A carbon pricing resolution, along with affordable housing, wastewater treatment plan funding, and public art, make for a busy Hood River City Council agenda on Monday.
The council, meeting at 6 p.m., invites the public to comment on a proposed resolution urging the State of Oregon to implement a price on carbon emissions.
“The Council is considering the resolution to actively encourage state lawmakers to fight climate change by altering the marketplace to provide some disincentives to burning fossil fuels,” said Mayor Paul Blackburn.
The city will hear a report from Planning Director Cindy Walbridge on the ongoing housing analysis and buildable lands inventory, which will be used to inform staff and council on potential action regarding affordable housing. Wheeler will report on a $20,000 grant to help pay for a wastewater treatment capital facility plan, and the council will discuss a $5,000 grant for public arts planning, from the Hood River cultural Trust Board, and hear updates from Library Director Buzzy Nielson on the Library special District as well as a request for council endorsement for Hood River Reads, which starts March 15.
The draft carbon pricing resolution can be viewed at the City’s web site ci.hood-river.or.us. Oral comments can be made at the March 9 Council meeting at City Hall or in writing to the Mayor at Paul.Blackburn@city-ofhoodriver.com.
Blackburn and city councilor Peter Cornelison, along with city manager Steve Wheeler, discussed carbon pricing legislation with Hood River legislators Chuck Thomsen and Mark Johnson during the Feb. 26 City Day at the Salem Legislature.
Speakers including Page Atcheson, Field Director for Oregon Climate, had asked the council on Feb. 9 to craft its own resolution on carbon pricing.
“We’re asking for broad support of carbon pricing,” Atcheson said, after city councilor Mark Zanmiller raised the question of “have we looked at the cost to the city?” A council subcommittee came up with a draft resolution, requiring minimal staff time to be spent on the task.
The resolution, modeled on one passed by the City of Eugene, states that “the City Council and Mayor under the Hood River City Charter have the authority to protect the health, safety and general welfare of its citizens and is compelled by the scientific consensus that carbon dioxide emissions are the primary cause of global climate change, and agrees that climate change is a crisis demanding immediate measures to reduce its negative effects, and the City finds that climate change is a threat to public health, national security, food security, and business supply chains.
“These societal costs of inaction are significant and outweigh the temporary economic impacts associated with the energy transition,” and “the City believes that assigning a cost to carbon dioxide emissions is one of the most efficient ways to discourage consumption of fossil fuels and encourage development of alternatives, and the City finds that the Legislative Revenue Office ‘Economic and Emissions Impacts of a Clean Air Tax or Fee in Oregon (SB306)’, report #4-14, December 2014 as well as previous similar analyses concludes that imposing a price on carbon within the State of Oregon could have relatively small impacts on the economy and would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
The resolution states that “the City believes that it is important for communities large and small to voice both their recognition of the global problems of carbon dioxide emissions and their support for local actions by the State of Oregon,” and resolves that the City of Hood River calls on the Oregon State Legislature to craft legislation carefully to impose a carbon price, in the form of a fee, tax, or cap.