Hundreds of trucks and thousands of people descended on the Oregon State Capitol early Thursday morning for a Timber Unity rally on the steps of the Capitol Building to protest the state’s proposed cap and trade carbon bill.
Some 15 convoys from all around the state were expected to converge, much like during the 2019 legislative session, when truckers rallied over a similar cap and trade proposal, which ultimately died when Republican senators staged a walk-out that prevented voting on the issue.
The new bill, SB 1530, would limit carbon emissions in Oregon, make a number of changes to how greenhouse gases in the state are regulated — and taxed — and, potentially, phase out old diesel engines currently in use, forcing business owners to buy new ones.
It’s only Day 2. But now we know for sure-Cap & Trade isn’t about climate, it’s about big money & political insiders. 27 amendments-in 2 days! No transparency- just secret negotiations w special interests. Secret deals don’t save the planet, they hurt Oregon families. https://t.co/uCiZ171C1N
It was a diverse mix on the roads and sidewalks. Not only semi-trucks, some loaded with timber, but also tractors, representing the agricultural interests and small farms who also oppose cap and trade.
On foot, the crowd was men and women, young and old (including children). Many wore truckers caps and brightly colored orange or yellow safety vests. Camouflage and flannel were also very popular.
Even Mario made an appearance while, on the other side of the aisle, a person dressed as the Lorax from the Dr. Seuss children’s book was seen wandering the halls of the House and Senate, handing out candy bars that read, “Clearcuts Cause Climate Change.”
The Lorax is in the #ORleg now spreading the word (on tasty chocolate bars) that #ClearcutsCauseClimateChange #ORClimateAction #orpol pic.twitter.com/VXUzAy7I5M
There were plenty of signs outside as well, with slogans such as “Recall Kate Brown,” “Trump 2020,” “Save Oregon,” “This Is Our State, Kate” and “Stop the Climate Change Commies.”
Timber Unity organizers hoped to draw attention to how the proposed legislation will affect small business owners, especially rural companies. There is widespread fear among the group and its supporters that cap and trade would put the timber industry out of business and impact thousands of working families throughout Oregon.
And, to demonstrate that they were not just about noise and bluster, and to show that they, too, care about reducing the impact of logging on the environment, the Timber Unity group presented their own “four-point carbon reduction plan,” which they believe will effectively reach the same goals as cap and trade, without levying new taxes or killing jobs in rural Oregon.
Oh — and the final counts from Thursday’s event? According to Timber Unity, there were over 1,100 trucks — a Guinness world record — and 10,000 protesters in attendance.
Photos by Tyler Francke: