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: 175121

Reported Deaths: 2460
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah34937568
Washington23491229
Marion20195299
Clackamas15386204
Lane11591144
Jackson9923127
Umatilla796883
Deschutes712972
Linn416063
Yamhill410175
Klamath349059
Polk344252
Malheur342858
Josephine306362
Douglas304765
Benton273218
Jefferson207032
Coos197531
Columbia154526
Union141624
Lincoln130220
Wasco129128
Hood River112529
Morrow107915
Clatsop8958
Crook88019
Baker85814
Curry5959
Tillamook5813
Lake4137
Grant4124
Harney3066
Wallowa1575
Sherman570
Gilliam561
Wheeler251
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 3718210

Reported Deaths: 61038
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122899723653
Riverside2972154525
San Bernardino2947794555
San Diego2749603674
Orange2689624896
Santa Clara1170812013
Kern1078591322
Sacramento1011721646
Fresno1005621646
Alameda853671477
Ventura802301000
San Joaquin714311334
Contra Costa67019782
Stanislaus603831028
Tulare49383829
Monterey43267357
San Mateo41157560
San Francisco36032523
Santa Barbara33896446
Solano31875239
Merced31196452
Sonoma29696311
Imperial27987719
Kings22774245
Placer21751283
San Luis Obispo20917256
Madera16260239
Santa Cruz15571204
Marin13861226
Yolo13580200
Shasta11677217
Butte11573196
El Dorado9719109
Napa966679
Sutter9268109
Yuba609844
San Benito598663
Lassen566924
Tehama543056
Nevada445775
Tuolumne406664
Mendocino398747
Amador362551
Humboldt358737
Lake340943
Glenn235725
Colusa219816
Calaveras205551
Siskiyou194021
Inyo141738
Del Norte12747
Mono12734
Plumas6906
Modoc4884
Mariposa4247
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
Alpine880
Unassigned610
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