Climate Conflict Oregon

Protesters flood the steps of the Oregon Capitol in June to push back against a Republican walkout over a climate change bill. Oregon Democrats look like they will once again try to roll out a plan to regulate the state’s greenhouse gas emissions in February when the Legislature convenes for its month-long session.

Oregon Democrats look like they will once again try to roll out a plan to regulate the state’s greenhouse gas emissions in February when the Legislature convenes for its monthlong session.

While the effort to limit greenhouse gas emissions is an idea with merit, any plan to do so should be one with a lot of input from state voters. Voters should expect a well-crafted, methodical plan that addresses greenhouse gas emissions but also takes into account the unique needs, lifestyle and culture of the rural portions of the state.

During the last session, the debate over a greenhouse gas emission limit ignited frustration and eventually led to a walkout by GOP senators.

The plan then was touted as the best way forward, a thoroughbred that would solve lots of problems all at once.

Upon closer examination, though, the greenhouse gas emission plan pushed by Democratic lawmakers was hopelessly complicated and, instead of a race horse, voters greeted a one-trick pony.

Now, Democratic lawmakers appear poised to put the bridle on the same one-trick pony and pull it onto the political stage.

That’s not a good idea.

Clearly, a suitable blueprint to limit greenhouse gas emissions is in order. Climate change is a fact and while we can all argue about its cause; the reality is we need to do something about it.

But a wide-sweeping, hopelessly convoluted plan, such as the one tossed in legislators’ laps last session, isn’t the answer.

Lawmakers need to spend time — lots of it — configuring a plan that is workable. They need to spend even more time going out into the environs of the state and explaining the blueprint and why it is crucial.

Instead of kowtowing to environmental groups and donors, lawmakers who support a climate change bill need to listen to voters. Not just voters in a few counties in Oregon, but voters from across the state.

Ramming a climate change bill down the throats of voters and lawmakers — as was the case during the last legislative session — isn’t the answer.

This is a complicated subject that deserves careful, prudent study and review. There can be no rush to judgement on such an initiative.

We all want to do something to help the Earth and to limit climate change. But instead of hoping this pony will have more than one trick, let’s strive a bit higher and seek a compromise that works for everyone.

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