The Oregon Wheat Growers League has carefully considered SB 1530, the 2020 version of Cap and Trade legislation, and the many proposed amendments to the bill being considered by the Legislature. While there have been changes from last session’s HB 2020, that would delay some elements of the Cap and Trade system for some areas of Oregon, the fundamental provisions that are most troubling to Oregon’s wheat growers are essentially unchanged.
SB 1530 provides no significant reduction in Oregon’s carbon emissions but would eventually inflict large cost increases on all sectors of Oregon’s economy.
Costs that wheat growers would be unable to pass on to our customers. As an industry with many centennial and sesquicentennial family farms, we are keenly aware that these delayed costs will eventually come due, including higher fuel and energy costs that increase further over time, higher costs for all our farm inputs, and higher transportation costs to ship our crops to markets. This is on top of significant regulatory cost increases, tax increases, and higher wage and benefit costs already inflicted on our growers by legislative actions in the last few years.
The global wheat market is hyper-competitive, and we are already unable to compete on price in many markets. Further raising our costs will simply drive wheat farmers, especially smaller operations and new and young farmers, out of business in the years ahead. We see no changes in world markets that will make us any more able to absorb these costs in the future than we are today.
We continue to believe that the money extracted, now or later, from rural Oregon and our natural resource industries will largely be redistributed on social programs that have little to do with carbon reductions or climate adaptation. There will be no funding for practical research to improve crop varieties and agronomic practices to further reduce our carbon footprint. No funding to reward growers for the work they’ve already done through no-till practices, precision ag, new technologies or any other innovations, and nothing to offset the real cost increases to our operations.
SB 1530 offers little true reduction in carbon emissions and no significant change in the trajectory of future climate change.We hope the bill will be rejected by the Legislature. We want the Senate to do whatever they can to block the legislation. If SB 1530 moves forward in the legislative process, it should be referred to the voters.
Oregon can do much better than SB 1530. We hope that this legislation will be defeated so we can develop a carbon plan that actually helps with climate change, strengthens Oregon’s rural economy, Oregon agriculture, and Oregon’s other natural resource industries.