I’m eating breakfast with David Koch at Green Springs Inn. The big (6’5”) plutocrat seems to be enjoying himself. “Julia won’t let me order biscuits and gravy,” he chuckles. After the basketball conversation winds down, I pop the question.
“I’m concerned about this gas pipeline that your Veresen friends want to run down Clover Creek Road. You carbon moguls are going to be tearing up old growth timber in the Winema National Forest, punching a tunnel under the Rogue River and, by the time you liquefy your gas down in Coos Bay, you will be releasing more greenhouse pollution that all the power plants, pickup trucks and farting cows in Oregon combined. Plus, if you keep on fracking to produce all that gas, our entire planet will be one big sauna.
“Look out the window,” I say. “No snow. We have had no winter here for two years. You should know what’s coming next. If not, read your Book of Revelations: fire, flood, famine & pestilence. We got a jump start on the fire part last summer.”
“Now hold on there, pardner,” Dave says. “Our civilization runs on gas, oil and coal. People want more fuel, particularly over in Asia. We have energy to sell. That’s how the world works.”
“If it gets a bit warmer, we will just plant more crops up in Northern Alberta.” I try to imagine avocados from Edmonton. And what will California look like if we are harvesting oranges along the Arctic Circle?
“Some of us simple Oregonians would prefer to stop the warming trend before it goes much further, “ I reply. “We are planning to put a cap on greenhouse gas emissions right where we stand. If you want to leak more methane and carbon dioxide into our air, you will be required to buy greenhouse gas rights from someone who already has those rights.”
“Of course, you will need to add the cost of those permits on to the price of your gas. To he honest, it might get sort of spendy.”
Dave scowls. “What do you call this damnable plan?”
“It’s all part of House Bill 3470,” I reply. “And don’t worry about calling in your lobbyists on this one. “We are going to pass it before I wake up from this daydream.”
NOTE TO FELLOW OREGONIANS: Just in case Dave hears about this, please sign our Moveon.com petition urging our legislators to pass HB 3470 this session. Go to: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/support-hb-3470-to-limit.