Why do Worthy Brewing and Indie Hops stand behind their decision to join Oregon Business for Climate, a group of businesses that have been advocating in favor of sensible legislation to curb runaway greenhouse gas pollution?
We have been the target of attacks the past few weeks because of our support of the Cap and Trade bill (HB 2020). Farmers, truckers, loggers and others have accused us of trying to put them out of business. Nothing could be further from the truth.
We are in favor of legislation like HB 2020 because it will grow our economy, reduce Earth- destroying greenhouse gasses, save lives, create jobs and help mitigate the damage already done to our great state and people from wildfires, floods, drought and air pollution. It’s a fair law that finally attempts to “price in” the environmental and social costs of burning fossil fuels, while at the same time accounting for the challenges faced by Oregonians who may be impacted financially.
The Cap and Trade Bill
The new program would generate about $500 million a year, largely collected from about 100 major industrial sources of carbon pollution. The bill explicitly exempts the forestry and agriculture sectors. And yet the revenues collected would be available to farmers, ranchers and loggers to help upgrade equipment, switch to renewables, install irrigation drip lines, build sea walls, and cover irrigation canals to mitigate water loss, among other things. It would also provide technology assistance to our biggest polluters to help them clean up their act.
And, importantly, a companion bill (which was on the Governor’s desk and she was ready to sign it) would have provided for fuel rebates for eligible truckers and loggers if gas prices rose as a result of this new law. The BEAR Report, commissioned by Oregon’s bipartisan Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction to determine the impact of this cap and trade legislation on Oregon, forecasted 50,000 new jobs and a 2.5% growth in Oregon’s GDP by 2050. All of these reinvestments and more would help provide protections for our natural resource-based industries for the next generation, who will be navigating a vastly hotter, nastier and stormier world.
Over the past 18 months, the architects of this innovative bill listened to everybody. The loggers, truckers, farmers and ranchers, as well as our biggest fossil fuel burning industries, were all at the table. They were heard and that’s why the bill is so generous with its protections.
What It Means
So, what does this mean for Worthy Brewing and Indie Hops, both of which I own?
We’d like to think we’re already doing our fair share to respond to climate change. Our pub buys most of its meats and veggies from local farmers and ranchers. We recycle, reuse and compost. We have a 50 KW solar PV system, plus a solar thermal system, which saves us thousands of dollars a year in electric bills and spares the air 100,000 pounds of CO2 annually. That’s the equivalent of planting 8 acres of trees every year. And we donate a meaningful percentage of beer sales to Earth-friendly non-profits.
Indie Hops, which I also own has, since 2009, made a sizeable investment in the breeding, cultivation, milling and storage of Oregon grown hops. Why? Because we believe Oregon has the best hop farmers in the world. We have contributed over $2.5 Million to OSU’s crops and soils research program because we believe, with our farm partners, that Oregon is the best terroir for growing high yield, disease resistant – and drought tolerant hops for the thriving craft beer market.
The point? We have skin in the game, and we would never support a bill that harmed farmers or our investment, which we expect to grow.
Our concerns about global warming prompted us to sponsor the work of OSU’s Professor Bill Ripple, who authored “Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice,” which has been endorsed by over 21,000 scientists worldwide. His alarming treatise prompted Worthy Brewing to adopt the mantra “Earth First, Beer Second.” That’s not a marketing gimmick. We are gravely concerned that global warming is already contributing to human misery, that it will get worse, and that time is running out. And we will do our best to be part of the solution.
What Can You Do?
So, we have been proud supporters of Oregon Business for Climate because we believe with swift and fair action, we can achieve a green, sustainable economy. I grew up in Corvallis and marveled at strong and wise stewards like Governor Tom McCall, a Republican, who in the late 1960s championed the bottle bill, the beach bill, and efforts to clean up the un-swimmable Willamette River. We need leaders now like the Republican leaders I grew up to admire and respect.
If you’re reading this, do the right thing. Conserve and preserve our land, water, forests and air for future generations—and please do it, now. And join the continued effort to pass sensible legislation such as the Cap and Trade bill in Oregon. Because we’re running out of later.