SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — In a direct rebuke to Republicans who walked out of the short legislative session over the cap-and-trade bill, Governor Kate Brown signed an executive order that outlines state-level steps to combat the effects of climate change.
Surrounded by students wearing shirts that stated how old they’d be when “my climate fate is sealed,” Brown signed the executive order that put into motion new gas emissions goals and directed state agencies to put new measures into effect to meet those goals.
In a signing ceremony in the governor’s office, Brown said this executive action was necessary since “Republican lawmakers repeatedly walked out on the job.” For the second straight session, the GOP members in both the House and Senate went AWOL during the session, preventing a quorum and effectively blocking any and all legislative actions.
The short session was cut short days before its scheduled end on March 8.
In remarks shortly before she signed the executive order, Brown said the GOP “held Oregonians hostage” on not only this bill but all legislative action.
“Last July, I said if the legislature failed to take action (on this bill) I would,” she said, noting that this executive order is “sweeping and comprehensive.”
“This executive order is extensive and thorough, taking the boldest actions available to lower greenhouse gas emissions under current state laws,” Brown said. “As a state, we will pursue every option available under existing law to combat the effects of climate change and put Oregon on a path we can be proud to leave behind for our children.”
Under this executive order, by 2035 the state carbon emissions goals will be reduced 45% from 1990 levels. By 2050, they’ll be reduced by 80%.
The steps also include sector-specific caps on climate pollution.
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After she signed the executive order, Brown was asked why she didn’t do this the first time the Republicans walked out of the State Capitol in 2019.
“I thought it was important that this was a collaborative process,” the governor said. This bill had “broad support” and she “thought it was important for the legislature to give it another try.”
But, she said, “Republicans forced me to take this action.”
Brown also said there will be opportunities for the public to comment during the rule-making process. She’s also aware opponents may challenge this in the courts.
Full video of executive order signing:
Senate Republican Leader Herman Baertschiger Jr:
“The Governor is ignoring Oregonians. She is not listening to three quarters of the state or the 28 counties that signed proclamations against the cap and trade concept. It’s obvious Kate Brown is not Oregon’s Governor, she is Portland’s Governor, and as she promised, she is serving revenge, cold and slowly.”
Speaker of the House Tina Kotek:
“I applaud Governor Kate Brown for protecting our planet and our children’s future
by taking bold action today with her executive order to combat climate change. Her
order puts Oregon on a path to reduce our greenhouse gas pollution according to
strong, science-based targets. I will be reviewing the executive order to see whether
we need to take additional climate action in our upcoming special session.”
Diana Nuñez, Executive Director at Oregon Environmental Council:
“I want to thank Governor Kate Brown for listening to the thousands of voices calling for action on climate and using every tool at her disposal to protect the future of the next generation of Oregonians. This is a bold response to an urgent need. Oregon is once again a leader taking action to reduce pollution, protect our health, and give our kids a livable future.”
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