Oregon’s fuel mandate—jammed through the Democrat-controlled state House and Senate without a single Republican vote—has managed to stall negotiations for a transportation package. According to the Portland Tribune, “Prospects for such a package have been bleak because Democrats in the Legislature pushed through a low-carbon fuel bill earlier in the 2015 session.”
Democrat legislators pushed to make their fuel mandate permanent despite Republicans warning they would withdraw from transportation discussions if they did so. Nevertheless, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed the bill into law. Essentially, Oregon Democrats picked their extreme partisan agenda over the transportation needs of their constituents.
You see, as Shift recently reported, Oregon Democrats (like Washington Democrats) know a fuel mandate will have no impact on carbon emissions in their state—though it would impact the economy. Brown expressed her support for the standard, but admitted her support has not because she believed a fuel mandate would achieve anything on climate change. Rather, Brown said she is “committed to the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and California and Washington are doing things, so Oregon should hold up its end of the bargain.” In return for Democrats achieving their nonsensical extreme green agenda, Oregonians face higher fuel prices and stalled transportation package talks.
Oregon’s fuel mandate drama should sound familiar. A similar drama is, after all, unfolding in Washington State. As Shift reported, lawmakers have been unsuccessful in negotiating a transportation package despite the special session deadline approaching Thursday, May 28. State Senate Republicans made transportation policy compromises on their end. Yet, state House Democrats refused to meet them halfway.
About two months ago, the state Senate passed a bi-partisan transportation package that includes an important consumer protection measure that would keep Jay Inslee from using an executive order to bypass the legislature and jam though a fuel mandate scheme. According to experts, Inslee’s fuel mandate would result in an increase of fuel prices by more than $1 per gallon. Republican’s consumer protection provision would pull funding from the items Inslee and the Democrats like more than fixing our roads if he was to implement a fuel mandate by executive order. Simply put, the consumer protection provision ensures taxpayers do not face another, far more costly gas price increase because of Inslee’s extreme desire to satisfy his extreme environmentalist buddies.
House Democrats—along with Inslee—refused to accept the consumer protection provision as a compromise in return for they prioritize (like giving Sound Transit more spending authority). Instead, Democrats labeled the safeguard a “poison pill” and thereby indicated they are not interested in placing our state’s transportation needs ahead of their partisan interests (i.e. millions in campaign contributions granted by extreme green organizations).
In the end, Oregon and Washington Democrats’ insistence on protecting their extreme green agenda at all costs (an agenda that will only put a dent in people’s pocketbooks and carbon emissions) only reveals their true priority. That’s to project their idealism—for the benefit of their reputation among major campaign donors—even at the expense of what is best for their constituents.