By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Gov. Brown should hold up on 20-04

Gov. Kate Brown should set aside her executive order on greenhouse gas emissions, at least for now.

Americans are hugely disrupted by the dire and immediate consequences of the global coronavirus pandemic. Oregonians can’t accept the added burden of political and economic turmoil from Gov. Brown’s authoritarian move to mandate controversial new greenhouse gas laws. It’s beyond bad timing.


Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

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The governor, of course, did not know coronavirus would explode so pervasively into our lives when her counselors were preparing 14-page Executive Order 20-04. But she obviously knows now, after ordering a statewide ban on gatherings of more than 250 people.

Viewed through a political prism, I wonder if Oregon’s Democratic Party actually welcomed the 2020 Republican walkout. Democrats were apoplectic at the GOP in 2019, but this year, while talking the talk, they were less volatile. Instead, their months of backroom preparations produced Executive Order 20-04, throwing state agencies into crisis-level timelines for introducing new limitations in energy usage.

Those who believe global warming leaves life on Earth hanging in the balance will applaud the governor’s audacious edict. Others believe we should focus on one global threat at a time, and coronavirus is the one immediately before us.

Gov. Brown should back down, putting 20-04 on hold with Executive Order 20-05.

Option No. 2 is for opponents to raise legal challenges to this sweeping decree. That wouldn’t be surprising, given this response to 20-04 from Senate Republican Leader Herman Baertschiger Jr. of Grants Pass:

“The Governor is ignoring Oregonians. She is not listening to three quarters of the state or the 28 counties that signed proclamations against the cap and trade concept. It’s obvious Kate Brown is not Oregon’s Governor, she is Portland’s Governor, and as she promised, she is serving revenge, coldly and slowly.”

House Speaker Tina Kotek of Portland praised Brown “for protecting our planet and our children’s future by taking bold action,” adding, “I will be reviewing the executive order to see whether we need to take additional climate action in our upcoming special session.”

Yes, the governor and legislative leaders are planning a special session to handle legislation left hanging when the regular 2020 session adjourned. The intent is to approve greenhouse gas legislation along with all else their super-majority hearts might desire.

Perhaps those leaders could set aside some of the issues that have divided Oregonians so badly, and focus instead on how Oregonians can best survive the personal and economic devastation from coronavirus.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at or 503-687-1223.


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