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HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Senate walkout: It’s not about climate

Written June 20th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

An Albany sunset: HB 2020 won’t affect our climate one way or another.

It’s worth taking another look at the size of the increase in the Oregon cost of living that Republican senators are trying to prevent by blocking final action on HB 2020.

The Republicans left the state so Governor Brown could not send the state police to round them up. Senate President Courtney plans to impose a fine of $500 per day on each of the absent senators, starting Friday, as long as their absence prevents a quorum of 20. Compared to the cost imposed on everybody in Oregon who needs conventional fuel to live or work, those fines are a small price to pay.

Here’s what the Legislative Revenue Office estimates that the bill would generate in additional funds flowing into the state government once the program takes effect: Almost $1.3 billion in 2021-23, nearly $1.5 billion in 23-25, and more than $1.8 billion in the biennium after that. And that’s just the start of a carbon-reduction program with a goal set in 2050.

The cash flowing to the state would would be paid by Oregon residents in higher energy prices. The state would hand some of it back under various programs, but most of it won’t go to the people who had to pay.

This is not a climate bill, regardless of what the headlines say. In legislative testimony, Oregon’s contribution to worldwide greenhouse gas emissions was described as “minuscule,” and the effect of the Oregon proposal on climate was called “imperceptible.”

So it’s not about the climate. It’s about the money, and about increasing the power of state government to force people to change how they live. In resisting that kind of legislation, senators who lack the votes are right to employ any lawful means, including walking out. (hh)



43 responses to “Senate walkout: It’s not about climate”

  1. Lundy says:

    If the state’s prevailing political climate doesn’t change, a much larger walkout will occur: It will be all of the residents who decide they’ve had enough of the thinking in Salem and take their talents and dollars elsewhere.

  2. Ken Walter says:

    I think with tight budgets the only ways for more political power is to create new revenue streams. Put money in the hands of your political base and let the folks eat cake.

  3. Ray Kopczynski says:

    “It’s about the money, and about increasing the power of state government to force people to change how they live. In resisting that kind of legislation, senators who lack the votes are right to employ any lawful means, including walking out.”

    What did these small-business folks in rural Oregon do when gas was topping $4/gal? Son of a gun -the vast-vast majority of them survived just fine thank you! They will again as this bill doesn’t mandate massive gas price changed immediately.

    Yes, the senators have the right (“lawful means”) to cut & run because they can’t get their way. That is definitely not “senatorial” by any definition of the word. However, IMO, they (of any party doing this!) are flat out abrogating their responsibility to “legislate” – as they were elected to do!

    Having been on the losing end of quite a few votes as City Councilor, one does have to swallow hard and suck it up and move on, but that’s what we’re elected to do! Not take your ball, whine & cry, and run home (or out of state) as the case may be. I’m soooo glad I’m non-affiliated!

    If this is what it takes to “force people to change how they live” – I’m all for it!

    • Al Nyman says:

      I don’t mind if they pass the bill as long as they refer it to the voters to ratify which they won’t. I drove to Boston for my grand daughters college graduation and I can assure you that Oregon gas is at least 30¢ higher than every state I went to including Mass, NY and Penn. With this bill it would be at least 50¢ higher! Oregon is a pimple on an elephants butt when it comes to CO2 production. Compare it to volcanoes.

      • Craigz says:

        While I agree with you Al Nyman on referring 2020 to the Voters…the problem we will face; if Conservative and financially conservative voters don’t get off their lazy behinds and vote, we will lose this battle as two or three Counties (Portland-Eugene) tend to all vote for liberal causes and control this entire State. Apathy and liberalism is destroying the Oregon I grew up in.

    • DSimpson says:

      “What did these small-business folks in rural Oregon do when gas was topping $4/gal? Son of a gun -the vast-vast majority of them survived just fine thank you! They will again as this bill doesn’t mandate massive gas price changed immediately.”

      It must be nice to have your perfect knowledge of the economic impacts of gas price increases on anyone, and apparently rural business owners in particular. You could make a fortune in consulting.

