HB 2020, Oregon’s proposed carbon bill, known as “cap and trade,” raises significant concerns regarding the direct and indirect impact of the bill on members of Oregon’s agricultural industries.

The bill would impose permits and taxes that would result in cutting greenhouse gas emission levels 45 percent below the 1990 levels by the year 2035 and 90 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050.

The bill proposes an allowance budget, and each year the available allowance would decline. HB 2020 would cap certain carbon emissions and require the purchase of “offsets.”

This likely will increase the direct cost of fuel and natural gas for family farms and ranches, transportation costs in the supply chain and costs for food processing.

This would mean not only could Oregon’s gas prices become some of the highest in the nation, but the increased financial burden on agricultural operations will significantly trickle down to every Oregonian’s grocery store bill.

Increasing input costs will place another hurdle on Oregon’s young ranchers who are trying to start their own business and who are trying keep Oregon lands working.

Working the land is crucial for management and maintenance to combat erosion, invasive species, soil and water quality and fire control.

Cattle ranchers sequentially control carbon emissions by maintaining healthy soil and controlling the fuel levels of wildfires through grazing habits.

“One large Oregon wildfire produces more carbon in the air than Portland can produce in one year,” said Oregon Cattlemen’s Association’s Executive Director Jerome Rosa. “Meaningful change for carbon emissions should start with forest management and wildfire control.”

The increased costs as a result of this bill would shift production to other states and countries with less control over environmental regulations, carbon-neutral power supply and fewer human rights and labor laws.

“Oregon’s rural communities are committed to environmental stewardship and we don’t want to see our state’s commodities outsourced to unregulated areas, we don’t want to see the cost of ranching and farming in this state outweigh the benefit,” said Rosa.

The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association encourages anyone who will face increased operation costs by not exempting commercial or agricultural fuels from this bill to voice your opposition.

Robyn H. Smith is the communications director for the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association.

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