One Small Thing PDX Climate Legislation Background for the Oregon 2020 Session

(OST CEE Team, 15 February 2020)

 

The climate crisis is now a burning issue, as demonstrated by catastrophic wildfires in Oregon, California and, most horrifically, Australia. The Oregon legislature can take important steps in addressing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions driving the crisis. Senate Bill 1530 (was Legislative Concept 19, or LC 19) is the draft of a “cap and invest” climate bill for the Oregon legislature’s short session, February 3 – March 6. It was drafted under the Senate Interim Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, chaired by Senator Michael Dembrow. Basically, it establishes a declining cap on all GHGs, makes polluters pay, and invests in a transition to a clean energy economy.

 

The purpose of this page is to provide background for activists interested in the emerging legislative battle over climate legislation. To take action see the One Small Thing Climate Action Page

 

OST is one of twenty-two Oregon Indivisible groups supporting a letter to the committee and copied to the governor and all legislators. The letter supports the Clean Energy Jobs Coalition Policy Outcomes for climate legislation. OST’s Climate, Energy, Environment (CEE) team is joining with other coalition partners, such as Renew Oregon, to advocate for passage of a strong bill. (Shilpa Joshi, Coalition Director for Renew, was very happy about the letter: “Wow!! This is so wonderful. This is exactly the kind of public pressure we need walking into a tough hearing on LC 19 on Monday.”)

 

Of course, there is intense pressure both for and against the bill. Its predecessor in the 2019 session was killed when GOP Senators walked out, denying a quorum.

 

A little history, and what’s in SB 1530

 

There was a public hearing on January 13 for SB 1530 at the Capitol. Jane Stackhouse, OST CEE, delivered the COIN climate letter personally to the Senate Committee members, including Senator Roblan (D-Coos Bay).  “The anxiety I saw on kids today is palpable, and totally different to anything I’d ever seen before,” said the former high school principal. “It makes me worry about a generation of kids who are worried about their future and don’t think adults are doing anything to help them” Kudos to Senator Roblan, who went from opposing HB 2020 in the 2019 session, to being a strong supporter of SB 1530!

 

 

 

On February 13, the Senate committee passed the bill. The bill will now go to the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Natural Resources for fiscal review.  We then expect it to go to the full Joint Ways and Means Committee.  If passed from Ways and Means it will go to the full Senate and to the House.

Dirk VanderHart, OPB, summarized the progress of SB 1530 as of February 13. He writes “When the bill takes effect, the governor’s office expects it will regulate roughly 55 million tons of emissions (about 84% of the state’s total emissions).”

 

The main concerns of climate advocates with earlier versions of the bill have been addressed, including directing investments under the bill to impacted communities, governance of investments, limiting emissions by large industrial natural gas users, 

 

Here’s the Committee’s much more detailed SB 1530 A Staff Meaure Summary.

 

Leading climate advocates support SB 1530 A.

 

Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Renew Oregon and Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon support passage of SB 1530 A.

 

These groups and others rallied their supporters, over one thousand strong on February 11, at the State Capitol in Salem in support of SB 1530 A. (See video.)

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