Pass 'Clean Energy Jobs' bill
by Shannon Souza, Coos County Democrats State Central Committee Delegate
(originally submitted to The World as a letter to the editor, published December 15, 2017 - reposted with permission)
Kudos to the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce for another outstanding Economic Forum. It was informative, entertaining and inspiring. Our economy is steadily growing, entrepreneurs are thriving and well supported, and we have a multitude of construction activities in housing, social services, shopping, entertainment, health, public spaces and higher education.
Participants were invited to contribute bold ideas for an even brighter future for Coos County. Here is mine: Pass Oregon HB1070. The "Clean Energy Jobs" Bill would create a greenhouse gas "GHG" cap and invest program under which companies that emit over 25,000 tons of GHG each year (about 100 companies) would be subject to annual limits on emissions. Those companies purchase allowances for emissions, the proceeds of which would total $700M each year to be reinvested in projects that increase our resiliency and further reduce GHG emissions.
The bill includes set asides for rural and disadvantaged communities that are first and hardest hit by climate change ... sounds like us. What could we dream up to invest in here? Renewable energy plus storage — equip emergency response, public water supply, schools and food banks with renewable energy systems equipped with battery back up to benefit us during our typical utility outages, but more importantly, during prolonged periods without access to fuel for generators during catastrophic events. Develop made in Oregon sustainable CLT — the market for Cross Laminated Timber is booming internationally (following inclusion in the 2015 International Building Code). The development of manufacturing facilities could support the added cost (higher labor investment) of sustainable forestry on our public lands while incorporating smaller, diverse species of trees suited to this high value finished product resulting in increased timber employment while supporting the ecological health of our GHG consuming forests.
Since cap and invest legislature was implemented in California and the NE (RGGI) those states have experienced gains in GDP (22-29 percent), employed an additional million people and reduced GHG emissions by 9-40 percent. 54,000 Oregonians work clean energy jobs contributing $7 billion in goods and services that reduce, not increase, our contributions to climate change. The model works. Let's get bold and pass that bill.