NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

Oregon poised to enact groundbreaking “cap and invest” legislation with HB 2020

The State of Ore­gon is on the cusp of a huge cli­mate action break­through.

House Bill 2020 — which would make Ore­gon the sec­ond state in the coun­try to adopt a cap and invest sys­tem for pol­lu­tion reduc­tion — is on its way to the floor of the Ore­gon State House for a vote after pass­ing out of the Joint Com­mit­tee on Ways & Means today. The leg­is­la­tion is a major Demo­c­ra­t­ic pri­or­i­ty for 2019.

“Cli­mate change threat­ens our com­mu­ni­ties, our econ­o­my, our ecosys­tems, and our way of life in Ore­gon,” said Gov­er­nor Kate Brown in a state­ment.

“We have an enor­mous oppor­tu­ni­ty to forge a new path on state-lev­el pro­grams to address this cri­sis. Ore­gon can be the log that breaks the jam nation­al­ly in cre­at­ing a tai­lored statewide pro­gram that can meet sci­ence-based emis­sions reduc­tion goals while grow­ing the econ­o­my and invest­ing in clean ener­gy solu­tions, rur­al and coastal com­mu­ni­ties, and impact­ed com­mu­ni­ties.”

“Future gen­er­a­tions here in Ore­gon — and across the Unit­ed States — deserve us to not just think about their future, but to fight to pro­tect it.”

“I look for­ward to sign­ing this land­mark leg­is­la­tion lat­er this month.”

If you haven’t been track­ing the evo­lu­tion of HB 2020 in the Ore­gon state­house, here’s a quick primer on the bill from Joshua Skov, who serves on the fac­ul­ty of the Lundquist Col­lege of Busi­ness and the Cen­ter for Sus­tain­able Busi­ness Prac­tices at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ore­gon. Skov is a long­time advo­cate for sus­tain­abil­i­ty.

“HB 2020 is an Ore­gon ver­sion of California’s AB 32, the land­mark cap-and-trade leg­is­la­tion,” Skov explained in an April com­men­tary. “It will cap total green­house gas emis­sions, auc­tion per­mits for the right to emit, and use those auc­tion pro­ceeds to invest in an equi­table tran­si­tion to a low-[polluting] econ­o­my.”

“HB 2020 deserves our sup­port, but it also deserves scruti­ny in the home stretch. I encour­age you to con­tact your leg­is­la­tors to express sup­port for the bill, as it remains the best chance yet for Ore­gon to join cli­mate lead­ers around the world with strong pol­i­cy action on one of the great chal­lenges of our time.”

Jaime Athos, CEO of Hood Riv­er based Tofurky, says the leg­is­la­tion is a huge oppor­tu­ni­ty for rur­al com­mu­ni­ties in Ore­gon and com­pa­nies that want to bring jobs to those com­mu­ni­ties to ensure broad pros­per­i­ty for all.

“I want rur­al Oregon’s man­u­fac­tur­ers to suc­ceed. I want com­pa­nies like mine to be able to expand and hire more work­ers across the coun­ty,” Athos wrote in an op-ed last month. “This leg­isla­tive ses­sion, law­mak­ers in Salem can help local busi­ness­es achieve these goals by pass­ing the HB 2020 cap-and-invest bill.”

Athos’ com­pa­ny decid­ed ten years ago to make a big bet on clean ener­gy. They spent mon­ey on a new build­ing built to LEED stan­dards with rooftop solar and a super effi­cient HVAC sys­tem and refrig­er­a­tion sys­tem. The result? They achieved annu­al sav­ings of forty to fifty per­cent on their ener­gy bills, enabling them to expand their pay­roll and offer more jobs to peo­ple in Hood Riv­er.

“If HB 2020 pass­es, more rur­al Ore­gon man­u­fac­tur­ers in Hood Riv­er Coun­ty and else­where could ben­e­fit by invest­ing the bill’s pro­ceeds in sim­i­lar ener­gy upgrades,” Athos says. “This saves com­pa­nies mon­ey over the long haul, free­ing up cap­i­tal to grow oper­a­tions and cre­ate jobs. Even when they’re not in-house, these jobs mat­ter to rur­al com­mu­ni­ties. Just think about the installers who drilled solar pan­el rack­ing onto our rooftop, or the HVAC tech­ni­cians who installed our duct­work.”

Athos is absolute­ly cor­rect. A just and respon­si­ble tran­si­tion to clean ener­gy could be a mas­sive boon for Cas­ca­di­a’s small towns and small busi­ness­es.

This is an oppor­tu­ni­ty we must not squan­der. Good jobs and clean­er air go hand in hand. If we want healthy com­mu­ni­ties, then we need to sub­stan­tial­ly reduce or end unsus­tain­able activ­i­ties that pol­lute our atmos­phere, our rivers, lakes, streams, and oceans, and our soil. HB 2020 will help trans­form our region for the bet­ter.

It’s time to accel­er­ate the clean ener­gy rev­o­lu­tion in the Pacif­ic North­west! Let’s get HB 2020 passed and to the desk of Gov­er­nor Kate Brown to be signed into law.

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One Comment

  1. This is the dumb­est thing I’ve ever heard of. Bad for truck­ing, log­ging and lum­ber mills that can’t afford new equip­ment. 👎

    # by Mike Cutright :: June 17th, 2019 at 8:58 PM