More than 500 businesses, people of faith, farmers and ranchers, and groups from communities of color from across the state are calling on the Oregon legislature to pass the comprehensive Healthy Climate Act (Senate Bill 1574) this legislative session.
The Healthy Climate Act has passed out of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources and is headed to the Ways and Means Committee. Senate leadership has the opportunity to pass strong climate legislation this year. We urge them to make this bill a priority.
The attached letters reflect the extraordinary coalition of grassroots voices calling for action to address climate change, create clean energy jobs, and attract new investment for renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Business. A letter to the legislature (attached) has already been signed by 126 Oregon businesses, including more than 40 businesses in Bend, 16 in the Dalles, and 11 in Roseburg. “We can create a healthy climate and build a strong, more resilient economy by reducing greenhouse gases and investing in clean energy,” the letter notes. [Click here for Oregon Businesses’ letter of support.]
Faith. Calling urgent action to stabilize the climate a “moral imperative,” more than 300 people of faith from a wide range of denominations and regions sent another letter. Seventy-three clergy members signed the letter, including the Rev. Scott Harkness of Roseburg United Methodist, the Rev. Timothy Snover of United Campus Ministry at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Rabbi Michael Cahana of Temple Beth Israel in Portland, as well as Baptist, Methodist, UCC, Unitarian, and Jewish clergy around the state, including in LaGrande, McMinville, Medford, Ashland, and Eugene.
Agriculture. In addition, 47 farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural stakeholders throughout the Willamette Valley and Eastern and Southern Oregon have signed a letter urging strong action on climate change that threatens rural communities’ future by exposing crops to extreme and unpredictable temperatures, droughts, and floods. [Click here for Oregon Agriculture letter of support.]
Communities of Color. Maggie Tallmadge of the Coalition of Communities of Color (CCC) said the Healthy Climate Act is urgently needed by low-income communities and communities of color that are the first impacted by climate change and pollution, and should include provisions that prevent harm, direct economic and environmental benefits to those communities, and ensure inclusive and accountable decision making. Equity must be be front and center in climate change policy. The CCC is an alliance of culturally-specific community based organizations with representation from the following communities of color: African, African American, Asian, Latino, Native American, Pacific Islander, and Slavic.
Under the Healthy Climate Act, a cap would be set on about 85 percent of Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions ― those caused by about 70 of our largest businesses, including fuel refiners, power plants, utilities and large industrial facilities (but not including agricultural operations). An auction would be held to sell climate pollution allowances. Those emitting more than their share of the cap would have a compelling incentive to reduce pollution. Those emitting less could trade their allowances. The cap would be reduced gradually over time.
The auction proceeds would be used to provide important benefits to Oregon communities:
- Millions of dollars would be allocated specifically to renewable energy, energy efficiency, and transportation investments, creating family-wage jobs where they’re needed most.
- A portion would be allocated to reduce utility bill impacts on households and small businesses.
- Another part would be used to protect businesses that otherwise might be at a disadvantage relative to out-of-state competitors.
California has the strongest cap-and-trade program in the U.S., and has attracted over half of the clean-technology venture capital investments in the country as a result. In nine northeastern states, over 16,000 jobs have been created in the first years of their programs.Φ
This Press Release comes from Hannah Sohl, Rogue Climate, firstname.lastname@example.org; Jenny Holmes, Oregon Interfaith Power and Light, email@example.com; and Maggie Talmadge, Coalition of Communities of Color, Maggie@CoalitionCommunitiesColor.org.