nearly all sectors of the economy, excluding
agriculture and forestry.
regulated by the cap which are emitting at least 25,000
metric tons of greenhouse gasses per year will have to buy
allowances from the state for each ton over the limit.
overestimate their need, they can sell those allowances on a
marketplace linked to California and Quebec, Canada. If they
don’t buy enough, they can likewise purchase some on the
The state will
make fewer allowances available over time, a mechanism
intended to force industry to undertake conversions that
reduce emissions. The targets are a 45 percent decline from
1990’s level by 2035 and an 80 percent decline by 2050.
It’s a wildly
progressive proposal. Oregon’s plan is in part based on
California, but Oregon’s economy is much smaller. The hope
is to show other states that such a plan can work in smaller
and more rural states.
Republicans have been staunchly against the idea, saying it
will decimate the rural way of life, where people work in
mills and factories that would be hurt by cap and trade.
They drive longer distances, making the estimated 16
cent-per-gallon increase in gas costs more significant.
To that end,
Republicans made a last-ditch effort to change the bill with
amendments drafted by industry and one that would remove the
emergency clause. Both those proposals failed on party-line
votes, as they did the day before in the Ways and Means
Natural Resources Subcommittee.
Republican Whip Dennis Linthicum, R-Klamath Falls, and state
Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer, released the following joint
“We must not
allow this bill to pass. It will kill jobs, it will hurt
families, businesses and employees, and it will incur
extreme costs without providing benefit to the environment.
We stand with the people who oppose cap and trade and will
be strong ‘no’ votes on House Bill 2020.”
Democrats are lining up in support. Rep. David Gomberg,
D-Central Coast, said Oregon once had an environmental
legacy due to things like bottle deposit and public beaches,
but it’s lost that legacy over the years. The new policy is
a chance to regain that reputation, but it will come at a
cost, he said.
“I am concerned
about my farmers, I am concerned about my dairies, I am
concerned about my fishermen,” Gomberg said. “I am
particularly concerned about my good men and women that work
in the large mills in my small towns.”
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