SALEM, Ore. - Thousands of truckers, loggers, farmers and ranchers from across the state gathered at the Oregon Capitol on Thursday to support 11 Republican state senators now in the second week of their walkout over cap-and-trade legislation, with a weekend adjournment deadline looming.
The Rally to Stop Cap & Trade brought long lines of rigs and people to the Capitol steps, voicing their opposition to the major climate legislation they said would spike fuel prices and cost many people their jobs.
"We want to support the 11 senators who took the courageous step to shut this thing down and give people time to think," logger Jon Golly told KPTV. "This bill affects everyone. It's not just the timber industry. The price of goods and services all go up when you start raising the price of fuel."
Logger Mike Pihl told KGW, "Today we're here for the cap-and-trade bill, which is going to destroy rural Oregon. We're good, hardworking people, we're stewards of the ground. If this passes, you may as well wipe us off the map. We understand there's a global warming issue, but this is not the way to address it."
KGW reported that Senate Republicans issued a statement late Wednesday, saying they won't return to Salem because they don't believe the bill is really dead, as Senate President Peter Courtney declared on the Senate floor earlier in the week.
"Despite the rumors, there has been no deal," they said.
The Republican lawmakers said they want a guarantee Democrats won't pull a bait-and-switch and still try to push House Bill 2020 through on the Senate floor or in committee.
A statement from the Republican Senate Caucus Wednesday evening says conservatives won't return to the statehouse unless the bill is referred to the voters to approve.
Democrats have only a couple of days to convince Republicans to return before the legislative session closes on Sunday.
Over 100 policy and budget bills remain caught up in the stalemate.
Courtney convened the Senate yet again at 9:30 a.m. Thursday -- and once again, due to lack of a quorum, Courtney announced the session was recessed until 3 p.m.