Joshua Ridley

The new carbon pricing policy that is being proposed by the current Oregon legislative session is aimed at regulating greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to combat the effects of climate change. It is a noble endeavor to try to protect and secure a safe environment for the generations that will come after us.

The Oregon Legislature proposes carbon credits and taxes that will disproportionately affect the rural communities in Oregon, which are, to a more extensive degree, reliant on carbon to make a living, and because of longer commutes, we will be disproportionately punished by these proposed taxes. When taken out to its logical conclusion, the state government intends to lift monies out of the rural economies and shift them into the city environments.

Part of the proposed carbon credit system also entails a new agency to manage new cap-and-trade policies. This would amount to multiple new “jobs” that would be paid for by the new cap-and-trade legislation (jobs that are created by new taxes are only a burden on an already beleaguered system). The state government, in essence, is taking more money from the tattered middle class in Oregon. (When the middle class is squeezed to the point that it is forced to shrink, it inevitably will cease to exist. The middle class was created by our Constitutional Republican form of government.) If we allow the government to use fear-based legislation to eliminate the middle class, we will become subjects of the system.

The legislators who are putting forth these policies probably do not believe they are destroying Oregon. Quite the opposite. They believe they are trying to save it. But the result will be the same — the destruction of the middle class and the freedom that we claim to hold dear. The proposed legislation has half of all the funds received for the new taxes earmarked to go to low-income people in rural communities who will be hardest impacted by the rise in fuel costs and other price increases. Remember, the middle class will take the greatest increase in cost, i.e., small businesses and farms. The government will then redistribute half the monies received to the most vulnerable. This brings median wage earners down and low wage earners up. At the same time, everybody goes down the ladder in regards to how far their income will provide for them. The new legislation will, in essence, bring us many steps closer to a socialist society in Oregon (Google “Overton window”).

Carbon Engineering, in British Columbia, Canada, has built a carbon collecting facility that removes carbon directly from the atmosphere. This carbon then can be processed back into fuel, which is cleaner and more efficient, basically recycling the gas we use. One of these plants is equivalent to cleaning the pollution created by 250,000 vehicles annually.

The plants clean up our carbon, create reusable fuels and create jobs. It does everything the Oregon Legislature claims to be concerned about. Why can’t we take a lesson from American history and be at the forefront of innovation?

It is my honest belief that this legislation will be an extreme detriment to our communities across the state with an unfair burden being put on rural communities. The cities will have the most to gain, and the government will grow to into a worse burden than it already is.

I implore you who read this letter, please don’t allow this to happen to our state. I’ve proposed a better way that would create jobs and not only stop our carbon footprint but clean the environment — which we do indeed care for.

If our government is allowed to continue imposing its will on us unchecked, we will go the road not just of California but of far worse places. Our children will bear the burden of this government gone wild. I’ve lived in this community for 35 years. I served our country, and I’m involved. Please join me in taking back our state for “We the People.”