      In a later comment, you also said that you’ll “…take “minuscule” & “imperceptible” over nothing – any day!”, and you seem to believe the economic impacts will also be “minuscule” & “imperceptible” to those paying the higher prices. With that level of blind faith in the ruling party’s infinite wisdom, I can see why you think everything is wonderful.

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        Show me the dramatic problems that have occurred over the past years when gas prices were much-much higher. This “sky is falling” angst I read is simply hyperbole & paranoia of a perceived major problem to come down the road. I don’t buy it for an instant…

        • Al Ny says:

          Why don’t you tell us why you are so adamant that we pay high gas prices so you can waste the money on some frivolous government activity that produces no results.

          • Ray Kopczynski says:

            Because I believe the minimal[!] pain incurred over the many years of the bill will be more than offset by potential gain.

            Your turn: Answer my “question”: Show me the dramatic problems that have occurred over the past years when gas prices were much-much higher.

        • DSimpson says:

          You made the initial claim about increased gas prices having little to no impact on businesses– specifically rural businesses. When you get called you on it, it’s on you to back it up, not the people looking for legitimate sources beyond your unsubstantiated claims.

          This is no different from a religious zealot making outrageous claims and telling unbelievers the burden of proof (against the claim) is on them. That’s not the way it works.

    • Rich Kellum says:

      Ray, Ray, Ray………….. Was this an awful tactic when the Democrats did it in Texas, or when the Democrats did it in 2010 here in Oregon for political advantage?? Was this an awful tactic when Dick Olsen did this at Albany Council with your acquiescence so you could get Marijuana??
      In another part of this thread you stated that you would take miniscule over nothing………… OK I believe you… now get rid of those 2 cycle Saab cars that pollute so much that you can see the blue smoke when you take off… you seem to be talking out of both sides of your mouth…

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        Yes it was and is “awful.”

        As I stated forthrightly during the cannabis gig, I thought it was (and still do) that it was a “chicken-sh*t” tactic to use and totally abrogated the responsibility of the position. I chose not to participate in it. It came about because you gutted the city code that allowed for abstaining as the proper method.

        As far as my 1965 2-cycle Saab is concerned, I would have **no problem whatsoever** mothballing it if the rules were changed to disallow any/all 2-cycle engines in any machinery….

  4. centrist says:

    HH
    If I understand your point, this bill applies a use penalty to discourage consumption of carbon-derived energy. Admirable intent, but there’s no mechanism in place to reach a goal.
    I don’t think that concept of “if you build it, they will come” works in the real world.
    Admirable intent, poor solution

    • Bob Zybach says:

      thomas: Why is this an “admirable intent?” The intent is to raise money through taxation by using pseudo-science as justification. If the “intent” is truly to “combat” climate change, then we already know this is a useless exercise. Basically a facade is built to make something appear more palatable than the reality. If the legislators can bring this subterfuge to the attention of the public, then they are using the walkout strategy as their method of “legislating.” More power to them.

  5. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Every level of government rewards assimilation and maligns friction.

    The data and conclusions you cite just need to be “adjusted” and “homogenized” to fit the state’s narrative.

    Move along….nothing to see here…..

  6. thomas earl cordier says:

    Thank you Oregon Republican Senator’s for rebelling against the entrenched liberal ruling class in Salem. I’d gladly pay money into a fine pool for them to stay away. Thanks to HH too for recognizing the option to not allow a quorum to stop the over-reach.

  7. Thomas Aaron says:

    The climate doesn’t care about money, politics, what you believe in, nor does it have feelings. It’s being irrovacbly FUBAR’ed by our way of life and there will be no long term outcomes that will favor the continued existance of the human race if we keep putting forth the effort of an apathetic teenager the night before the big exam.

    Just because we as a state make up a statistically insignificant number against the rest of humanity in regard to many things does not mean that the path we choose will not have a significant impact.

    Regardless of this bill in particular, our elders and leaders need to do their jobs. These people are not conducting themselves in a professional manner, especially as state employees, and need to be held accountable. They are running away as cowards not only in the eyes of their peers, but from those they represent.

