Ag update: Legislature, carbon rule, Senator resigns

By Oregonians for Food and Shelter,

Last Monday, the Oregon legislature met for its second Special Session of 2021. While the original purpose was to address eviction protection for tenants, legislators covered several topics. Most importantly for agriculture, they allocated $40 million to a disaster relief fund where farmers can access up to $125,000 in forgivable loans. They also set aside money for Afghan refugees and enforcement support for illegal cannabis operations.

More political news this week as well. Betsy Johnson stepped down from her Senate seat to focus on running for Governor. This will leave her Senate seat open until Clatsop, Columbia and Tillamook County Commissioners appoint a replacement. It also may put pressure on other legislators who are running for governor to step down.

Finally, Oregon’s Environmental Quality Commission adopted a “cap and trade” program by rule this week. While the rules will have an imperceptible impact on global climate change, the impact on Oregon’s rural communities will be real and hard felt in the form of increased fuel, propane, and natural gas costs. A legal challenge to the rules is already in the works.

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