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This is about our future

Today is Earth Day! For me, it is a day for clear-headed reflection on the challenges ahead, as well as the progress we've made in recent decades to clean up our environment and start transitioning to a clean energy future.

While COVID-19 has been the foremost crisis in the past year, we've also seen increasingly severe climate disruptions in Oregon and across the country. In 2020, over one million acres of Oregon's forests burned. Two months ago, hundreds of thousands of Oregonians lost power for days on end as a severe ice storm decimated trees and power lines alike. I'll be honest, it's starting to feel like our very own dystopian Song of Ice and Fire.

These events are a reminder that Oregon must do more to protect the environment. Fortunately, elected leaders are coming together to seriously discuss solutions. Yesterday, I joined hundreds of elected officials from all 50 states to urge Congress to center clean energy, climate, justice, and good paying union jobs in any economic recovery plan.

And in the Oregon Senate, one of my top priorities is to fight for smart policies that will move us to a fully-renewable tomorrow. Here's an example of one way we can do it: House Bill 2021 would require greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity sold to Oregon consumers to be reduced 80 percent by 2030, 90 percent by 2035 and 100 percent by 2040. I'm looking forward to working on the bill once it reaches the Senate.

As our nation collectively continues to grapple with profound issues of justice and systemic racism, I want to point to one of Martin Luther King's quotes in his sermon, "Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution. "Somewhere we must come to see that human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals... without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation. So we must help time and realize that the time is always ripe to do right."

We cannot afford to wait any longer to set a path to a sustainable and just future. The time is ripe. Earth Day isn't abstract—it's about people, and our future as a state, a country, and a planet.


Posted on April 22, 2021.