By HEATHER ROBERTS
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
Truckers converged in Salem on Thursday for the second annual “Timber Unity” Rally.
While the crowd appeared slightly smaller than last year, their opposition to the so-called “Cap and Trade” bill was the same.
Central Oregonians were among the crowd of thousands gathered in front of the Oregon Capitol to show their opposition to a bill aimed at capping carbon emissions.
The climate bill aims to curtail the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere by limiting, through allowances, the metric tons being emitted. It provides a system for covered entities to buy and sell allowances and offset credits used to demonstrate compliance with obligations.
Opponents of the legislation say increased costs to major greenhouse gas emitters will be passed down to consumers, especially affecting the poor.
Organizers of the Timber Unity rally, a repeat of one staged last year, handed out hot dogs, potato chips and juice for the hungry. Many wore red Make America Great Again caps and waved American flags.
Diane McMillan says it was worth the drive from Sunriver to support those who can’t afford to pay more for fuel like her cousin – an eastern Oregon cattle rancher, “He is dependent upon the fuel that he uses to support his ranch.”
She worries the legislation will raise the price of gas and diesel to an unsustainable level.
“How is he going to be able to support his family? And, how is his ranch going to survive with the high cost of fuel that Kate Brown and the Legislators want to impose upon the Oregon people,” she said.
McMillan and others at the rally say they want lawmakers to hear their concerns.
“They are not willing to allow people to vote on this because they know the people don’t support it,” says Bill Currier, chairman of the Oregon Republican Party.
Timber Unity Association President Mike Pihl told Central Oregon Daily, “It will stifle the economy in Oregon. Not just rural Oregon, but all of Oregon. And, we’re here today, in a responsible manner, to make sure it does not pass.”
Bend State Sen. Tim Knopp was one of nearly a dozen republicans who walked out of last year’s legislative session to protest the first version of cap and trade.
Today, he was recognized for his actions.
The Timber unity rally coincides with a second day of public hearings on the bill in a Senate committee.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.