PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Students and youth activists marched for climate legislation this Presidents Day, demanding lawmakers move forward on the controversial cap and trade bill.
Young people from across Oregon marched to the Oregon Capitol before meeting with lawmakers on Monday. The young activists are demanding lawmakers complete putting a cap on climate pollution, and they want lawmakers to invest that money in a clean energy economy for Oregon’s future.
“I think this bill is something that will change so much of our society. It’s a very good step to reduce our emissions to a controllable level by 2040,” Olivia Lufkin said. “As a student, I will be very impacted by whether or not this bill is going to pass. As someone who wants to have a future, being here today is very important.”
“For me, my mother has bad lung issues, and so, during the summer when there are wildfires, it is a constant struggle and worry to just go anywhere,” said sophomore Alex Steele. “I don’t think I should worry as a 16-year-old about my mother dying from going to the grocery store.”
Students met mostly with Democratic lawmakers on Monday, urging them to vote yes on the governor’s bill to reduce carbon emissions by limiting how much companies can producer. But opponents insist the bill will mean big increases in fuel prices that would hurt truckers, farmers, and other industries.
The bill is now before lawmakers in a committee session and is expected to head to the Senate floor this week. Republican lawmakers sent a letter to the Senate President, which said they should be working on the budget and other matters before the climate bill hits the Senate floor. GOP members are already considering another walkout to block a vote on the cap and trade bill.
Young people have recently used their voices for climate action as they’ve walked out of school in mass demonstrations.
The activists say they want to stop the climate crisis. The youth gathered at the Saint Mark Church before marching to the Capitol building to rally until 3 p.m.
KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.