SISTERS, OR -- State Senator Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario) and Representative Daniel Bonham (R-The Dalles) will host a town hall in Sisters, Monday evening, to discuss “Cap and Trade”- the proposed carbon tax that caused Republican Senators to walk out of the Legislative session in June. A second town hall is scheduled for Tuesday in The Dalles.
Senator Bentz (pictured, left), who was part of the walkout, says it’s a complicated issue, "The type of response we’ve been getting – both positive and negative – warrants a much more in-depth discussion with community members. And, I’m thinking that this discussion should have happened earlier." He tells KBND News, "Some people take it very, very seriously and really look into it. Others tend to be more – what’s the right word – less detailed in their approach, and are just worried about the climate. And that worry, by the way, about the climate, is across the board. I would say 60-70% of Oregonians are worried, one way or the other, about the climate."
Bentz says he and Rep. Bonham want to hear how those they represent feel about the proposal and how lawmakers are addressing climate change, "The reason that I selected Sisters as the first place to have one of these meetings, was because of the number of people who contacted me from that area; and the same was true for The Dalles. And so, I had almost an equal split of people supportive and the people not, in Sisters, so I tried to pick the two communities where I thought the interest level was the highest." He adds, "These two meetings will give us a starting point in understanding what people are thinking about climate change, and what they’re thinking about CO2, and what they’re thinking about means of addressing these issues."
Cap and trade died after the GOP walkout, but is expected to be resurrected in the February session, "House Bill 2020 is an economically game-changing bill. By that," says Bentz, "I mean, it’s designed to force you to replace your fossil fuel energy sources with something else; that’s its purpose. And, it’s set up in a way that once you’re on this train, you can’t get off."
Monday's Sisters town hall is at Five Pine Lodge, from 6 to 8:30.