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Readers write in about climate change, cap-and-trade and other legislative issues.

Portland State University senior calls for climate action

We're currently facing an ecological crisis, and waiting for change isn't an option.

From severe flooding, like the historic amount we're currently seeing in Umatilla County harming families, homes, and businesses — leading Gov. Kate Brown to declare a state of emergency — to devastating wildfires, the effects of climate change are too enormous and their costs too great to ignore.

In 2019 alone, there were 14 "billion-dollar extreme weather and climate events," costing the United States $45 billion. If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that Earth is our home. We already have the technology to transition to a clean energy future; all we need now is the political courage to act. Therefore, our elected leaders must follow suit and join the fight to ensure a livable future for not only myself but my entire generation.

For individuals wondering how to make a notable impact, I urge, plead, desperately encourage each and every one of you to contact your state lawmakers regarding the issue. Think of your future, of your hopes and dreams, and ask yourself: how can I achieve this if the system that supports us is in crisis? If I can no longer breathe the air outside or find clean water to drink?

Our house is on fire. My generation is counting on our leaders to take action, specifically by passing the strongest version of cap-and-invest possible this year. Otherwise, I and many others will be victims of the climate crisis if the political system continues to forsake our generation with their inaction.

Sharona Shnayder, Tualatin

Cap-and-trade bill only hurts rural Oregon

The politics surrounding Senate Bill 1530 are deeply disappointing. The proponents are desperate to pass a bill that will result in no significant environmental gains but will greatly burden the pocket books of our constituents.

Last Monday, one of the co-sponsors of the bill proposed that opponents of SB 1530 seek a last-minute amendment to benefit pulp and paper mills.This thinly veiled attempt to "improve" the bill by holding good union pulp and paper workers hostage is unacceptable.

If the co-sponsor of the bill thinks we can "save" pulp and paper jobs with an amendment, why wasn't the fix included in the original bill? Why wouldn't the co-sponsors use their superior negotiating position to add the amendment themselves? How disingenuous is it to ask opponents of SB 1530 to beg for their constituents' jobs?

The only way to save pulp and paper mills and Oregon manufacturing is to stop the politicking and get serious about a carbon reduction policy that doesn't annex our state into California...where there are no pulp mills, thanks to the cap-and-trade program.

Betsy Johnson

State Senator, District 16

Brad Witt

State Representative, District 31

Time for climate action, says Oregon House hopeful

We need to pass real climate policy now. Our climate is changing and natural disasters are increasingly prevalent. We keep hearing that "this is the new normal," but in reality, our climate is only going to continue to worsen unless we take serious action.

Climate change is the biggest threat to the human species in our history, and we must take action now to save our planet from crisis.

The Oregon Legislature must pass Senate Bill 1530, a serious climate policy that caps and prices carbon emissions and then invests the revenue in renewable energy. The final version of this legislation must aggressively cap our emissions and allow Oregon to join California's cap-and-trade system. By connecting with California's cap-and-trade system, we will have a much stronger and more stable system. Investing in renewable energy infrastructure will also be pivotal for moving Oregon to 100% renewable energy.

As the father of a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old, I think about the future often. SB 1530 will create the sustainable future our children and grandchildren deserve.

Andy Saultz, Cedar Mill

House candidate backs gun storage bill

As a mother, and a volunteer with Moms Demand Action, there is one bill this legislative session that I am particularly passionate about: House Bill 4005, safe gun storage. This bill would require gun owners to securely store their firearms, and to report lost or stolen guns within 72 hours of the theft. Many gun owners already practice safe storage, and by passing HB 4005, we can set the standard so all gun owners do.

Gun violence is a systemic problem throughout the nation, but especially so in Oregon; on average, one person a day loses their life to gun violence. Oregon's suicide rate is much higher than the national average, and unsecured guns greatly increase deaths from suicide.

Unsecured firearms are also a risk to children and teenagers, who can injure themselves or others if they gain access to a gun. By passing safe gun storage, we can prevent accidental injuries and death of children, and reduce access of firearms to potential school shooters.

We need leadership on gun safety now, and as Washington County residents, we are fortunate that our local Rep. Janeen Sollman is championing this legislation. Please join me in urging legislators to pass HB 4005.

Alisa Blum, Beaverton


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