    Shame on Brian Boquist for his suggestion of violence in the matter.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      Well stated…

    • Jerry Mandered, MI says:

      Agreed 100%!

      Bottom line: Senators are AWOL.

      Dear AWOL Senators,
      Abandoning your sworn duties as an elected official does NOT serve your contituents. It makes you a liar, an oathbreaker, and borders on treasonous behavior.
      It is disrepectful to the government and only serves to further cement the idea in my mind that the GOP values dollars over lives, that they will absolutely choose financial gain over ethics every time, that they will commit crimes against life and claim its ok because “everyone else is doing it.”
      The reason you are being fined is law! We should be adjusting the fees for inflation since the time they were written!
      Shame on you 11 for acting like children and shaming a respected gov’t office.
      The entire country is watching you disgrace your office, Oregon, and the United States of America!
      Sincerely,
      Jerry Mandered, MI

  8. ean says:

    Walmart is worth $300 billion dollars. I could steal $100 worth a merchandise every day and it wouldn’t affect their bottom line at all. By that logic there is no reason not to steal from Walmart.

      • ean says:

        This is not a climate bill, regardless of what the headlines say. In legislative testimony, Oregon’s contribution to worldwide greenhouse gas emissions was described as “minuscule,” and the effect of the Oregon proposal on climate was called “imperceptible.”

        • Ray Kopczynski says:

          I’ll take “minuscule” & “imperceptible” over nothing – any day! As I’ve oft stated, when did you ever see industry be proactive on emission controls of any kind without being mandated to do so? It took toxic rivers & rivers on fire to get peoples attention. Kinda the proverbial 2X4s across the forehead IMO.

  9. hj.anony1 says:

    Maybe, just maybe, these deserters won’t ever come back. In doing so, do us all a favor. Possibly many favors.

  10. Bryan says:

    What the Republicans are doing is no worse than the crap the Democrat bullys have been pulling. If you’re a democrat representing your people but the Democrats don’t agree with you they just silence you.
    http://www.kast1370.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5165:johnson-removed-from-committe-on-cap-and-trade&catid=17&Itemid=101
    Stop acting so innocent. Democrats will be the cause of the next civil war when the people that actual pay for all this BS say enough is enough. Luckily I’m not real worried about, fighting the population of Portland or Eugene, other than lice, scabies, and dirty needles, they don’t have any weapons.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      “Democrats will be the cause of the next civil war when the people that actual pay for all this BS say enough is enough.”

      Rabid paranoia for sure! The change will come via the ballot box if the populace wants it to happen.

    • HowlingCicada says:

      “””… fighting the population of Portland or Eugene, other than lice, scabies, and dirty needles, they don’t have any weapons.”””

      Don’t forget my beloved Corvallis. We will fight you with flowers.

  11. H. R. Richner says:

    It took a letter by Jeff Freeman to the editor of our local paper last Sunday to inform us what “minuscule” means about the effect of the proposed legislation. It should infuriate us to realize that the entrenched media never mention the relevant numbers in this controversy as, as a rule, they don’t make their case.

    What this is is more evidence that the environmental movement is mostly the deep state moving to take over what is left of our personal liberty. Have they no shame?

  12. HowlingCicada says:

    Why not sidestep the argument about climate change and ask instead if a reduction in carbon-derived energy consumption would be useful for other reasons, in the USA and even Oregon, in the foreseeable future?

    1 – Economics: By reducing demand for oil, we help maintain tolerable prices into the future. Reduce future scarcity by leaving more in the ground, worldwide. If we had a tariff on imported oil which varied by world-market price to stabilize American oil prices, then domestic producers could stay in business without ruinous boom-bust cycles. Consumers benefit from price stability. Business, especially, hates uncertainty.

    2 – Geo-politics: With reduced demand met by USA and friendly allies, we would have less need to prop-up weird and murderous regimes (or corrupt and environmentally-devastated ones).

    3 – Environment: Less fuel burned equals not only less CO2, but also less of nasties like NOx, SO2, ground-level ozone, and fine particulates. Right here in Oregon.

    Too many more examples, too little time.

