Oregon Governor Kate Brown made a statement on Monday, July 1 that she is planning on using her executive powers to pass legislation aimed at cutting carbon emissions after House Bill 2020 was killed in the state Legislature after a walkout by Republican lawmakers.
“My colleagues in the legislature and I were elected by Oregonians with a clear mandate to address the challenge of climate change,” said Brown. “We need to pass a cap and invest program that will achieve the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals at the least possible cost while continually growing our economy. Let me be very clear, I am not backing down.”
Brown isn’t the only one who was disappointed by the outcome of House Bill 2020. Renew Oregon found the outcome “very disappointing.”
Renew Oregon is a clean energy advocacy coalition of businesses and workers, healthcare professionals and parents, farmers and ranchers, faith and community organizations, and individuals coming together to move Oregon away from polluting energy to a clean energy economy. They are working to create good-paying jobs, protect air and water from pollution, and help families stay healthy.
Brad Reed, Communications Director for Renew Oregon, found Gov. Brown’s statement “very encouraging” and believes that she is stepping up to lead to reduce climate pollution. Reed believes that Gov. Brown has a tremendous set of tools and will work with legislatures to pass the law. He believes that she can lead the nation to lower pollution and show them how it can be done.
Renew Oregon has been going over the state for four years educating people about how their Clean Energy Jobs bill and how to reduce pollution and the job creation that would come from the bill. Renew Oregon has terrific partners, according to Reed, especially from rural Oregon. There are also many organizations that support Renew Oregon’s Clean Energy Jobs bill, including Coyote Moon Farms in Neskowin and Tillamook, North Fork 53 in Nehalem, R-evolutionary gardens in Nehalem, and Mayor Sam Steidel from the city of Cannon Beach.
Reed said that people have to “understand that there are no sidelines when it comes to climate change.”
From a climate change bill, Reed says that health would improve, and jobs would be created. One of the ideas that Renew Oregon has is to capture methane from manure and turn it into energy. Electricity could also be created from the methane that would go to waste otherwise.
One of the major reasons Reed believes people didn’t support House Bill 2020 was misinformation and fear due to exaggerated and untrue stories. Reed uses California and Canada’s programs as an example. California has a variety of legislation that promotes reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. California’s cap-and-trade program, launched in 2013, is one of a suite of major policies the state is using to lower its greenhouse gas emissions. The state’s trading system is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from regulated entities by more than 16 percent between 2013 and 2020, and by an additional 40 percent by 2030. The cap-and-trade rule applies to large electric power plants, large industrial plants, and fuel distributors. Around 450 businesses responsible for about 85 percent of California’s total greenhouse gas emissions must comply. California has linked its program with similar programs in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec, meaning that businesses in one jurisdiction can use emissions allowances issued by one of the others for compliance. This broadens the number of businesses under the cap, leading to additional economic efficiencies.
Reed says that Renew Oregon will continue to work on educating people on their Clean Energy Jobs bill and how it will do good for both the environment and the economy.