As we gear up for another legislative session, the wheels are already in motion to pass a bill that will create good-paying jobs, reduce greenhouse gases, and promote local renewable energy. The Clean Energy Jobs bill puts Oregon on the cusp of setting a new path for clean energy production that other jurisdictions will be able to follow. But like any major overhaul, the devil is in the details.
Sierra Club has worked for over a decade to reduce the climate impacts of our fossil-fuel-dependent electric utilities. And on one hand, this bill is a huge step in the right direction: it’s a robust policy that caps greenhouse gas emissions, increases the cost of pollution to big businesses, and reinvests that money into communities. The state’s largest polluters will be charged for their dirty business practices with caps on major emissions while business will continue to grow and thrive. The program will increase jobs and drive revenue to clean energy, transportation, healthier communities, and transition funds for workers impacted by climate change or policies. The Clean Energy Jobs bill will also make fossil fuel projects in Oregon more expensive and increasingly less competitive with clean energy, further tipping the scales towards our goal of 100% clean renewable energy.
While there are tremendous benefits to the current bill, we also want to avoid the mistakes and giveaways that other states have made. For example, without additional safeguards, big polluters could continue spewing dangerous pollutants other than greenhouse gases. These mega-polluters tend to be located near frontline communities, creating concentrated “hotspots” of pollution that disproportionately impact low income people, people of color, and rural and Tribal communities. The Sierra Club believes we can fight climate change without sacrificing public health and we are working to ensure that ALL Oregonians benefit from this legislation
For now, the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club is working on and watching this bill closely to better understand its impact on both climate change and public health. As a grassroots organization, we’ve appointed a leadership team of smart and dedicated volunteers to meet with with various stakeholders, learn more, and determine our final position.No matter what, the path Oregon chooses on carbon emissions and greener jobs will have tremendous impact. We need your voice to make this the best bill possible. Contact Nakisha Nathan to learn more or volunteer: firstname.lastname@example.org, 503-238-0442, x 301.