Natural Resources

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February 7, 2022 - Week 1

Back to Full Legislative Report


Agriculture

Air Quality

Budgets/Revenue

Cannabis

Elliott State Forest

Forestry

Land Use/Housing

Radioactive Waste

Recycling

Water

Wildfire


Agriculture (Peggy Lynch)


The League is engaged with the Oregon Global Warming Commission on a Natural and Working Lands proposal, SB 1534. For more info, see the Climate Report. The League is also engaged in potential legislation, HB 4061, related to illegal water use from illegal cannabis grows. See “Cannabis” report below.


Air Quality (Kathy Moyd)

By a vote of 3 to 1 the Environmental Quality Commission approved sending the Oregon Regional Haze 2018 - 2028 State Implementation Plan to the EPA for approval following a presentation.

Budgets/Revenue (Peggy Lynch)

The 2022 session Revenue Forecast will be delivered Feb. 9. Legislators are anticipating a $2 billion budget surplus, of which they want to retain at least $500 million for the 2023 session. The new House Ways and Means (W&Ms) Co-Chair is Rep. Tawna Sanchez. The League has provided a list of natural resources funding asks with our Oregon Conservation Network partners. The Joint W&Ms introduced the 2022 session budget bills (mostly empty shells until end of session) on Friday.

Among the bills we will engage in that will need funding for staff is HB 4060 (with amendments). The bill is requesting two staff to assist natural resource agencies write grants and follow opportunities for federal funding programs. The League will provide testimony in “Support with Concerns” in the Feb. 7 House Energy and Natural Resources hearing since the positions will be housed at the Oregon Dept. of Transportation and we had hoped they would be at a natural resource agency.

As state agencies consider their 2023 budgets, Governor Brown and the Racial Justice Council have provided an Action Plan on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that should guide their budget requests.

Cannabis (Peggy Lynch)


The League of Women Voters Rogue Valley has experienced multiple crises around illegal cannabis grows in Jackson, Josephine and Douglas counties. The legislature provided some funding help during the 2021 2nd Special Session but more work is needed. The League is following HB 4061 related to water theft that will be heard in House Agriculture, Land Use and Water on Feb. 9, where significant amendments are expected. Other bills on this issue include:

HB 4016, HB 4074, SB 1564 and SB 1541. At the present time, the League has not engaged in these bills.


Climate (Claudia Keith and Team)

We encourage you to read both Climate Reports in this Legislative Report.

Coastal Issues (Christine Moffitt)

The Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) is considering adoption of amendments to Part Three of the Oregon Territorial Sea Plan (TSP), the Rocky Habitat Management Strategy. The amended rule is intended to balance rocky ecosystem conservation with appropriate use as provided in Statewide Land Use Planning Goal 19, the Oregon Territorial Sea Plan, and the Oregon Ocean Resources Management Act, by amending the language of Part Three and the site management designations. A draft of the proposed rules and fiscal statements is available on DLCD’s website and the Oregon Ocean Information page. https://www.oregonocean.info/.

You may comment on the proposed rules by sending written comments by March 31, 2022 (or at the hearing March 31t): Rules Coordinator, Department of Land Conservation & Development 635 Capitol St., Ste. 150, Salem, Oregon 97301 or via email: casaria.taylor@dlcd.oregon.gov

DLCD has announced the release of a Guidebook on Erosion Control Practices of the Oregon Coast. This guidebook is a comprehensive overview of erosion control practices, such as riprap, cobble berms, and seawalls, and their regulation on the Oregon coast.

An important Floating Offshore Wind Study is available. The conflicts between offshore wind projects and other ocean uses will be a topic of discussion over the next few years.

Dept. Of Environmental Quality (DEQ) (Peggy Lynch)

DEQ invites the public to provide written comments on Oregon’s updated Nonpoint Source Management Program Plan. The updated plan describes Oregon’s programs and process for preventing and controlling nonpoint source pollution. Examples are pollution that enters streams and rivers from farms, forestland, or urban areas. All comments are due by 5 p.m., Monday, February 28, 2022. To review the plan and learn how to submit public comments, visit the project webpage.

DEQ has a 2022 rulemaking schedule. In 2022, DEQ intends to propose 14 rules, either new or revised, for commission actions.

Dept. Of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI)

The Governing Board of the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) has appointed Dr. Ruarri Day-Stirrat as the State Geologist and Agency Executive Director. Dr. Day-Stirrat will lead a staff of 34 in overseeing the state’s mineral production and developing maps, reports, and data to help Oregon manage natural resources and prepare for natural hazards. Sarah Lewis will continue to lead DOGAMI’s Mineral Land Regulation & Reclamation program.

Dept. Of State Lands (DSL) and State Land Board


The State Land Board is meeting 10a-noon on Feb. 8. Among items on their agenda is consideration of a Legislative Concept for 2023 to increase fees on removal/fill permits. The League asked that this issue be considered in 2021 and have provided testimony in support.


