JOHN DAY - The "Stop the Panic Tour" made a stop in John Day last week to protest legislation and regulations that are being proposed to cope with climate change.
The visit was part of a 33-city tour by the staff of Americans for Prosperity Oregon, the state chapter of a national organization that wants to curb the growth of government and regulation.
"We need time to find consensus before we enact anti-freedom and anti-American policies," said Jeff Kropf.
A former state legislator, Kropf is a farmer, conservative radio talk show host and the director of the Oregon AFP. Roaming the state in a motorhome decked with "Stop the Panic" slogans, he and other AFP staff are meeting with groups in local restaurants, where they show a PowerPoint and distribute materials.
Kropf fears that concerns over climate change will bring regulations to govern everything from how you set your thermostat to how big a house you live in.
"All the talk about government bureaucrats wanting to control your thermostats - that's actually happening in California," he said. Thermostat designs with programmable communications devices are touted as a way to help the government cope with brown-outs and emergency situations, he said, but would result in government control in people's homes.
Kropf said there's no doubt the Earth has been in a warming trend, but AFP questions man's role in that change. Further, AFP believes that warming has abated in the past few years and scientists are divided as to why.
More answers are needed, he said, before government sets regulations that limit people's freedom.
AFP opposes Gov. Ted Kulongoski's "cap and trade" proposal and the federal Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases.
Kropf said that reclassification of CO2 as a pollutant would have a costly effect on businesses, private institutions and agriculture and indirect impacts on consumers.
"Every time the government passes an unfunded mandate, it costs companies millions of dollars a year to comply," he said. "And they pass those costs on to the consumer."
Kropf said climate control legislation would result in higher gas and electricity prices and cost jobs at a time when the economy already faces stiff challenges.
"We need to be very frugal in how we spend money right now, as a state and as a nation," he said.
AFP is calling for reasonable technology-based solutions that don't bring on "onerous mandates or taxes."
"Panic is never good policy," said Kropf.
He also said people should question the potential gain from any regulation of human actions.
"With man producing less than 3 percent of total CO2 emissions in the world, if we did something to limit that, would it matter? And how much would it matter?" he said.
The AFP tour started Oct. 20 in Hood River and is scheduled to wrap up Nov. 1 in Astoria.
Americans for Prosperity was founded by David Koch, Executive Vice-President of the multi-national conglomerate Koch Industries, and receives major funding from a Koch family foundation, Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation. Koch Industries owns companies involved in refining, chemicals and commodity trading and services.
The AFP Foundation has mobilized an array of free-market advocates to press its case against government overspending and climate issues.
In its tour, AFP Oregon gave out copies of a book, "blue Planet in Green Shackles - What is Endangered: Climate or Freedom," by Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus.