Mar 14, 2018
A movement for change; a movement for Clean Energy Jobs
“They may try to out-spend us, but we can always out-people them” is a commonly expressed axiom among progressive movements for social change. For Oregon’s clean energy and climate protection movement, this saying most certainly rang true in the 2018 legislative session.
We’ve collectively done so much to show how deeply Oregonians care about protecting clean air and investing in jobs for a growing sector of the economy. We’ve turned out support from every single House and Senate district in the state!
The fossil fuel industry and its allies are among the most powerful and well-funded of any lobby effort to stalk the halls of Oregon’s state capital in any given year. And when it comes to passing Clean Energy Jobs, they worked extra hard this year to dissuade supporters.
Oregonians refused to be drowned out. We came out in force to send a strong, unified message to lawmakers: we want real action on climate change, and we want it now. The Clean Energy Jobs coalition is made up of diverse support from businesses, nonprofits, community organizations, faith leaders, tribal nations, farmers, and individual Oregonians.
Business Support: Over 830 Oregon businesses, large and small, from all over thestate support Clean Energy Jobs. From iconic, homegrown brands like Nike and Widmer Brothers Brewing, to rural family businesses like Fields Farm in Central Oregon, support for Clean Energy Jobs is broad across the state and business sectors.
Community Organization Support: Over 50 community organizations, from the American Lung Association to farmworker unions like Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste to Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, support Clean Energy Jobs. These community organizations represent the interests of tens of thousands of Oregonians from Astoria to Ashland, Lake Oswego to Lakeview, Portland to Pendleton and everywhere in between.
- Individual Support: Over 15,000 Oregonians support Clean Energy Jobs, signing onto a statewide petition to urge lawmakers to pass the bill. On President’s Day, students from across the state utilized the school holiday to deliver thousands of signed petitions to Governor Kate Brown and the House and Senate Majority Offices in Salem.
Citizen Lobbyists: Hundreds of Oregonians from Coos Bay to Cannon Beach, Madras to Medford and attended a lobby day and rally at Oregon’s capitol building to urge lawmakers support of the bill. Oregon’s House Majority Leader called it the largest lobby day she has seen in 20 years working on Oregon politics. Every district was represented in our crowd of more than 500 people.
In Newspapers: Across the state, more than 50 opinion-editorials supporting Clean Energy Jobs printed in newspapers -- in 28 newspapers in 21 communities. Experts and writers including doctors, tribal members, equity advocates, business leaders, local workers, fisherman and local elected officials made up the growing chorus of community voices showcasing strong public support for the bill.
Farms, Orchards and Ranches: More than 195 Oregon farmers support Clean Energy Jobs. Those who work the land day in, day-out -- vintners, ranchers, vegetable growers, orchardists and more -- have experienced how climate change impacts their livelihood, and are urging lawmakers to act now. Groups like the Oregon Winegrowers Association and Friends of Family Farms support, as well.
Local Elected Officials: 50 Mayors, County Commissioners and City Councilors from all around Oregon signed on in support of the bill, providing support in the form of in-person testimony, opinion pieces in local newspapers, and urging constituents to support the legislation.
Faith: More than 128 faith leaders support Clean Energy Jobs. Reverends, pastors, zen teachers, and bishops, and entire interfaith councils support the bill. Pieces in the Catholic Sentinel and local faith newsletters parishioners to put “faith into action” by supporting the bill, calling it a means to protect God’s creation for future generations.
What happens next?
Oregon’s legislative session for 2018 is over and the Clean Energy Jobs bill didn’t pass. We poured our heart and soul into pushing this crucial climate protection bill forward in 2018, because it’s vital for Oregon to be a leader in clean energy and clean air.
Yet the news isn’t all bad. We’re still on track for Oregon’s innovative, job-creating cap-and-invest system to take effect on the same timeline as if it had passed this year! Here’s what happened:
While the bill didn’t pass, several budget items did. The money will help our state prepare the necessary steps over the next year to get the Clean Energy Jobs program up and running on schedule.
Not only that, but we now have commitments from House Speaker Tina Kotek, Senate President Peter Courtney and Governor Kate Brown that they will finish the work and pass Clean Energy Jobs next year! The first time we’ve had solid commitments from all three important state leaders.
A special committee will be set up in the legislature purely to work on this bill and pass it in 2019. The co-chairs of the committee will be Speaker Kotek and President Courtney, the two most powerful legislators in Salem.
2018 may have not been the year, but legislators are on record as saying that 2019 and its longer session is the right time. We’re going to hold them to that.
From a coalition that’s thousands strong, to the support of 77% of Oregonians who know that climate change is real and must be addressed boldly, we’ll work through the next year and be back in 2019 to turn lawmakers promises into real action.