Oregon’s Sen. Michael Dembrow and Rep. Ken Helm have introduced two cap-and-trade bills for the state’s upcoming legislative session, known together as the Clean Energy Jobs Bill to supporters, but coined the “Manufacturing Phase Out Act of 2018” to one Republican lawmaker, Sen. Alan Olsen.
House Bill 4001 and Senate Bill 1507 would establish a price per ton fee on emissions for the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the state, then supposedly reinvest the generated revenues into job opportunities in economically distressed communities, according to the Oregon Senate Republican Office. Similar legislation has already been implemented in California.
While the Oregon Business Alliance for Climate has supported the bill, Oregon Business & Industry, the Oregon Farm Bureau and the Northwest Food Processors Association have denounced the legislation for its misplaced priorities.
“The Oregon Legislature’s carbon pricing legislation will stifle the food industries’ 10-year sustainability goals and cost Oregon families. The proposal will tax anybody who uses electricity, natural gas, and transportation fuel,” said Pam Barrow, vice president of energy, environmental and sustainability at Northwest Food Processors Association.
Oregon Business & Industry President and CEO Mark Johnson agreed.
“Rather than pushing a complex, costly program to address an issue that businesses already are making progress on, legislators need to focus on a problem only they can fix—Oregon’s fiscal instability. …They are not asking lawmakers to adopt a California-style cap-and-trade system that will increase the cost of living for Oregonians and drive jobs and new investment away from our state,” he said.
NFIB/Oregon included a question on cap-and-trade in its 2018 state member ballot. The results were clear: 80 percent of survey respondents opposed the adoption of a cap on greenhouse gas emissions and the establishment of a carbon market to generate revenues for clean energy economic development to reduce Oregon’s (already miniscule) carbon footprint.
Oregon’s 35-day legislative session begins on February 5. Public hearings on HB 4001 and SB 1507 are expected to occur as early as the first day that legislators are scheduled to be back in Salem.