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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.

Confirmed Cases: 40443

Reported Deaths: 635
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah8743155
Marion5590106
Washington546973
Umatilla329543
Clackamas299065
Lane221226
Malheur186634
Jackson15556
Deschutes107413
Yamhill95615
Linn76414
Polk63915
Jefferson5979
Morrow5426
Lincoln50913
Union4582
Benton4186
Klamath4013
Wasco33515
Douglas3314
Hood River2721
Josephine2583
Columbia2491
Clatsop2340
Coos2290
Baker1132
Crook872
Tillamook700
Curry561
Wallowa402
Lake340
Sherman180
Harney170
Gilliam110
Grant100
Wheeler10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 886939

Reported Deaths: 17167
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2904866944
Riverside650561275
San Bernardino609451065
Orange576351423
San Diego53263863
Kern33551413
Fresno30220430
Sacramento24811474
Santa Clara23591382
Alameda22932435
San Joaquin21436484
Contra Costa18273238
Stanislaus17403394
Tulare17317279
Ventura13930160
Imperial12610336
San Francisco11969137
Monterey1115884
San Mateo10918157
Santa Barbara9671119
Merced9386153
Sonoma9016134
Kings817383
Solano720574
Marin7036127
Madera492873
San Luis Obispo408032
Placer402355
Yolo309958
Butte302651
Santa Cruz272524
Napa190814
Sutter182112
Shasta178629
San Benito141114
El Dorado13024
Yuba128010
Mendocino111121
Tehama7938
Lassen7611
Lake67815
Glenn6473
Nevada5988
Humboldt5609
Colusa5486
Calaveras33917
Amador31316
Tuolumne2574
Inyo21815
Siskiyou1860
Del Norte1751
Mono1752
Mariposa782
Plumas610
Modoc270
Trinity250
Sierra60
Alpine30
Unassigned00
Medford
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