Grassroots movement pursues carbon bills


A partnership of a grassroots environmental organization and a youth group is striving to build community and business support for carbon price legislation.

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photoSupport for putting a price on carbon emissions is getting a boost from a grassroots environmental organization and a youth group, which are partnering to build community and business support for carbon price legislation. 

Oregon Climate and the Oregon Bus Project held a video launch party last night at a Portland bar, the Waypost, to raise awareness of climate change and their goal to pursue bills that impose a carbon fee on emitters.

“We want to take our grassroots campaign to the next level,” said Camila Thorndike, executive director of Oregon Climate. The organization is asking for volunteers and donations to support several events it is holding this year around the state to publicize its efforts, including concerts and the building of a giant wind chime on the steps on the Capitol building in Salem. It is partnering with the Oregon Bus Project to grow support among young people for a carbon price.

Oregon Climate is introducing two bills in the Oregon legislature this month: a cap and dividend, and a fee and dividend. Both bills seek to charge emitters for carbon pollution and direct carbon fee revenues to citizens.

Carbon tax legislation has been overshadowed this year by legislative efforts to lift the sunset on the Clean Fuels Program, a bill that would require fuel suppliers to reduce the carbon content of fuel 10% over ten years. The Oregon Senate passed a bill to extend the program on February 17. Governor Kate Brown has not pushed for carbon tax legislation since taking office this month, increasing doubts that carbon price legislation will be taken up by lawmakers this session. 

A Portland State University carbon tax study, released in December last year, found a tax on carbon emissions would have little negative economic impact on Oregon.