Stuart Liebowitz

With wildfires and ocean acidification plaguing Oregon as a result of climate change, it is gratifying that the Oregon legislature is considering passage of House Bill 2020, the Clean Energy Jobs bill. This legislation will slash climate pollution while investing in much needed jobs throughout Oregon. It comes as no surprise, however, that the fossil fuel industry and its allies are waging an all-out campaign of lies and misinformation — as they have done in other states.

Here is the truth about House Bill 2020, the Clean Energy Jobs bill

  • The revenue generated by this bill will be targeted to rural communities such as ours, creating opportunities for much needed jobs in our area.
  • Farmers throughout Oregon will benefit, including those in Douglas County. Money will be available to purchase energy efficient equipment and installation of more efficient irrigation. With only 11 percent of Oregon’s farming irrigation systems modernized, the Clean Energy Jobs Bill will be a blessing to this sector of the economy.
  • An independent economic study of this bill concluded that this legislation will add 50,000 new jobs over the next 30 years and household income will increase across all tax brackets, particularly among low income households. This bill will add 2.5 percent to Oregon’s Gross Domestic Product and benefit all counties.
  • House Bill 2020 will generate $550 million in the first year alone. Approximately $200 million will be targeted for energy efficiency, clean energy development and the forestry and agriculture sectors of the economy. The investment in energy efficiency will result in saving money for Oregonians.

But we need not speculate about the positive aspects of the Clean Energy Jobs bill. History is our proof. Ten states have instituted this type of program. Every one of these states has a growing economy, falling emissions, stable energy prices and thousands of new jobs. Lets look at the specifics:

  • Nine northeastern states adopted this type of program in 2009. Since that time, their economies have grown an average of 25 percent, electricity prices have fallen 3 percent and emissions have been slashed 40 percent. as a result of this success, they increased their climate pollution reduction targets by 30 percent.
  • California has invested $3.2 billion in clean energy jobs and has seen gas prices fall since the program began in 2012

So how have these states fared compared to other states? The Gross Domestic Product of the nine northeastern states were 4.3 percent higher than the surrounding states and 15 percent better in emission reductions. Contrary to the mythology that we must choose between economic well-being and the environment, a healthy environment and economy go hand in hand.

In conclusion: An independent study has shown that House Bill 2020 will benefit Oregon. And this assertion has been tested successfully in ten states.

It is time for Oregon to be a leader in the fight to address climate change.

It is time to reject the myths and lies of the fossil fuel industry and their allies.

It is time for Oregon to reap the benefits of clean energy technology.

It is time to embrace the future for ourselves and our children.

It is time to pass House Bill 2020, the Clean Energy Jobs bill.

Stuart Liebowitz of Roseburg is a member of the Douglas County Global Warming Coalition.

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