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Oregon House passes cap-and-trade bill, Republicans call it 'war on workers'

A bill aimed at curtailing greenhouse gas emissions passed along party lines as House Republicans voiced outspoken opposition.

Posted: Jun 18, 2019 11:29 AM
Updated: Jun 18, 2019 11:37 AM

SALEM, Ore. — A bill aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions in the state of Oregon through a "cap-and-trade" system passed the House of Representatives on Monday in a party line vote.

House Bill 2020 passed with 36 Democrats voting in favor and 24 Republicans against.

“The climate crisis is a constant threat to our way of life, a threat that would make the planet, as we know it, uninhabitable,” said Rep. Karin Power (D-Milwaukie), a chief architect of the legislation. “We have faced great challenges before and come out stronger for them. We can’t delay any longer. If we do, we will have to face future generations and explain to them our inaction, even with all we knew. Today, we can show that economy-wide programs to transition from fossil fuels toward a clean, renewable future are possible.”

House Republicans, meanwhile, characterized the bill as potentially disastrous for Oregon workers and their families. Despite acknowledging the validity of warnings from the climate science community, GOP lawmakers stressed that Oregon shouldn't have to foot the bill for efforts to curb greenhouse gasses.

“This is the most destructive piece of legislation to ever come through the House of Representatives,” said House Republican Leader Rep. Carl Wilson (R-Grants Pass). “Workers will tremendously suffer under Cap and Trade. Thousands of jobs will be lost. Wages will decline, gas prices will climb, and family budgets will be strained. Climate change is a global problem, not an Oregon problem. Oregon’s workers should not be punished for the reckless environmental policies of China and India.”


READ: Truckers and loggers protest cap-and-trade bill, saying it will hurt Oregon's industries.


In a separate statement, Rep. Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany) indicated that she supported the concept of the bill, but not the execution.

“This whole session, as part of the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction, I have worked tirelessly on this bill to try to minimize the harmful impacts on working families while maximizing greenhouse gas reductions," Rept. Boshart said. "Unfortunately, all the effort has been for nothing.”

Under the bill, greenhouse gas emissions would be capped each year to achieve at least 45 percent below 1990 emission levels by 2035 and at least 80 percent below 1990 emission levels by 2050. In order to achieve those reductions, the state would reduce the greenhouse gas emissions cap each year, and auction allowances for companies to meet their compliance obligation.

Democrats said that polluters would be required to buy an allowance for each ton of greenhouse gases emitted, with the allowances going down over time. Businesses could choose to continue purchasing allowances, reduce their emissions through technological innovation, or both.

Revenue raised by the cap-and-trade program would then be invested in rural communities and green programs, according to supporters.

“For regions already experiencing climate change, these investments can’t come soon enough,” said Rep. Pam Marsh (D-Ashland). “In my part of the state, we need money for forest management projects that will sequester carbon as we prevent and suppress wildfires. As droughts become more frequent and temperatures continue to rise, we need to upgrade and protect our drinking water and irrigation systems. And we need support from the state to buttress and diversify an economy that is exceedingly vulnerable to the impacts of smoke and fire.”

House Bill 2020 now goes on to the Senate, where it faces a potentially greater challenge.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 206851

Reported Deaths: 2756
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah40371614
Washington26781248
Marion23425323
Clackamas18932235
Lane13908164
Jackson11535146
Deschutes1001882
Umatilla859387
Linn561181
Yamhill478279
Klamath477678
Polk399356
Douglas388483
Malheur361463
Josephine360672
Benton326522
Jefferson237039
Coos216637
Columbia192129
Union149924
Wasco144430
Lincoln143021
Crook129223
Hood River121633
Morrow115416
Clatsop10589
Baker101115
Curry71011
Tillamook6604
Grant5507
Lake4678
Harney4339
Wallowa1945
Gilliam801
Sherman671
Wheeler351
Unassigned00

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Cases: 3809710

Reported Deaths: 63356
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles124774424456
Riverside3016684627
San Bernardino2992894845
San Diego2818103771
Orange2730575113
Santa Clara1201632188
Kern1107991404
Sacramento1078211736
Fresno1029471724
Alameda896591277
Ventura816611031
San Joaquin747271440
Contra Costa70730813
Stanislaus634971070
Tulare49776849
Monterey43836432
San Mateo42681581
San Francisco37269556
Santa Barbara34613455
Solano33762266
Merced32313478
Sonoma30884317
Imperial28855741
Placer23589299
Kings23195247
San Luis Obispo21421261
Madera16638245
Santa Cruz16246208
Marin14206230
Yolo14160212
Butte12668194
Shasta12630233
El Dorado10396116
Napa1002680
Sutter9663113
Yuba648951
San Benito610963
Lassen578424
Tehama573463
Nevada491975
Humboldt449948
Mendocino434050
Tuolumne421271
Amador374047
Lake356345
Glenn243427
Siskiyou239637
Colusa228418
Calaveras220756
Del Norte14588
Inyo143438
Mono12954
Plumas7366
Modoc5585
Mariposa4657
Trinity4225
Sierra1160
Alpine890
Unassigned280
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