My View: Clean Energy Jobs bill does the right thing
There's a sign posted in my restaurant that reads "healthy food starts with a healthy community," and I really believe that. That's why my wife and I started Bambuza — to have an opportunity to share the food we love with others and to support our local community through the work we do. It's incredibly gratifying to do that every day.
We've worked hard to make a positive difference through our business. Through support from some existing programs, we've upgraded equipment to help us operate more efficiently and conserve energy, like smart kitchen ventilation systems that reduce energy consumption by as much as 70 percent, high-efficiency fryers and LED lights. These upgrades save us money on bills and operating costs and help the community by using less electricity, too.
These changes were a no-brainer for us. As any small business owner will tell you, every dollar counts and is an opportunity to reinvest in your business That's why I think it's so important to support Clean Energy Jobs, a bill being considered by the Oregon Legislature for passage in 2018.
Clean Energy Jobs will help our state cut down on pollution while generating revenue — $700 million every year — to help businesses and individuals invest in clean energy and energy-efficiency projects. It would make it even easier for small businesses like mine to do the right thing, and to do it even more.
Clean Energy Jobs also would benefit local communities — in the Portland area and around the state. The upgrades and projects funded through Clean Energy Jobs will need local workers to perform them. Creating those kinds of jobs — family-wage, local jobs that can't be outsourced — will build our clean-energy economy around the state and will touch all communities, rural, suburban and everywhere in between.
The bill provides other invaluable benefits that align with Oregonian values, preserving clean air to breathe and healthy water to drink. Capping climate pollution will cut down on the pollution that triggers asthma, heart disease and other health problems. And these are health issues that affect people around the state — nearly a half-million Oregonians suffer from lung disease, and 71,000 kids in our state suffer from asthma. Supporting Clean Energy Jobs means supporting the health of our communities — especially the families, farmers, fishermen, firefighters and others who are dealing with the brunt of climate pollution every day.
Sustainability is a core value for us. We only use compostable or recyclable packaging, we recycle our fryer grease to be converted into clean-burning biodiesel, and we support local jobs by using local products as much as possible.
We've done some good things, but we're really only just getting started. I've been eyeing an electric van and would love to convert to a small fleet of electric vehicles that we can use to shop for ingredients and run between locations without creating additional pollution or cost. I dream of investing in a bank of rooftop solar panels to power our walk-in freezers and coolers. Projects like these — things that I view as just doing the right thing — will be easier to do if we can pass Clean Energy Jobs.
We should make it easy for more Oregonians to do the right thing. Let's prioritize our state's transition away from polluting energy and toward embracing a cleaner, more just, more sustainable economy. Let's pass Clean Energy Jobs.