Putting a Price on Greenhouse Gases in Oregon: an Update

Great progress was made in the short Legislative session. Portland is lucky to have as climate champions in the Oregon Legislature, Senator Michael Dembrow, and Representative Ken Helm who have moved the Clean Energy Jobs bill ever closer to the finish line. Below is a quote from Sen. Dembrow that summarizes well where things stand now:

“The 2018 Legislative Session generated the kind of grassroots support we’ve been dreaming of for years. We had another incredible round of hearings early in the session with an enormous amount of outside advocacy, including more than 500 Oregonians from all over the state descending on the Capitol for a lobby day on February 12. Oregon’s tribes voted to support the legislation and came to the Capitol to show support. Nike formally joined the business organizations supporting the legislation, as have many other Oregon businesses and farms. Scores of high school students and even younger children have been roaming the halls calling on us as adults to take action to secure a better future for them and their peers.”

While the bill did not pass, we are on track for a 2021 start date, which was the expected start date if the legislation had passed during the short session. The Speaker of the House, Tina Kotek, who represents North Portland, and Senate President Courtney established a Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction, which they will co-chair. Importantly, funds have been approved to begin critical work – studies to analyze economic impact of a cap and invest program, better understand impacts on trade exposed and energy intensive industries and examine how to better use Oregon’s natural and working lands to sequester carbon.

We need your help to ensure passage of this critical legislation, which will put a cap on carbon, raise significant money to help us make a swift transition away from fossil fuels, and ensure these investments will help those struggling economically — rural areas, communities of color, and low-income areas.  

We need your help to ensure we will have the strongest legislation possible with minimal allowances, limited offsets, and strong representation from under-represented groups.

Please join us on Tuesday, July 24th from 7 – 9pm in the Fellowship room at the Central Lutheran Church, 1820 NE 21st (same building as 350PDX office). We gather from 7:00 – 7:30pm and share desserts. Meeting will start at 7:30pm. The Capping Carbon Campaign, aka State Legislation Team, will meet that night to:

  • Strategize on maximizing influence and outcomes from our planned Fall meetings with Portland area Legislators.
  • Review outcomes from first meeting of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction and plans to engage with that group in the Fall.
  • Discuss the “gold standard” we want to ensure the strongest possible legislation re Clean Energy Jobs.
  • Review plan for using slideshow to influence “at play” districts.

If you have not been involved before, then now is a great time to learn more and help out.

We need activists to step up and take a lead or help with one of the following needs:

  • Addressing lack of utility support;
  • Working to achieve 1,000 people at spring rally next year;
  • Working on our social media presence.

Please let Rand or Rick know if you can help with one of those three needs. We hope to pull together a small group to work on each of those items.

Rand Schenck, randschenck@msn.com

Rick Brown,  rtb22@outlook.com

Written by: Rand Schenck