Nursery News: News

Fessler concerned about costs of cap-and-trade bill

Wednesday, May 8, 2019   (0 Comments)
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Woodburn Nursery & Azaleas Inc. and owner Tom Fessler were featured in Oregon Public Broadcasting’s coverage of House Bill 2020 — the proposed cap-and-trade bill that is designed to reduce carbon emissions in Oregon over time.
Fessler told OPB that natural gas for heating his greenhouses, which cover 100 acres of his farm, is his greatest expense other than labor. Northwest Natural projects that the bill would raise prices for industrial customers, like Woodburn Nursery & Azaleas, by 28 percent the first year alone, and more in years after.
“That’s a couple hundred thousand dollars to our bottom line,” Fessler said. “We can’t increase our prices to offset that. It’s going to force us to make some tough decisions moving forward.”
The bill contains a positive for the nursery industry, in that money raised through the program would be used in part to purchase plant material as environmental offsets. There’s a requirement that the plant material be Oregon-grown. However, the bill would increase the costs of not just natural gas used for heating greenhouses, but fuels used for transportation.
House Bill 2020 remains in the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction and hasn’t been moved for a vote. It has been the subject of more than a dozen hearings and worksessions.
The OAN Government Relations team, together with its contract lobbying team (Thorn Run Partners) and legal counsel (Jordan Ramis P.C.) are carefully analyzing the bill, and any amendments under consideration, as it works its way through the legislative process.
Members are urged to write their senators and representatives to express their concerns about this bill. (Find your legislator.