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Gov. Brown invokes executive order if compromise on climate bill can't be reached

In a speech wrapping up the 2019 legislative session, Governor Kate Brown said that she was 'not backing down' on measures to address climate change.

Posted: Jul 1, 2019 11:45 AM
Updated: Jul 1, 2019 2:44 PM

By SARAH ZIMMERMAN Associated Press

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Monday that she's ready to use her executive power to lower carbon emissions following a nine-day Republican walkout that derailed landmark climate legislation and embroiled the state in a political crisis pitting liberal cities against rural residents.

The Democratic governor said she wants to move forward through the executive branch if lawmakers can't approve meaningful climate legislation. She directed her staff to go back to rural communities and industries over the next few months to find points of compromise on what would be the nation's second statewide cap and trade program.

Brown will present lawmakers with proposed "modifications" to the plan but is prepared to take the matter into her own hands if she still can't find a path forward in the Statehouse.

"Working on legislation is my preferred approach," she told reporters. "However, given the uncertainty that now permeates Oregon's political system, I am also directing my staff and agencies to explore alternative paths."

Two representatives for the Senate's Republican caucus didn't immediately respond to emails seeking comment on the governor's plans.

The proposal caps climate-changing emissions and requires businesses to buy or trade an ever-dwindling pool of pollution credits or "allowances." California has a similar program.

The idea divided the Statehouse and revealed lingering tensions between liberal cities like Portland that want to combat climate change and rural areas of the state where the legislation was seen as a further threat to industries like farming, logging and trucking.


READ: In Oregon, stark rural-urban dvide fuels climate dispute


Senate Republicans walked out to block a vote on the measure and only came back after getting reassurances it was dead. They said the legislation would kill jobs, raise the cost of fuel and gut small businesses in rural areas. Loggers, truckers and others flooded the Capitol to support the Republicans who walked out.

Democrats say the legislation is critical to make Oregon a leader in the fight against climate change and will ultimately create jobs and transform the economy.

They said the program would raise tens of millions of dollars that would go toward further emissions-cutting projects and wildfire prevention efforts. Much of the funding also would flow directly to rural communities and Native American tribes to prepare for the worst effects of climate change, supporters say.

"This is a priority," said Tera Hurst, executive director of Renew Oregon, the lobbying group behind the original legislation. "It is our moral imperative we do not delay another year. Climate change is an emergency."

Brown has a tough path forward if she wants to craft legislation that both responds to industry concerns and still puts Oregon on a path toward meeting its ambitious goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The original cap and trade proposal would have begun in 2021 and put the state on track to lower emissions to 45 percent below 1990 levels by 2035 and 80 percent below by 2050.

Delaying the program could mean lawmakers will need to craft a more ambitious and aggressive program to meet the state's emission goals.

Brown said it would have been better for industries and other opponents to come to the table rather than "blow the whole thing up." She said delaying the process further is like "cutting off your nose to spite your face."

"This program will have to be more aggressive," the governor said. "Because the time pressures are still there and I'm committed to keeping those goals for our children and our children's future."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 394569

Reported Deaths: 5243
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah60720847
Washington42359405
Marion40153516
Clackamas33040387
Lane30428361
Jackson25105363
Deschutes23795189
Umatilla15144184
Linn14859183
Douglas13523293
Josephine10278247
Yamhill9840143
Klamath9112149
Polk8325102
Benton615338
Malheur593292
Coos5768109
Columbia438056
Jefferson424366
Lincoln365852
Crook343057
Union340756
Wasco318646
Clatsop263635
Baker221833
Tillamook218046
Hood River216537
Morrow197825
Curry193939
Harney121333
Grant109116
Lake105617
Wallowa76313
Sherman1933
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5107717

Reported Deaths: 74800
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles153472027244
San Diego4091824350
Riverside3892365381
San Bernardino3762805983
Orange3352965756
Sacramento1690952452
Kern1582701828
Fresno1574692270
Santa Clara1528571928
Alameda1256281512
San Joaquin1080791835
Ventura1043091192
Contra Costa1042181056
Stanislaus919641429
Tulare867391100
San Francisco57141674
San Mateo56585631
Monterey52842626
Solano47828360
Santa Barbara47523555
Merced45309671
Sonoma43349414
Placer42458473
Imperial38932776
Kings35370367
San Luis Obispo31667360
Madera26388311
Shasta26221461
Butte25608318
Santa Cruz22402224
Yolo21722261
Marin18587249
El Dorado18448168
Sutter14646186
Napa13446106
Yuba1079891
Tehama10316131
Humboldt10294119
Nevada10112105
Mendocino864999
Lassen797656
San Benito787979
Tuolumne778491
Lake7057113
Amador580067
Siskiyou479657
Glenn458536
Calaveras445788
Del Norte377942
Colusa328321
Inyo257346
Plumas19577
Mono19034
Mariposa162218
Trinity100717
Modoc7936
Sierra2190
Unassigned1560
Alpine1080
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