    Oregon’s role is not so miniscule when you look at it this way. We are in the vanguard as usual. The rest of the country will follow eventually. That’s why we should act.

    I would have preferred a direct, pre-determined tax increase on fuel, in concert with neighboring states, but I’m willing to support anything that will accomplish the same goal if that’s what it takes.

    • Ken Walter says:

      I can’t afford solar panels or an electric car, how is this good for me? All this does is take more money out of my pocket with no benefit to the environment. Policy that helps moving forward is one thing but policy that punishes the people is just bad policy. Let the climate bill see “the light of day”, and let the people vote!

      • HowlingCicada says:

        “””I can’t afford solar panels or an electric car, how is this good for me?”””

        It isn’t good for you today, but not disastrous. In the longer term, reduced demand and stable supply of your fuel will prevent it’s price from increasing as much as it will if demand remains steady or increases. Fuel tax can be used to avoid other likely tax increases. Higher prices due to high demand only enrich the owners of a scarce resource, far away.

        Conservatives could push for making the scheme revenue-neutral (lower income tax, etc), instead of just opposing everything which seems to have no immediate benefit. Tax undesirable things more (tobacco is another example). Tax everything else less. Moderate liberals could support this. It’s what Republicans should be doing.

  13. Ray kopczynski says:

    “Let the climate bill see “the light of day”, and let the people vote!”

    I very proud to be part of a republic with representative government — and not a vote on every issue that bothers some folks… Elections do matter!

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      Direct democracy is a medicine that must be dispensed on occasion.

      In 2013 the people of Albany dispensed several doses. The initiative process was used effectively to insist that city government become more responsive to the people in regards to city debt and urban renewal. You do remember this, eh? .

      Apparently you’re still feeling the sting of defeat given how prone you are to hyperbole about the issue (“a vote on every issue that bothers some folks”). Time to grow up, Grasshopper.

      • centrist says:

        GS
        You frequently beat the drum for popular control of expenditure of public money.
        A little (now former) city named Damascus Oregon attempted that. They had elected officials, police and fire service. They had tax income. Problem is that, eventually, there was no way to spend money. Services stopped. All of the elected officials now live outside the boundaries. The city dissolved and distributed accumulated money to the governments who provided service.
        So
        The experiment in government failed. It might work for a small group whose members all interact daily. It doesn’t survive scaleup. Hence representative government.

        “Time to grow up, Grasshopper.”

        • Gordon L. Shadle says:

          Like Ray you create a caricature of my position, then you criticize the caricature in a self serving way. This is called intellectual dishonesty.

          I am on record through numerous letters to the ADH that direct democracy is a scalpel, a rational response that must be implemented on occasion (for example, see my previous comment). I have stated publicly that on many political issues representative government serves us well.

          You assert that I “frequently beat the drum for popular control of expenditure of public money.” If “popular control” means direct democracy, your assertion is a lie. My public comments on direct and representative democracy reveal your lie.

          And I couldn’t care less about what is happening in Damascus. BTW, contrary to your assertion that it is a “former city”, it is still a city according to the Oregon Court of Appeals. If you’re going to play this game, at least stay up on current events.

          • centrist says:

            GS
            Looks like I touched a nerve. I expected a reply, but not with as much intensity.
            For the record, I only know your writings from this blog. I’ve never seen a support for representative government.
            As for Damascus, I’m fully aware that the Court of Appeals has ruled that the disincorporation was improper. The rebirth is stillborn though. The entity has no elected officials, no assets, and no way to tax.
            My point was that the social experiment met a predictable end.
            Disengaging now so that HH doesn’t blow the whistle and put us penalty boxes for a duration of his choosing

  14. Rhea Graham says:

    Again I say, if they would stop the #WeatherGeoEngineering, #SolarDimming, #SolarRadiationManagement, #WeatherWarfare … whatever you want to call it, our climate would be able to clean itself up… and look at the millions of dollars they would save!

  15. David Jones says:

    It is about the Peoples Repubic of Portland once again kicking the rest of the State.. Aren;t there any Democrats outside Portland who are loyal to the citizens who put them in office, instead of blinding following the Govenor and the party line?

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