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Ag balks at Oregon cap-and-trade ruleAg balks at Oregon cap-and-trade rule

Gov. Kate Brown ordered a state agency to develop the rule after years of legislative efforts failed.

Farm Press Staff

December 21, 2021

1 Min Read
Farms grow wheat, alfalfa, potatoes, and melons along the Columbia River near Hermiston, Ore.USDA ARS

The Oregon Farm Bureau says it will sue to stop the state Environmental Quality Commission from circumventing the Legislature to adopt a “cap and trade” program by rule.

Gov. Kate Brown ordered the agency to develop the rule after years of efforts to enact such a program legislatively have failed, KGW-TV in Portland notes. The regulation was approved last week.

The new rule will place an immediate upper limit on Oregon’s emissions from burning fossil fuels and steadily ratchet the cap down over the next 30 years, according to the NBC affiliate.

The Farm Bureau says the so-called “Climate Protection Program” will devastate Oregon’s farmers and ranchers, raising the costs for the fuels, propane, and natural gas that rural communities rely on to produce food and fiber as part of a global food system.

"Not only do these rules exceed the agency’s authority, they were developed through a rules advisory committee that was hand-selected by the Department of Environmental Quality to allow advocate’s voices to dominate the conversation, and with time-limited hearings designed to avoid real discussion of the impacts of the rules," the organization argues in a news release. "Instead, the department modeled scenarios that discounted the real impacts the new program will have on consumers."

Democrats in the Oregon Legislature tried to pass bills establishing a cap-and-trade program in 2019 and 2020 but were blocked by GOP walkouts, KGW noted.

California has had a cap-and-trade program since 2013 and Washington's is set to take effect in 2023. Both were approved by lawmakers.

California and Washington are among 11 U.S. states with such programs; the others are in the Northeast.

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