SALEM,Ore., (03/03/2015) – As the house gets ready to take a look at Senate Bill 324 A, more commonly referred to as the low carbon fuel standard bill, agricultural organizations express their concerns over SB 324 A to Oregonians.

Jenny Dresler, government affairs associate for the Oregon Farm Bureau, said that while they can’t be certain of what environmental benefits SB 324 A would bring, they likely won’t be substantial. In addition to uncertainty of the bills effectiveness, “the funds raised by the program will not fund critical infrastructure or road improvements.” Dresler said.

The bill would hit Oregon’s agriculture industry hard. Jerome Rosa, executive director for the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, said, “On estimate, this could raise fuel costs 4 cents to $1 per gallon.” Rosa explains that this causes a huge impact on ranchers in rural Oregon because of the distance they are forced to drive for basic needs. “Many legislatures on the West part of the state may not understand that,” Rosa said.

Dresler adds that any increase in transportation costs would harm all agricultural businesses. “It, (SB 324 A), would increase the cost of doing business in Oregon and make Oregon agriculture less competitive,” she said.

Jim Welsh, political advocate for the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association brings up another concern lawmakers should take into account. “We don’t have the technology for manufacturing and blending ethanol at the volumes we will need,” Welsh said. “The land acreage needed to grow the crops necessary for ethanol production will be transferred from food crops for humans and food animals.” He believes this could eventually result in a food shortage in Oregon.

Welsh said there are other ways to lower the carbon emissions, but that SB 324 A is not the best option. “Reducing forest fires and replanting trees and plants on burned over forest and range lands as fast as possible is a good way to reduce carbon emissions,” he said. Wildfires have been a significant problem in Oregon the last couple years.

At this point in time, Dresler encourages concerned Oregonians to immediately write to their house member and let them know their opposition to SB 324 A. “SB 324 A would raise fuel prices, impacting Oregon’s families and small businesses,” Dresler said. “Oregonians need policies that encourage job growth.” The bill is scheduled for a vote on the House floor tomorrow.

The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association was founded in 1913 and works to promote environmentally and socially sound industry practices, improve and strengthen the economics of the industry, and protect its industry communities and private property rights.

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By Kayli Hanley

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