A recent article on Oregon Public Broadcasting detailed Oregon State Sen. Herman Baertschiger Jr.’s position on human-caused climate change. The inaccurate statements he posted on social media seem to be either a deliberate attempt to confuse voters regarding the urgency to act on HB 2020 (Oregon’s Clean Energy Jobs Bill) or a measure of his inability to separate his personal bias from settled science on rapid climate change at the expense of his constituents.

HB 2020 will be introduced into the Oregon Legislative short session in 2020 (just a few months away). This bill was the subject of much confusion during the 2019 legislative session and voters would benefit by taking time now to inform themselves on the purpose, need and content of this important bill.

Unfortunately, Sen. Bill Hansell, who represents Eastern Oregon, has expressed almost identical doubts as Sen. Baertschiger Jr.’s regarding the influence of humans on rapid climate change. In light of evidence showing that human actions are currently the main driver of rapid climate change, these doubts should not be part of any debate on HB 2020. In my opinion, these delaying tactics are elements of the Republican party-line position that no significant action is needed on climate change. Across the globe, almost daily, evidence builds in support of immediate action on rapid climate change and a contrary position is untenable and reckless for America and the planet.

The Climate Change Crisis is not a political issue and I expect my representatives to avail themselves of the best available science, then use their individual knowledge and experiences along with critical thinking skills to assess the needs of all constituents and to work within the legislature to craft appropriate measures.

What Eastern Oregon needs at this time, prior to the 2020 short session, is information and dialogue from and with Hansell. The senator, in the past, has been asked to conduct town hall-style meetings with focus on climate change issues but the request did not receive any response from his office.

Please join me in contacting Oregon State Sen. Bill Hansell’s office and asking for information, in the form of town hall-style meetings, regarding the purpose, need, and content of HB 2020.

Chuck LeBold

Union

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