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After Republican Protest, Oregon's Climate Plan Dies

Wednesday June 26, 2019. 03:00 PM , from Slashdot
Oregon's climate change bill that would cap carbon emissions and make polluters pay for their greenhouse gas production is dead, Senate President Peter Courtney, a Democrat, announced on the state Senate floor Tuesday morning. 'As a walkout by Republican senators over the cap-and-trade bill entered its sixth day -- and in an apparent attempt to bring them back -- Courtney gave assurances that the bill would die in the Senate chamber,' reports NPR. From the report: Republican Sen. Cliff Bentz said Tuesday morning he had only just heard of Courtney's announcement and that he had questions about its meaning. 'The question becomes, 'What are they trying to do?' ' said Bentz, who is believed to be staying in Idaho while the boycott plays out. 'Are they trying to make some sort of arrangement? If they are suggesting they don't have the votes, what's the procedure they're going to use to kill the bill?' Sen. Tim Knopp, a Republican from Bend, Ore., echoed that confusion. 'We need clarification. What does that mean?' Knopp said. 'Does it mean it's dead until the 2020 session? Is the governor going to take it up in a special session?' Meanwhile, senators who backed the bill appeared livid and declined to speak to reporters on the floor. All 11 Republican senators fled the state last week to avoid voting on the bill. Gov. Kate Brown ordered the Oregon State Police to find the Senate Republicans and bring them back to the Capital in Salem for a vote, but none of the Republicans had been found. The New York Times explains what this fight is really about, what's actually in the bill, and how Oregon's bill compares to other state climate policies. Here's an excerpt from the report: Senate Republicans say the legislation would have a devastating effect on farmers, dairies and the state's struggling logging industry, among others. More than that, Republicans say, the bill represents an existential threat to rural life, and they want the residents of Oregon to decide on the proposal, not the Democrats who control the state's capital.

The highly debated bill would make Oregon one of several states to impose an emissions-trading program, a market-based approach to lowering greenhouse gas emissions. The bill would place limits on the amount of carbon dioxide that businesses could lawfully emit. By 2050, for instance, the bill would mandate an 80 percent reduction in emissions from 1990 levels. Some businesses would be required to buy credits for every ton of greenhouse gas they produce. Those credits would then be purchased at special auctions and traded among businesses. Over time, the state would make fewer credits available, ultimately forcing companies to pollute less. The plan, commonly known as cap-and-trade, is modeled after a California law. It is far more extensive than most. Oregon would become just the second state, after California, to require that businesses in every sector of the economy pay for the planet-warming greenhouse gases that they emit.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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