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Showtime for the Climate Security Act: Where Does OR Stand?

May 29, 2008

Portland, OR – The first of the major climate change bills will be debated on the U.S. Senate floor starting on Monday. Not all members of Oregon's congressional delegation have decided how they'll vote on the Climate Security Act, and a wide variety of groups are working overtime to convince those who are still sitting on the fence - particularly Sen. Gordon Smith.

The bill may not be the toughest of the climate change proposals in Congress, but it has the greatest amount of bipartisan support. It would mandate cuts of global warming emissions by 2 percent per year, and require major polluters to pay for environmental cleanups for wildlife and wilderness, as well as energy efficiency programs. However, Doug Howell, regional executive director of the National Wildlife Federation, says the wrangling isn't quite over.

"This is not going to be a one-day process, I don't believe. There will be fights over any number of amendments that are going to be attached to the bill, and it will be debated throughout the week."

Howell calls the legislation crucial, for confirming that the nation is finally ready to take a strong stand on cleaning up the environment.

"We will be making a definitive statement that we will stop global warming. Nothing less than that is at stake on Monday morning on the Senate floor. This is a fundamental shift for long-term reductions that can stabilize the climate."

Smith is one of three Oregon lawmakers who claim to be undecided about the bill (S-2191), which is also known as the Lieberman-Warner Act. In the U.S. House, Representatives Darlene Hooley and Greg Walden have not made up their minds. Oregon business organizations, sportsman and conservation groups and even church groups, all have voiced support for the bill. Some of its critics say it goes too far - and others say not far enough - to reduce global warming pollution.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR