Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
February 21st 2023
Co-Chairs Dembrow and Pham and members of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means Sub-committee on Natural Resources:
I write as cofacilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now (SOCAN), an organization of over 2,000 rural Southern Oregonians who are concerned about the climate crisis and urge statewide action to address it. The mission of SOCAN is to promote awareness and understanding of the science of global warming and its climate chaos consequences and stimulate individual and collective action to address it. Since rural Oregonians occupy the frontlines in experiencing the impact of the drought, shrinking snowpack, wildfires and extreme weather that the climate crisis imposes, we are strongly committed to statewide action.
For nearly a decade, Oregonians who are climate conscious have collaborated with legislators who are also sensitive to the climate crisis to establish in Oregon a program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote carbon sequestration in our natural and working lands. Because of the resistance of some legislators, establishing a comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions reduction program has proven impossible. As a result, Governor Kate Brown signed Executive Order 20-04 charging agencies with relevant authority to develop programs that would reduce emissions and promote sequestration and do so within the framework of promoting climate justice.
In addition to funding these programs, our state desperately needs a budget that will support agency efforts to protect our air and water and address the history of social injustice that has compromised the health of vulnerable and frontline communities. In order to fulfill the state’s responsibility to protect the trust of clean water, clean air, and a healthy environment for future generation, Oregon’s 2023 budget must recognize this need by appropriate investments.
The proposed budget developed in House Bill 5018 represents the kind of financial investment this state needs. While we recognize the tight budget situation confronting the state, those of us living in rural Oregon and, therefore, on the frontlines of so many threats to our environment and our health, urge the legislature to recognize the plight that we and other vulnerable communities face by supporting HB5018. Thus, we urge passage of HB5018 by the Natural Resource sub-committee, the full Joint Committee on Ways and Means, and both chambers of the legislature.