Yesterday I posted my testimony regarding Cap & Trade and House Bill 2020. I drove away that evening feeling like I had missed a lot. It’s hard to cover how something is going to effect your operation so thoroughly. I probably wouldn’t have even gotten it all out if I had an hour! But I wanted to get on here to include just a few things that I wish I would have included or explained better. If something resonates with you, even just one small issue, your voice need to be heard.
Opportunities to testify are listed at he end of this blog.
Here are just a few things that I wish I would have included down at the Capitol...
- How much this will cost me just as a person living in Oregon, never mind a business owner. – This is real folks. I said in my testimony that it would cost our business an estimated $5500 in additional fuel costs in year one, only to be increasing from there. But what about my own personal vehicle. What about those who use Natural gas to heat their homes? That increase looks like it will be in the 53% range for home owners? 53%!!! That is ridiculous! Plus we just increased the price per gallon of fuel by 10 cents, now they want to add another 16 cents on top of that. Making us the third highest fuel paying state.
- Use of technology already –Farmers today are very innovative. We take so many things into account when we are working the land and running our business. There are things that can work for us and there are things that don’t work as well. But either way, all the innovations that we have put into place, with this new legislation would be completely disregarded. These could not be a part of the incentive program that is supposed to help farmers so much. A great example of this is our incredibly high investment in irrigation systems. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were put into getting the right amount of water on the crop in the most efficient way possible for our cropping systems. Yet in this bill, we would get zero credit for that. Now if we wanted to put in hundreds of thousands of more dollars into programs, the state doesn’t want to work within parameters that have already been set up and working for farmers. They want new administrative rules, —ones we haven’t been involved with—and there are concerns that administrative barriers will be so high that farmers won’t be able or interested in the new “sequestration” programs. That new tractor that we bought just a few years ago with new and improved better emissions. Doesn’t count. The carbon that we sequester over the thousands of acres of farmland. Doesn’t count. Nothing that we do today will count. All the money that we have put into our business because it was the right thing for the environment, to do more with less. Because we did it before this plan came to be, it’s as though it never happened at all in the eyes of the state.
- More about the sequestration of carbon – Farmers create a vast amount of oxygen for this state. A 50×50 ft lawn creates enough oxygen for a four person family. Now take a drive down I-5 and look around. Let that all sink in. Folks what we are doing with our land here in Oregon as farmers, as we protect it and continue to make the soil healthier and more viable, we are also not just producing food to feed your family, we are also creating oxygen to protect all our livelihoods. Oxygen is produced by taking carbon from the air by plants and making Oxygen.
- Long term implications – This bill has the (very scary ability if not done right) to challenge how we farm viably in this state. See point 3 above, because I’m here to tell you in the midst of a housing crisis, in the midst of a population boom, I have very little doubt in my mind that if we go under due to regulations our of our control. There will be a lot of land up for sale, not to the farmer down the road, maybe to the investment bankers from California, (but that’s a whole other issue) it will be to make solar farms. It will be to concrete, metal, and unless it’s covered in plants, it will have a negative impact on our environment that I don’t think any legislation could fix in any small way.
- I don’t trust that we won’t get just ANYTHING passed – I do not trust our state to be on the forefront of such a large undertaking when only ONE other state has implemented this program. The science needs to be backed up to this, there needs to continue to be more thought put into this bill. There needs to not be the mentality that “we just have to get SOMETHING passed” because that will in the end hurt us more than help us. I also am so frustrated that they took out many of the “helpful” pieces that were agreed upon to be in there to help farmers. When working in conjunction with folks to try to find a workable solution, then those solutions are just disregarded, it leave me little hope that we won’t be raked over the coals or forgotten in this discussion.
It’s not just a conversation about who or what we have to “save”. It’s a conversation about who we are hurting and balancing that against true information about what this will really do in the long term, or even in the short term to change the amount of pollution that we have. I hope I’m wrong on a lot of this but I just don’t think that I am.
Representative Shelly Boshart Davis said it perfectly, “As written, HB 2020 will change Oregon’s economy while have a minuscule and insignificant effect on climate change and carbon emissions. I am not willing to risk good-paying family wage- Oregon jobs in *hopes* that other states will follow suit. Let’s be proud of what Oregon has done and will continue to do to Keep Oregon Green.”
So I urge you….please please call your legislators, write an email, go out and testify at one of the hearings across the state. This is a situation where your voice matters, careful thought matters, and just pushing something through just can’t be tolerated.
Here is an excellent article written by another farmer Marie Bowers.
Here is where you can email your comments:
Here is a schedule of the remaining hearings:
Springfield 2/22 12-3pm
The Dalles 3/1