SALEM-The Oregon Legislature's Joint Carbon Reduction Committee will hold a remote public hearing video conference in Baker City, Oregon, on Monday, February 25th from 5:00-6:00 p.m. (PST) regarding House Bill 2020-Oregon's proposed Cap & Trade bill. Those wanting to participate may attend at the Baker County Fairgrounds Event Center. Participants in Newport will also be remotely connected for the meeting.
The Legislature is considering House Bill 2020 which, if enacted, would create a mandatory statewide greenhouse gas emissions reduction program. Under the proposed program, "Regulated Parties" who release 25,000 metric tons or more annually of greenhouse gasses in Oregon would be required to purchase "allowances" (credits) to offset these emissions. Allowances are issued by the state and may be sold at auction. One allowance is equal to one metric ton of CO2. Unless the Legislature decides to give a Regulated Party free allowances, that Party must buy allowances sufficient to equal its annual emissions. This process effectively imposes a price on carbon. The beginning price, on the currently effective date of the bill (January 1, 2021) is estimated to be $15 per ton. The mandate included in the bill is designed to force the reduction of Oregon's current annual 65,000,000 metric tons of regulated CO2 emissions down to about 10,000,000 metric tons by the year 2050.
Senator Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario) is the Co-Vice Chair of the Joint Carbon Reduction Committee. Senator Bentz said: "This bill, as currently drafted, will cost Oregonians, over the next thirty years, millions upon millions if not billions of dollars. It is anticipated that on the effective date of this bill, gasoline and diesel will increase in price by 15 cents per gallon, that natural gas will go up by 80 cents per thousand cubic feet, and that electrical prices will also be affected. The bill is designed to reduce the number of allowances issued each year, in the early years of the program, by about 5 percent, and thus it is likely that gas, diesel, natural gas and electrical prices will continue to go up. I strongly encourage everyone to attend one of the meetings (time and place set forth below), or to email their thoughts, concerns, or their opposition to, or support of, this bill to the Joint Carbon Committee at the email address (also set forth below). It is important that everyone learn how this bill would affect them, the State of Oregon, its climate, and its economy. In my opinion, this bill (HB 2020), as currently drafted, fails to appropriately protect our economy, fails to meaningfully address adaptation to changes in our climate, and will seriously damage businesses within Senate District 30. Additionally, there is no guarantee that the increased amounts that you pay at the pump or for your heating electricity will be used to protect Oregonians against forest fires, drought, and the global impact of CO2 creation. Unless changed significantly, the bill could drive large businesses such as Ashgrove Cement (Durkee) and Lamb Weston (Boardman) out of Oregon, not to mention making it even more difficult to keep farming and ranching businesses viable. Please weigh in and be heard!"
The Joint Carbon Reduction Committee is currently holding meetings across the state to gain public input on HB 2020. In addition to the Baker City/Newport remote hearing, other meetings will be held as follows:
- Springfield: Friday, February 22 - (12pm-3pm), Springfield City Hall, Council Chamber, 225 5th St, Springfield, OR
- Medford: Saturday, February 23 - (9am-12pm), Central Medford High School, Auditorium, 815 S. Oakdale Ave, Medford, OR
- Remote: Monday, February 25 - Remote testimony (live video feed from Baker City & Newport) Baker City: (5pm-6pm)-Baker County Fairgrounds, Event Center, 2600 East St, Baker City, OR Newport: (6pm-7pm)-OSU Lincoln County Extension Office, Thompson Conference Room, 1211 SE Bay Blvd, Newport, OR
- The Dalles: Friday, March 1 - (12pm-3pm), The Dalles Civic Auditorium, Community Room, 323 E. 4th St, The Dalles, OR
- Bend: Saturday, March 2 - (9am-12pm), Central Oregon Community College, Cascade Hall, Room 246-248, 2600 NW College Way, Bend, OR