Clean-energy jobs are a vote for future
Oregon is a special place. I especially love the community where my husband and I have raised our boys. Washington County abounds with natural beauty, from the Jackson Bottom Wetlands, to the meandering paths of Orchard Park, and every acre of bucolic farmland in between. I was raised here, so I understand how important it is to protect the character of our communities for the next generation. That's why protecting our beautiful state has been a key priority of mine in Salem.
I believe clean air and access to clean water are something everyone has a right to, and we must preserve these resources for the sake of future generations. This isn't only about the environment; it's about prioritizing public health, a vibrant economy and preserving the beauty of our corner of the planet.
As an individual, I do what I can to help. Our home has solar panels, I own an electric car, and I have completed and been certified as a Metro Master Recycler. I have seen the difference clean energy and energy efficiency can make for my family: savings reflected in my utility bills because I lowered my energy usage, and helped maximize the power and electricity we pay for.
Washington County businesses have also seen how well clean energy and energy efficiency can help their bottom line. Kaiser Permanente's Westside Hospital features on-site electric car charging stations, 12,000 square feet of solar panels and native gardens irrigated completely with harvested rainwater. Intel is again (for the ninth year in a row) America's largest voluntary corporate purchaser of clean power, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Its water conservation efforts have saved more than 57 billion gallons of water since 1998, enough to sustain more than 520,000 U.S. homes for a year.
Portland Community College's Rock Creek campus grows much of its own food in a campus garden and composts food waste. Each PCC campus follows a unified Climate Action Plan with progressive greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions goals to bring campus emissions to 40 percent below 2006 levels by 2030.
Clean energy is already working wonders for Washington County, and Clean Energy Jobs can help the rest of Oregon experience the same benefits we have, while also helping Washington County continue to grow as a clean energy leader. In the last session, I co-sponsored the Clean Energy Jobs bill that would help local businesses to undertake more projects like solar panels, building improvements to use energy better and save money, and clean air investments in equipment. The bill would work by putting a price and cap on pollution, then reinvesting funds toward helping Oregon transition to a clean-energy future. Clean Energy Jobs is an urgent priority for the 2018 session, and I urge all of my colleagues to support it wholeheartedly.
Clean Energy Jobs would enable businesses and individuals to invest in steps toward a cleaner, more sustainable future with local, renewable energy — and fellow Oregonians will gain good jobs building that future. Washington County families could have better transportation options, like a more robust bus system to help get to work and safer roads to bike or walk to school.
Policies for limiting and pricing pollution has been studied, shaped and written by my fellow legislators over many sessions, and Clean Energy Jobs represents the final product. This bill will make Oregon's air cleaner, our economy more fair and our communities thrive with clean energy. It's ready to be passed, so let's do it.
Janeen Sollman is represents House District 30 in the Oregon Legislature. Her district encompasses West Beaverton, East Hillsboro, Orenco, Helvetia and North Plains.