Update on the Clean Energy Jobs Bill (April 2018)

Please join us for our next meeting of the State Legislation Team to build on our successful strategy to ensure all Portland area legislators are climate champions. We will meet Tuesday, April 24 from 7 – 9pm (gathering and socializing starts at 6:30) at the Central Lutheran Church, 1820 NE 21st Ave, in the Fellowship Hall. If you haven’t been involved in the past, please join us now to help move the Clean Energy Jobs bill over the finish line!

The short 2018 Legislative session is over. While the Clean Energy Jobs bill (CEJ) did not pass, we made tremendous progress. We are in the best position yet since we started working on putting a price on “carbon” in Oregon several years ago. Most importantly, the Speaker of the House, Tina Kotek, and President of the Senate, Peter Courtney, have created a Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction, which they will co-chair (and yes, the legislation will continue to address all greenhouse gases). In addition, money has been directed to hire four state employees and fund studies in preparation for passing the CEJ bill in 2019 and then implementing it fully in 2021. We are in a position to put the program in place as originally planned had the bill passed this year. This is fantastic news.

Our biggest thanks go to Senator Dembrow and Representative Helm for their extraordinary efforts over the past year to move the Clean Energy Jobs bill ever closer to the finish line. Phone calls and emails expressing your appreciation of their work will be greatly appreciated and are much deserved.

Here’s a quote from Senator Dembrow: “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.” 350PDX and our many allies across the state were those behind that “grassroots support.” After that February 12 rally, activists met with almost all Oregon legislators that afternoon, urging them to pass the CEJ. We now understand that a majority of members in both the House and Senate have pledged their support for passing the CEJ in 2019.

But have no doubt, the opponents of CEJ in the fossil fuel and other industries are ramping up their efforts to defeat or weaken the bill, so we’ll need to keep up our pressure to strengthen and pass it.

Lastly, we’ll conclude with another quote from Senator Dembrow, that summarizes our sense of where things now stand: “We leave this session feeling reassured and optimistic that a year from now legislation will be passed that will create a climate-action program to cap emissions, price carbon, and begin to make serious investments in a cleaner economy.”

But, of course, this will happen only if we make it happen!

Rand and Rick
Capping Carbon Campaign Co-Leads

Written by: Rand Schenck and Rick Brown