Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley—a leading voice in the Senate on climate and a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee—released the following statement after voting no on the Growing Climate Solutions Act:
“Nobody is feeling the impacts of the climate crisis more directly that farmers and ranchers in rural America. Every single one of Oregon’s 36 counties is experiencing some level of drought right now, as rising temperatures continue to lead to lower and lower snow pack levels, and streams running off of those packs shrink. Multiple wildfires are raging, and irrigation canals are dried up—threatening the agriculture industries that our rural communities rely on. Simply put, Oregonian lives and livelihoods continue to be threatened by climate chaos.
“American farmers are not only feeling the brunt of climate chaos—they’re important parts of the solution. Farmers are the stewards of the land and we need to help make sure they have the means and incentives to change farming practices in ways that cut greenhouse gas emissions.
“Congress has a responsibility to enact bold, comprehensive strategies that truly tackle this crisis threatening rural America and the whole world. I applaud Chairman Stabenow and my Senate colleagues for their important work on addressing this crucial problem, but ultimately I don’t believe that an offset system that subsidizes corporations’ continued pollution in frontline communities is the best strategy. Let’s set incentives that reduce pollution in both agriculture and frontline neighborhoods.
“I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to create legislation whose scope and scale matches the enormity of our climate challenges, including pushing for significant investments in reducing agriculture emissions in the upcoming American Jobs Plan.”