Larry Meyer | The Argus Observer | Feb 25, 2020, Updated Mar 7, 2020
SALEM — There are comments on both sides of the issue regarding the walkout by Oregon Republican Senators over Senate Bill 1530, the cap and trade bill which was passed out of the Joint Ways and Means Committee on Monday morning.
The bill will put a cap on carbon emissions, and continue to lower them, with industrial emitters required to purchase credits.
The vote was mostly along party lines, with the majority rejecting the Republican’s proposed amendments, including one to put the issue before the voters.
Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Dist. 11, participated in the committee vote helping pass it out of committee, over objections of Republican members.
State Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale, said he supported referring the bill to the voters and said he would walk out in a statement released before the Senators’ action.
“I refuse to allow the super-majority to abuse their portions of power by steamrolling this legislation throughout without a fiscal analysis or impact statement of the bill. Not only is it unfair to our constituents for use to take such a significant vote without all the information we need, it’s not wise policy making,” Findley’s statement reads.
“This legislation will do more harm to hardworking Oregon families and small businesses than also any other legislative proposed this state has seen before,” he continued.
The proposal targets agriculture, timber and natural resource communities, according to Findley.
“If my colleagues will not allow for a fair process in the building, then I will represent my constituents from outside the building,” Findley said.
Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, issued the following statement after Republicans walked out.
“Legislators shutting down the government by walking off the job is a crisis for our democracy. This is not a game. Voters elected us to do our job. The members who refuse to show up and do their jobs are saying to a large majority of Oregonians: Your vote doesn’t matter.”
Clint Shock, Democrat and former director of the Malheur Experiment Station, commented today that he supports a tax to reduce carbon but not cap and trade.
“A carbon tax is a good idea,” but there is better way to address carbon reduction than cap and trade. “Cap and trade is not the most creative way to reduce carbon.”
He said the proposal only seeks out short term solutions.
The Republican Party issued a statement of support for the walkout.
“We support in the strongest terms possible the boycott launched today by the State Senators of the disastrous Cap & Trade bill being rammed through the legislative short-session in Salem,” stated Oregon Republican Chairman Bill Currier.
A coalition of unions, environmentalists and other organizations was to hold news conference today to protest the walkout, calling it costly.