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Stone addresses House Energy and Environment Committee

The OAN and its members are working hard to mitigate climate change, OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone told the Oregon House Committee on Energy and Environment last Wednesday. Stone gave prominent mention to the OAN sustainability initiative. He also highlighted the preliminary results of the Climate Friendly Nursery Project — a first-of-its-kind pilot program that has achieved an impressive 20-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions so far. The OAN and its members also remain committed to a 25-percent reduction in energy consumption over the next decade.

“It’s important to recognize that climate change is happening. It has an economic consequence to the greenhouse and nursery industry,” Stone said. “As our weather gets warmer, we’ll be exposed to diferent pests and diseases that were previously California-based — and that could shut off markets if we’re not thinking ahead.”

The second component — and more significant, Stone said — is water supply. “If we don’t have the sort of snow pack we normally have, then we have to find a way to start storing more rain water.”

On the panel with Stone were peers from the shellfish and winery industries, which also face challenges as a result of climate change. “The more industries that look torward dealing with climate change, the better position we’ll be in to address these challenges,” Stone said. “We can all be a part of the solution, or just ignore the problem.”

Stone also presented a pre-emptive argument against the “carbon tax,” a levy against businesses that ship outside of the state, which is currently being lobbied for by environmentalists. He pointed to the Florida model, whereby carbon added to the environment through road construction and improvement is offset by trees planted along the roadways.

“By the very nature of what we grow, we contribute to cleaner air and water, and we ship it nationwide,” Stone said.

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