Oregon Makes Clean Energy Bill Priority for 2019
After bringing up climate change in Oregon’s 2018 legislative session, Kate Brown and other Oregon politicians have agreed that passing the Clean Energy Jobs Bill will be a priority in the 2019 session.
The bill is being backed by a coalition of businesses and organizations collectively known as Renew Oregon. They aim to combat climate change while stimulating the economy at the same time.
“It’s your generation that has to deal with the worst of climate change,” Brad Reed, Communications Director at Renew Oregon, said.
The bill is looking to make carbon emitting companies pay for emitting greenhouse gases. This bill will only affect companies that use more than 25,000 tons of nonrenewable energy. There are approximately 100 of these companies in Oregon. These companies are almost exclusively oil and coal companies.
Oregonians are torn on the bill and climate change itself. Some think that the bill will have a negative effect on potential Oregon businesses.
“I think that it would definitely harm business, as major corporations would be less likely to invest in Oregon, as compared to places that have lower regulations.” Benjamin Junge ‘19 said.
If the bill passes billions of dollars will be invested in creating renewable energy, such as solar and wind energy, as well as building bike lanes on public roads. The bill will create jobs as well in engineering, architecture, and installation.
“Oregon has done some good work so far, but we’re a long way from where we need to be as a state. By 2020, our state was supposed to reduce our climate pollution to 51 million metric tons per year. We’re not even close. We are closer to 61 million tons per year. We have some laws in place now: the Clean Fuels Standard, Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Act and others, which are putting us on a better path. The Clean Energy Jobs bill will help us get almost all the way to reducing our emissions to a safe level,” Reed said.
Proceeds from the bill will be put towards efforts to reduce pollution and increase clean energy opportunities for Oregon communities.
“Specifically in Oregon, I think we do really well, in terms of being environmentally friendly especially in the Pacific Northwest,” Jade Allen ‘19 said.