Carbon pricing bill introduced at 11th hour
Beaverton House member Ken Helm today joined Portlander Sen. Michael Dembrow in introducing a bill, within days of the end of session, to reduce carbon emissions.
It may be the one bill introduced in this session in which neither chief sponsor is looking for a "yes" vote this year. Instead, their goal is to start the conversation for two years from now.
A group of 33 legislators from the House and Senate have signed onto the bill.
Earlier in the session, Helm and Dembrow — both Democrats — joined forces to form a bicameral work group focusing on carbon pricing and clean energy. That work yielded Senate Bill 1070, which features a statewide cap on greenhouse gas emissions. The bill also establishes a price per ton of emissions for the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the state and a plan to reinvest proceeds into projects to reduce pollution and bring job opportunities to economically distressed communities across the state.
The lawmakers are out of time to the bill to pass this session — which is constitutionally required to conclude on Monday. Their goal is to launch the conversation for the 2018 legislative session.
"We've worked hard and learned a lot this session about how Oregon can effectively cap and price climate pollution," said Helm, who chairs the House Energy and Environment Committee. "The Clean Energy Jobs Bill is in a good place after months of work. We'll take the summer and fall to refine the details and find the most effective ways to invest in Oregon communities and reach those in need of increased opportunities, jobs and clean energy. The policy will be ready for next year."
The new bill retains many of the major policy components of earlier bills that were introduced this session.
"It's time for us to continue our pioneering ways by taking the lead in battling climate change," said Dembrow, who chairs the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee.
Looking toward the future, Helm added, "Establishing a cap-and-price on climate pollution is the next big step that Oregon must take for clean energy leadership.... We didn't get the concept over the finish line this session, but we've picked up speed and momentum. The $700 million per year in investments that will come from this will be transformative. This is going to happen, because Oregon can't miss an opportunity this big."