Hundreds attend greenhouse gas emissions hearing

MEDFORD, Ore. — Hundreds packed the auditorium at Central Medford High School on Saturday for a public hearing on legislation regarding greenhouse gas emissions.

Oregon House Bill 2020 is a 55-page bill, declaring an emergency in terms of carbon reduction.

As proposed, it aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to at least 80% below 1990 emissions levels by the year 2050.

The state plans to do that by establishing a carbon policy office which would place a cap on greenhouse gas emissions—and the state’s largest polluters would pay per-ton. It’s something state Democrats have worked to pass for several years to address climate change.

Senator Jeff Golden (D) said, “I think Oregon has to do something bold and I think it has to be equitable so that the main polluters over all these years who have not been paying need to and the people that depend on those products and are least able to afford increases are the most protected.”

But Republicans, who face a Democratic majority in both houses, are against it.  Republicans believe Oregonians will end up footing the bill, pointing to a higher gas tax in the state if it becomes law.

Representative Carl Wilson (R) said, “We have a very small carbon footprint in the world and really to try to engage in a entirely new economic system…and that’s what the bill calls for… a new economic system for the state of Oregon based on a tiny carbon footprint. We think it’s a gigantic waste of time.”

More than 130 people testified to the committee Saturday.

You can read the Oregon HB 2020 here: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/HB2020/Introduced

 

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