SALEM, Ore. - One of Oregon's biggest lumber companies has called for a mass boycott of businesses who support a new state carbon cap and trade bill - despite the bill dying in state congress this week.
Stimson Lumber CEO Andrew Miller, who operates 552,000 acres of forest land in the Pacific Northwest, has urged all of his 750 employees to boycott businesses who've signed their name in support of a controversial bill aimed at curbing climate change. The bill would have forced polluters to purchase "credits" in order to offset the greenhouse gases they're putting out. Republican senators walked out of the state capitol last week because of the bill - sparking more controversy.
Miller said the 100 local companies supporting the bill include corporate giants like Nike and Uber, of whom won't feel the new carbon tax.
"Many of them won't feel this new carbon tax because they make their products in third-world countries and won't be subject to House Bill 2020," Miller said in a statement. "It's hypocritical."
Miller announced the boycott one day after Democrats announced the bill didn't have enough support to pass in the state senate.
"This legislation would have imposed billions in new taxes on Oregonians who can least afford them, while having an imperceptible impact on our climate," Miller said in a statement. "It is disturbing to me that urban legislators so carelessly disregard Oregon's working families in favor of ramming through political agendas that only pad the pockets of their special-interest campaign donors."
Some local companies outside of the timber industry have joined Stimson, including local coffee shops and breweries.
The story comes soon after Stimson laid off more than 60 employees at an Oregon sawmill
, citing rising costs caused by state programs and state policies. Miller said the shutdown was forced "due to the rising cost of doing business in Oregon" and has elected to move production to Idaho and Montana instead. The closing mill, located just west of Portland, primarily makes dimensional lumber for retailers like Home Depot, the company's largest customer.
Miller, who is a big supporter and donor of the GOP, wrote in a letter that taxes, fees, and regulations in Oregon have made the state's wood products industry less competitive. The letter was read aloud by Republicans June 3 on the Senate floor.
"I do not need to be hit with a 2-by-4 in the face to see that Oregon is an urban state and rural Oregon is a place for urbanites to recreate."
Other lumber executives have been getting more vocal about business conditions in Oregon.
Rob Freres, president of Oregon-based Freres Lumber, personally pledged $1 million last month
to overturn a new business tax, which is designed to provide an additional $1 billion for Oregon public schools every year. The tax is on businesses - imposing a 0.57 percent levy on sales by companies with more than $1 million a year in revenue.
Despite declining over previous decades, wood product manufacturing remains one of the biggest industries in Oregon when it comes to jobs and revenue. The entire industry represents $1.1 billion in total payroll for the state.
Early last year, Oregon Governor Kate Brown said that Oregon's forest sector contributes more than $12 billion annually to the state's economy and employs more than 60,000 Oregonians. Over 8,300 workers manufacture plywood and engineered wood products in Oregon, the state’s third biggest industry.
Stimson employs more than 750 people across Oregon, Idaho, and Monanta - running seven sawmills and owning and managing more than 552,000 acres of forest land in the United States. The Stimson family is among the biggest landowners in the country.