Brown: Climate policy can protect environment, boost economy

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Brown emphasized the importance of climate policy

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon lawmakers head to Salem next week for a new legislative season. On Monday, Governor Kate Brown shared an overview of her legislative priorities at the City Club of Portland. Her top priority: a bill to cap carbon emissions.

For the upcoming, short legislative session, Brown placed great importance on addressing climate change, efficient wildfire response times, and affordable housing.

“I am committed to crafting climate policy that protects our environment and also grows our economy,” Brown said. “In Oregon, we can do both.”

The governor has two items she wants approved by the legislature. The first being a cap and trade bill—an updated proposal from the one that failed last year. The second is for lawmakers to commit $200 million to prevent and fight wildfires. However, the GOP is already sending out signals that they are not in favor of these proposals.

In a statement, Republican State Sen. Herman Baertschiger said “the short session was not intended for big policy. Instead of rushing it through the session with a divided legislature, this bill needs to be referred to the people to let them decide their own destiny.”

The governor knows that getting some type of climate change bill passed will be a challenge. The upcoming session will only be 35 days long. And last year, Republican lawmakers walked out for more than a week over this issue.

“We listened, we heard, now it’s time to get it done,” said Brown. “We know capping and pricing carbon pollution provides a way for Oregon to meet our climate goals, grow our economy, and create new, good-paying jobs all over Oregon.”

Brown also gave a warning to Republican lawmakers about potentially walking out again over climate change and gun control bills.

“If legislators don’t like a bill, then show up and make it better,” said Brown. “If you don’t like it, vote ‘no.’ Shutting down state government is not the answer to that question.”

The legislative preview took the place of the traditional State of the State address normally given by Oregon governors annually.

This article was written with contributions from the Associated Press.

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