Oregon governor prepared to use executive powers to pass climate legislation after GOP walkout

Oregon governor prepared to use executive powers to pass climate legislation after GOP walkout
© Facebook: Kate Brown

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) said that she is prepared to use her executive powers to pass legislation aimed at cutting carbon emissions after a landmark climate bill was killed in the state Legislature following a walkout staged by Republican lawmakers.

"Let me be very, very clear: I am not backing down,” Brown told reporters while discussing House Bill 2020 at a press conference Monday, after the sweeping climate bill, which sought to cap greenhouse gas emissions in the state, was killed Saturday.

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"Working on legislation is my preferred approach; collaborating across the aisle and around the state,” she said, according to the Willamette Week. “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,” she added.

Republican lawmakers in the Oregon Senate returned to the chamber on Saturday following their nine-day walkout in opposition to House Bill 2020.

Though the bill had already passed the Oregon House and Brown had indicated support for the measure, a number of Republicans fled the state capitol in efforts to deny their Senate colleague a quorum to vote on the major climate bill.

But once it was revealed that Democrats, who hold the majority in the state Senate, were unable to gather the necessary votes in their chamber to send the statewide carbon cap bill to Brown’s desk for signature, Republicans returned to vote on a motion to send the proposal to committee. The 17-10 vote effectively killed the measure for the legislative session.

Republican state senators cited concerns that the bill would harm “energy intensive, trade-exposed” businesses in local rural communities as reason for their opposition to the legislation.

Brown said she will continued to listen to concerns brought by residents, but added that “doing nothing to reduce emissions is not an option.”

“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,” she continued.