Carbon legislation causes rift for members of pro-climate policy business group.
Deschutes Brewery and Dutch Bros Coffee were both victims of a “horrific misinformation campaign” designed to quell their support for cap and trade legislation, says Nancy Hamilton, co-director of Oregon Business For Climate.
In a sign of just how divisive Oregon’s cap-and-trade bill (HB 2020) has become for the business community, Deschutes Brewery and Dutch Bros Coffee, two well-known retail brands, have left Oregon Business For Climate, the trade group that vocally supports the climate legislation.
In an announcement over Twitter, Deschutes Brewery said it cancelled its membership with Oregon Business for Climate and any support for HB 2020. While it supports federal legislation that “contributes to sustainability,” the brewery also believes in “the importance of local business.”
Also over Twitter, Dutch Bros Coffee said it was “never our intention” to become part of any lobbying efforts. “Dutch Bros has been, and always intends to be, a company dedicated to being neutral on all issues related to politics and religion,” it said.
It is an abrupt about-turn for the companies to drop their membership and support for cap and trade. Oregon Business For Climate was set up in 2017 specifically to support a market-based carbon pricing program.
Hamilton said several of the group’s members notified her that they had been subject to bullying by a vocal minority of businesses against the climate legislation.
One prominent anti-climate legislation group has led a campaign against the cap and trade bill using the Twitter hashtag #TimberUnity. Stimson Lumber CEO Andrew Miller has been a vocal opponent of the bill, claiming it would impose billions of new taxes on Oregonians.
Hamilton said the bullying of its members is uncivil and “not how Oregon rolls.”
HB 2020 appears dead in the Senate after the chamber’s president, Peter Courtney, announced on Tuesday the legislation did not have enough votes in the upper house to pass. His announcement came after Republicans staged a walkout to avoid voting on the bill.
Oregon Business For Climate Chair Tom Kelly said in a statement the decision by Senate leaders to declare HB 2020 dead without holding a Senate floor vote “demonstrates an extraordinary breach of faith with how our legislative process should work.”
Hamilton said her group will continue to support climate legislation. She said it will wait to see what happens between now and the end of this week when the legislative session ends before deciding how to move forward.
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