Oregon Governor is preparing to use executive power to pass climate change action

Despite a valiant effort by Oregon Democrats to push a carbon cap bill that would help the state lead the way in the fight against climate change, Republicans sabotaged the measure. And that’s why Governor Kate Brown is strongly considering enacting the measures anyway through executive action.

Last month, the Democratic-controlled state House passed legislation that would have capped carbon emissions, a move that is absolutely necessary to prevent uncontrolled climate change that scientists are sounding the alarm over.

If global temperatures rise any further, we will see extreme weather like never before and up to one million species on our planet could go extinct. Sea levels will also rise due to melting ice caps, which means coastlines and cities around the world will be underwater.

Oregon, of course, is a coastal state that is threatened by sea-level rise. And that’s why the legislation is important. But Republicans cowardly fled the state Senate and the capital to deny Democrats a quorum to hold a vote. Brown could have and should have ordered them arrested and brought back to do their jobs, but they returned after Democrats could not come up with the number of votes to pass it.

Now Brown says she refuses to surrender on this crucial action.

“Let me be very, very clear: I am not backing down,” she said during a press conference on Monday.

Republicans may be gumming up the works in the legislature, but Brown believes she has executive options up her sleeve to use to enact at least some of the measures.

“Working on legislation is my preferred approach; collaborating across the aisle and around the state,” she said. “However, given the uncertainty that now permeates Oregon’s political system, I am also directing my staff and agencies to explore alternative paths in case these collaborative approaches do not lead to successful legislation. This includes the use of my executive powers and direction of state agencies.”

“[D]oing nothing to reduce emissions is not an option,” she concluded. “Not for our economy, our communities, our environment and of course, particularly, our children. I am open to modifications, but I am not open to inaction.”

Brown is the kind of leader America needs. Our nation is not immune to the effects of climate change. One day soon, it will cause problems for us and Brown is unwilling to stand by and let it happen while Republicans are too busy sucking up to the fossil fuel industry to actually give a damn about the millions of people who are in the cross hairs of climate change. We can no longer afford to wait and the time to take action is now, whether Republicans like it or not.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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