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Oregon cap-and-trade bill dead and Republican Senators still AWOL

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued a statement appearing to concede defeat in the battle over a controversial cap-and-trade bill.

The governor issued a statement after Senate President Peter Courtney announced during a floor session yesterday that his caucus did not have enough votes to pass House Bill 2020

In a moment of high-stakes drama, Senate Republicans fled the state last week, preventing Democrats from voting on the bill by denying them the necessary 20-member quorum.

Some of the bill’s supporters rejected Courtney’s accounting of the votes. They want a Senate vote on cap-and-trade to be called once Republicans return.

“Make them vote and answer to their voters, and Oregon’s children,” said Tera Hurst, executive director of Renew Oregon, a group pushing for the bill, told The Oregonian.

The state’s 11 Republican Senators remain at large.

The cap-and-trade legislation would have limited greenhouse gas emissions from industry, forcing affected businesses to purchase pollution allowances for each ton of carbon they emitted. 

The legislation, more than a decade in the making, was fiercely opposed by the trucking and transportation fuel industries, which argued the added costs would place an undue burden on small businesses and drivers in rural parts of the state. 

Only a week ago, passage of the bill seemed imminent. “This is very discouraging news,” Oregon Trucking Associations president Jana Jarvis said during a phone call after the House approved the legislation on June 19th.

Linda Baker, Senior Environment and Technology Reporter

Linda Baker is a FreightWaves senior reporter based in Portland, Oregon. Her beat includes autonomous vehicles, the startup scene, clean trucking, and emissions regulations. Please send tips and story ideas to [email protected]