SALEM, Ore., (KOIN) — Now into its 8th day, the 11 Oregon Senators who haven’t shown up for work in order to block a vote on a cap-and-trade bill — and all other legislation — are still nowhere to be seen in Salem.
Hundreds of rural Oregonians flooded the State Capitol Thursday in another rally against HB 2020, the cap-and-trade bill that prompted the 11 Senate Republicans to flee the state rather than vote.
As early as 6 a.m., people began lining the steps of the Capitol to voice their concern about the bill they say will cost them their jobs and their livelihoods. More than anything, they’re worried this bill would price them out of Oregon.
“They were going to stop climate change by sacrificing rural Oregonians like you and me,” said 5th-generation farmer Marie Bowers. “However, they know this will have little to no effect on the climate.”
Generations of rural Oregonians, like Katie Glaser, helped organize Thursday’s rally because they argue HB 2020 won’t have an impact on the climate but will disproportionately hurt farmers, loggers and ranchers.
This group said they agree there is a climate issue that needs to be addressed but they don’t think HB 2020 is the way to go.
“I’m a farmer. My parents were farmers. I married a farmer,” she said. “I think rural Americans in general are tired of not being heard.”
Loren Hutnick, a spokesperson for Timber Unity, owns a small trucking company called H&H. Hutnick said small businesses are “the ones taking the beating on this.”
Hutnick added the senators who walked out — and brought all legislative action to a halt — “did a fantastic thing and we wholly support them.”
Two days ago, though, Senate President Peter Courtney said there wasn’t enough Democratic support to pass the bill and declared the bill dead.
Still, the GOP senators are MIA.
Big rigs paraded around the Capitol in protest. They claim HB 2020 will harm them because of the rise in fuel cost.
“It’s not just our fuel costs, it’s for fertilizer, for seed delivery, seed transportation,” Glaser told KOIN 6 News. “It all compounds.”
She said those costs trickle down and result in higher consumer prices.
“It doesn’t just cost us. It costs everyone,” she said.