SALEM, Ore.— On Tuesday, Senate President Peter Courtney declared that there are not enough votes in the Oregon Senate to pass House Bill 2020, which tackles climate change through a cap and invest program. This comes after 11 Senate Republicans fled the state to prevent a vote on the proposal.
In response, Environment Oregon state director Celeste Meiffren-Swango released the following statement:
“In the past year, the world’s scientists have warned that without dramatic action to curb fossil fuel use, catastrophic and irreversible changes to our climate are likely to result. Increasingly, we can see the effects of climate change in our daily lives right here in Oregon, including record wildfires, drought, and algal blooms threatening the drinking water of our cities and towns.
“House Bill 2020, a proposal to establish a cap and invest program to curb greenhouse gas emissions to the level scientists say is necessary to stave off the worst impacts of climate change, is an important step to ensuring that Oregon is doing our part to solve this global crisis.
“It is deeply disappointing that taking action on such an urgent and important issue has become a bargaining chip for partisan antics, which will likely result in inaction. This is especially disappointing given that a majority of Oregonians support taking strong action on climate change. Our kids deserve better. The people of Oregon deserve better.
“Senate President Courtney claims that there are not enough votes in the Oregon Senate to pass the proposal. If the Republican Senators return to provide quorum before the end of session, there needs to be an up and down vote on the proposal so it can go on record who supports climate action, and who is standing in the way.
“Tens of thousands of Oregonians have called, emailed and lobbied their elected officials. Hundreds of young people have come to the Capitol to stage sit-ins, hold rallies and fight for their future. It’s time to hold a vote.
“We cannot keep kicking the can down the road. Pretty soon we are going to run out of road.”
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Environment Oregon is a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization working for a cleaner, greener, healthier future.