(Editor’s Note: Viewpoint submissions on this and other topics are always welcome as part of our goal to encourage community discussion and exchange of perspectives.)
June 19, 2019 — There are two catastrophic threats to our environment, one from plastics and the other from a manmade climate crisis. Both of these threats have been addressed in the Oregon State Legislature.
How has our state Senator Arnie Roblan addressed these threats?
First, I’d like to thank Senator Roblan for his vote to ban plastic bags. This is a much needed action as Oregon joins other states.
But I was dismayed and very disappointed when Senator Roblan joined with Republicans to defeat a statewide ban on Styrofoam. We in Florence worked very hard to get the city to ban polystyrenes and eventually were successful, although only for a limited type of packaging. Our hopes were that a statewide ban would fill in where our City failed in its coverage.
I have picked up trash several times a year along Highway 126 and on our beaches. In addition to plastic bags I found lots of Styrofoam packaging, all of which would have found its way to our river and ocean.
Senator Roblan explained that his “no” vote “was in response to the concerns of rural communities and schools, specifically on the unintended impact this would have on their disposal programs.”
Unfortunately, he did not consider the overriding need to maintain a safe environment for all Oregon residents.
There may be a second time Senator Roblan deserts his Democratic colleagues and constituents. It has been widely reported that Senator Roblan is uncertain about his support of the “cap and invest” bill, HB 2020, which addresses the climate crisis. HB 2020 passed the House 30-24, despite Representative Caddy McKeown’s “no” vote. The vote will be a much closer in the Senate making Senator Roblan’s vote all the more important.
It is my hope that Senator Roblan will do what’s right to protect us from the harmful effects of Styrofoam and the existential threat of climate change.