Oregon Republicans most likely understood at the end of the last session that the controversial carbon emission issue wasn’t going to go away.
Already, one of the architects of the carbon emission reduction bill that failed during the last session is hard at work crafting a new proposal.
Readers probably remember that Senate Republicans walked out of the 2019 session, a decision that destroyed hopes by Democrats to push their favored carbon emission blueprint into law.
The bill was designed to slash the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and generate funds to use on a host of environmental programs.
There is also, apparently, a push by an environmental group to put a carbon emission reduction measure before voters.
Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, the lawmaker who led the effort for the carbon emission reduction legislation, is working to simplify a new bill and that should be good news for everyone, especially voters.
That’s because the original piece of legislation was a confusing tome that created a host of questions from critics.
A more narrowly tailored piece of legislation is needed because there isn’t any doubt — or shouldn’t be — that climate change is real and we all need to discover a way to address it.
But we can’t develop a solution on the backs of the rural residents of Oregon. Nor barge ahead with a solution that ignores the valid concerns of those of us who live and work and play in the great rural areas of Oregon.
Dembrow and his Democratic supporters on a new carbon emission bill must find a middle ground with Republicans on this issue, and that is going to be a pretty tall order.
The well between the two parties on this issue has, indeed, been poisoned. But that shouldn’t mean lawmakers throw up their hands and walk away. This is an important issue, and just because it was bungled in the last session doesn’t mean it should be discarded. What must be avoided is another long, drawn-out political battle that ends with the minority party walking away from the capital.
No one is going to say finding a solution will be easy. It won’t be. Democracy is a messy business sometimes, and the last session’s battles over the carbon reduction initiative clearly reinforce that scenario.
The Democrats staked their legislation success last session on a bill that was essentially a prototype on political overreach. They must work with their political brethren in both the House and Senate to find a viable solution.