By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
A group of Central Oregon truckers are driving to Salem Thursday to participate in the second Timber Unity Rally.
The rally, which is expected to draw thousands of people and hundreds of trucks, is intended to convey opposition to a so-called “Cap and Trade” bill in the legislature which would force greenhouse gas emitting industries such as trucking and manufacturing, to buy credits for each ton of pollution they emit.
“I’m just trying to make a living and employ a few people and if this bill goes through, that will end a lot of it,” said Dane Lane, owner of Dan Lane Trucking in Prineville.
Opponents we spoke with Wednesday say such a system would drive up small business operating costs and hurt rural Oregon economies.
“Right now what we see coming out of Salem is something that we think will kill the middle class in Oregon,” said Crook County Judge Seth Crawford. “A family that wants to start a business in trucking or heavy machinery, is going to be forced to buy the newest machinery and it’s going to price them out of the market. The only people who are going to be able afford these pieces of equipment are those that have wealth and have already made it.”
Seth Crawford and Dan Lane are among 20 Central Oregonians expected to drive to Salem tomorrow to protest the cap and trade bill. They plan on parading trucks around the capitol to emphasize how much it would cost to meet stricter emission standards.
“So that means if I’m going to stay in business I have to buy newer trucks, 2010 and newer, which is a lot of money out of pocket with what we make now,” Lane said.
Lane says trucks that meet emission standards cost at least $60,000. Brand new trucks start in the $160,000 range.
“Allow us to use our equipment and thrive out here. If that’s something you want to do in the metro areas to shut down the older equipment, that’s really not our business,” Crawford said. “Let the people who live in rural Oregon thrive and start businesses and raise families.
A previous version of the bill led to the Republican walk-out during last year’s Legislative session.
This latest version proposes phasing in emission standards in metro areas first, but eventually requires all industries across the state to run cleaner or pay for permits to pollute.