Submission: Acting on Clean Energy Jobs

By Zoe Tapert | February 20, 2018 8:04pm

Zoë Tapert is on the right. Kelly Krigger is in the middle, and Clara Lietz is on the left. Photo by Marc Dorsey, courtesy of Zoë Tapert.

On Feb. 12, hundreds of people, of all ages, descended upon the Oregon capital to show their support for the Clean Energy Jobs bill. House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson expressed how “I've worked in Oregon politics for over 20 years and this is the biggest gathering for a lobby day I've ever seen," as reported by Renew Oregon. There were Oregonians from every county showing their support. Of those in attendance, three University of Portland students (Kelly Krigger, Clara Lietz, and Zoe Tapert), and recent UP alumni (Marc Dorsey), were present for this historic moment. 

But why is this piece of legislation so important? The Clean Energy Jobs bill is a critical piece of environmental policy that will be Oregon’s solution to climate change. This legislation puts Oregon in line with the 2016 Paris agreement through a carbon “cap and invest” system similar to policies implemented in California, the NE states, and parts of Canada. The bill places a cap on the amount of carbon big polluters are allowed to emit. These polluters pay into the system for permits, and the money they spend goes to programs promoting clean energy. Every year, the cap is lowered to reduce the carbon emitted.

Such legislation is crucial for the future of the Pacific Northwest. We’ve seen the increase in forest fires, droughts, and destructive weather storms. We’ve also seen an increase in pollution-caused health issues, and a decrease in agricultural yield. There’s no denying that these problems are growing in size. We need to act for the sake of our generation and those that follow.

Attending such a historic and important environmental lobbying event was eye-opening. Everyone had their own personal reason for being there, but we all had a common goal: to pass Clean Energy Jobs. We marched to the capital, rallied and listened to inspiring speeches made by supportive legislators, native tribe members, and even middle school students who wanted to make sure their future was protected. 

During these speeches, we realized climate change is not an issue that only affects one type of person. It expands to people of all backgrounds: young/old, rich/poor, gay/straight, male/female, urban/rural, black/white, Republican/Democrat. Global climate change is an issue that affects us all, whether we believe in it or not. 

After the rally, we met with our local representatives. For our district at UP, we met with Speaker of the House Tina Kotek, and State Senator Lew Frederick. Meeting with our legislators and addressing our concerns was such a powerful moment. Speaker Kotek has been a HUGE supporter of this bill! She has been working tirelessly to rally her fellow representatives to support the Clean Energy Jobs bill, something we cannot thank her enough for.

Both Speaker Kotek and Senator Frederick expressed how hearing from their constituents, whether that be a phone call, email, letter or tweet, is of utmost importance to show support for a piece of legislation. Understanding where their local residents stand on certain bills is their job; they need YOU to voice your opinion! 

The Clean Energy Jobs bill is a piece of legislation that is extremely important to get passed this session. We cannot wait any longer! So far, 830 different businesses, 140 agricultural farms and ranches, and 70 big businesses have supported this bill. That doesn’t include the countless individual supporters across the state, rallying for this bill to get passed. Spread the word and let your local legislators know you support #CleanEnergyJobs

Tina Kotek (State Representative/Speaker of the House): or at 1(503)986-1200 

Lew Frederick (State Senator): or at 1(503)986-1722

For more information about how you can #ActonClimate at University of Portland, contact:

Zoë Tapert

Zoë Tapert is a sophomore majoring in Environmental Ethics and Policy and minoring in Political Science. She interns with Environment Oregon. She can be reached at