An open letter to Senator Bill Hansell:

I was disappointed by your guest editorial in the February 5 edition of the Chieftain. Yes, it was folksy, and yes, it had a cute picture of a pig with lipstick, but it demonstrated a lack of leadership on your part. Nowhere in your editorial did you indicate that you worked in any way to resolve the issues you see with SB 1530, the cap-and-trade bill.

I didn’t vote for you so that you could do nothing but complain that SB 1530 is broken. I’m willing to bet that on that big pig farm of yours you had equipment that broke down all the time, management problems that cropped up all the time, and challenges that needed to be solved, not just moaned about. And I’ll bet you worked hard to fix that equipment and solve those problems. That’s what you were elected to do for your constituents: Figure out how to make things work.

You said, “We can’t afford to roll the dice with this. The stakes are just too high.” What stakes are you talking about? How about worldwide climate change on a scale that is causing massive harm to people and all other living things every day, and at a pace that will only get worse if we are not courageous and creative enough to craft bold solutions? This is not abstract or hypothetical. We’re seeing that harm right here in eastern Oregon, in the form of catastrophic wildfires, erratic and extreme weather events, and more.

What kind of world do you want your eleven grandchildren to live in when you and I are pushing up daisies?

Is SB 1530 likely to “create a bureaucratic headache for fuel companies?” I hate bureaucracy as much as the next guy, so I’d love for you to come up with specific suggestions for streamlining the process.

Do you think it’s “not clear the fuels scheme ... would even work in the first place?” Then add a provision for periodic evaluation and adaptive management.

Are you afraid that increasing gasoline prices by $0.22 per gallon, or propane prices by $0.16 per gallon, will place an undue burden on your constituents? Perhaps helping to craft solutions to the widespread housing crisis would more than offset those cost increases.

Concerned that DEQ staffers would have “almost no accountability for their decisions?” Then work to ensure that they ARE held accountable.

Senator Hansell, I have kissed a pig, right on the smackeroo. And it wasn’t even wearing lipstick. OK, it was just a piglet. But if I’m willing to kiss a pig, the least you can do is get in the pigpen and wrassle with that pig until it looks like something you’d be willing to show off at the fair.

Roll up your sleeves and get to work. The stakes are just too high not to.

Rick Bombaci

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