Because my family didn’t have television on the farm, for most of my growing up years, it was a special treat to watch TV when I would stay with my grandparents in Walla Walla during the summer. One of my favorite shows was Dragnet. Sargent Joe Friday played by Jack Webb was the star.

The best-known quote from the TV series was “All we want are the facts ma’am”. Later comedian Dan Aykroyd shortened it “Just the facts ma’am. Just the facts.”

The Oregon Legislature is dealing with a massive bill called Cap and Trade. What are the facts? Can you get the facts without the political spin? KGW News in Portland reported some facts which I believe have been lost or ignored in the Cap and Trade discussion. Here are few facts you might find interesting.

FACT #1: Being opposed to the current Cap and Trade Bills does not mean you are a “Climate Change Denier.” I and my fellow Republicans have been willing to work on bipartisan bills to address the issue. But at every turn we have been rejected. It is this bill or nothing.

FACT #2: Do the math. The Cap and Trade legislation before it is done, is estimated to have billions of dollars in increased energy costs, with no measurable reduction in greenhouse gases. Oregon’s produces 65 million metric tons of greenhouse gases per year. The United States produces 6.4 billion metric tons for their annual carbon footprint. Do the math and Oregon’s contribution is 1%. The entire world’s carbon footprint is 36.8 billion metric tons. Oregon’s part of that is 1/10 of 1%. Even the proponents of this piece of legislation say Oregon’s contribution to world greenhouse gas emissions is unmeasurable. We are asking Oregon businesses and Oregon citizens to fall on their swords for no measurable result.

“Do the math ma’am. Do the math.”

FACT #3: Oregon has already passed significant legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Low carbon fuel standard legislation

Coal-to-clean legislation

Renewable Energy Portfolio legislation

$2,000,000,000 spent in upgrading efficiency through Energy Trust of Oregon, which Oregon rate payers have funded.

“Do the math ma’am. Do the math.”

FACT #4: Oregon’s population grew from 1990 to present from 2.8 to 4.2 million. Over that same period of time our emissions grew from 56.2 to 64 mmt. We experienced a 50% growth with only a 15% growth in emissions. Oregon actually has experienced a 22% reduction per capita since 1990 in greenhouse emissions. I believe the facts show that what we have done legislatively is working, and the citizens are already heavily investing in the reduction.

“Do the math ma’am. Do the math.”

FACT #5: Oregonians are an intelligent lot. To state the Cap and Trade legislation is too complicated for citizens to understand as my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have done, is insulting. The people of Oregon are intelligent enough to determine for themselves if the proposed Cap and Trade legislation contains the facts they require to cast an affirmative vote. What is the reason the Democratic majority rejects having the people decide? Could it be the facts aren’t there to support the vote? I certainly think that is the reason.

“All we want are the facts ma’am.”

FACT #6: The Republican Legislators have been trying to get the facts. We have time and time again throughout the process asked questions to try and get the facts.

What are the actual costs of this program? Answer: We don’t have the time or resources to determine it.

Is it a tax? Answer: Don’t think so but let the courts decide.

Will Oregon businesses have to leave Oregon? Answer: We hope not.

With no measurable impact on either the World’s or the United States carbon imprint, why should Oregonians and Oregon companies be required to pay such a massive cost? Answer: We have a moral obligation, and if Oregon leads other states will follow.

“How do you get the facts ma’am when there aren’t any to be given?”

In a court of law, both sides present the facts as they see them. Our State Constitution also provides the same format with legislation, where the facts can be presented and debated in the court of public opinion. The citizens of Oregon become the jury that decides the outcome. The Cap and Trade legislation needs to be decided by a vote of the People of Oregon. To do anything else is wrong. Let the people decide ma’am, let the people decide.

Senator Bill Hansell is in his 38th year of elected office. In both his 30 years of being a Umatilla County Commissioner and 8 years in the Oregon Senate, his goal has been to always make informed decisions. To do that, you need the facts, just like Sargent Joe Friday.