Republican Leader Issues Blistering Statement on House’s Passage of Cap and Trade Bill

Oregon Senate Republican Leader Herman Baertschiger Jr. has issued a blistering response to yesterday’s passage of House Bill 2020, the so-called “cap and trade” bill that is aimed at lowering carbon emissions.

HB 2020 passed the House yesterday on a mostly party line vote, with two Democrats (Reps. Caddy McKeown, of Coos Bay, and Brad Witt, of Clatskanie) joining all 22 Republican members in dissent.

Canby’s representative, Christine Drazan, joined her GOP colleagues in voting, “No.” The freshman lawmaker has been particularly vocal in her opposition to the bill (and you can hear some of her early thoughts on this issue in an interview she did with us back in February), not only because of her belief that it will harm Oregon businesses, industry and consumers, but also that it simply won’t work the way its drafters intended.

The measure is now headed to the Senate, where Baertschiger heads the Republican minority. In a statement yesterday, he predicted “this horrific cap and trade legislation,” if passed, would put Oregonians out of work, hike gas prices and raise the cost of living in our state.

“We are against job-killing bills that will decimate rural Oregon, who many of my caucus members represent,” the Republican senator from Grants Pass said. “Democrats are trying to hide that cap and trade is a gas tax and it will hurt our state. Forcing the bill through the legislature on partisan votes without the good faith effort of Republican amendments is truly a missed opportunity at the detriment of rural Oregonians.”

But Gov. Kate Brown applauded the move by the House, calling it a win for the environment.

“We see the effects of climate change in record temperatures, declining snowpack, reduced summer streamflow, water scarcity, increased wildfires, and elevated public health risks,” she said. “We have a historic opportunity to protect our children’s futures by building long-term competitiveness while creating good jobs and improving access to affordable energy.”

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