Elliott State Forest (Peggy Lynch)

The League supported SB 1546 with -1 amendments to form the Elliott State Research Forest under a new public “authority” to own and manage the forest. We provided verbal testimony on Feb. 3. A Feb. 8 Work Session is scheduled in the Senate Natural Resources and Wildfire Recovery Committee and the bill is set to move to W&Ms where there is an expectation that the Common School Fund will be reimbursed when the forest is transferred to the new Authority. The Dept. of State Lands provides a website with information on the Elliott.

Forestry (Josie Koehne & James Cannon)


Four bills coming up this session will be most important for forestry to raise funding for the newly approved Forest Practices Act, a carbon sequestration bill, and the Elliot Forest bill.


Private Forest Accord (PFA)

Four bills were introduced that, if passed, will fund and put into statute agreements in the newly adopted Private Forest Accord (PFA) agreement based on this Private Forest Accord Report. It will modify the Forest Practice Act with a future approved Habitat Conservation Plan (HCO) in mind. If approved, the agreement would provide new protections for sensitive and endangered species with wider no-cut stream buffer margin, mitigation to protect all streams, and funding for an income tax credit for small woodland owners, so long as the HCP is approved and an Incidental Take Permit is issued. The Incidental Take Permit would provide legal certainty for timber companies and small woodland owners when harvesting timber on their land by providing protections against lawsuits if an endangered species is accidentally killed during harvest. See specific bills below.

HB 4055 This bill had a public hearing on Feb 1 in House Revenue (see video). HB 4055 is the Forest Products Harvest Tax bill that extends privilege taxes on merchantable forest products harvested on all forestlands for two years. As required in the Private Forest Accord (PFA), a new section, Section 5, imposes an additional privilege tax to be used to fund mitigation of the effects of forest practices on aquatic species. As required by the PFA, this bill funds $2.5 million for the initial work on the Habitat Conservation Plan and for mitigation to protect streams annually, and after acceptance of the HCP (first by NOAA and U.S. Fish & Wildlife and then approved by the EPA for protecting endangered species) and an incidental take permit is issued by the EPA, the tax will increase to $5 million a year but is revoked after a total of $250 million in the fund is reached (50 years).

SB 1501 The major Private Forest Accord provisions are listed in this bill that directs the State Board of Forestry to adopt a single rule package on or before November 30, 2022, to implement the many PFA details. The PFA greatly increases protection of riparian areas and steep slopes so that more trees will be protected from the saw on private industrial and small tract forestlands to provide shade for aquatic creatures and reduce stream warming. The many items needing rules are summarized in the first paragraph of the 40-page bill text. This will require a lot of time and energy by the Board of Forestry to meet the November 30 deadline after the close of session on March 7, anticipating approval in the next long session! There was an informational hearing on SB 1501, and SB 1502 describing the bills on Feb. 1, and a public hearing was heard on Feb 3 in the Senate Committee On Natural Resources and Wildfire Recovery. See the SB 1501 and SB 1502 committee hearings video. A work session is set for Feb 8 at 1 PM. Here is the amendment and a guide to the different sections of the bill.

SB 1502 On Feb 3, testimony was also heard on SB 1502 that creates an income or corporate excise tax credit for small forestland owners who elect to restrict riparian timber harvest beyond to match the no-cut riparian buffer zone standards in the bill for large industrial forestland when they harvest. This excise tax credit will incentivize small woodland owners to protect more of their timbered lands. Comments included criticism that the credit was not reviewed within the usual maximum 6 year time frame as most other bills are, and that there is no sunset in the bill, among others. A work session is scheduled for 1pm Feb 8.

SB 1534 The Natural and Working Lands and Waters bill establishes increasing carbon storage in Natural and Working Lands and Waters as a state policy. Significant co-benefits include planting trees in urban areas to reduce heat island effects, improving resilience of fire-prone forests, and creating jobs in rural communities. The voluntary compliance with the smart forestry practices as defined in the bill calls for incentives, to be determined at a future date. The public hearing is scheduled for Feb 8 and LWVOR has provided testimony in SUPPORT. The public hearing on this bill will continue at 5:30 if everyone signed up to testify is not heard at the 1pm mtg. The SB 1534 work session is scheduled for 1pm Thursday, Feb 10 in the Senate Committee On Natural Resources and Wildfire Recovery. This is an important bill, and we have sent an Action Alert asking League members and others to call their legislators in SUPPORT.

SB 1573 would appropriate $50 million (as approved in the wildfire SB 762 from the 2021 session), to the Department of Forestry (ODF) to fund increased forest thinning operations in the wildfire-prone counties of Clackamas, Deschutes, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn and Marion. It directs ODF to allocate $5 million of this money to fund forest thinning operations on public lands located in each of these wildfire-prone counties. ODF must confer with each county governing body (county commissioners) to determine which specific forest thinning operations to fund. Of concern is that forest thinning operations on state lands in these counties may be used to directly fund ODF operations and the remaining balance of money may be used to fund the county governing body efforts. Thinning is not defined and could include many kinds of forest operations that might be of potential ecological harm. Also, it is unclear if there is overlap with the monies authorized under SB 762 (2021). The League may provide testimony on this bill for, scheduled for a Feb 8 public hearing and Feb 10 work session in the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Wildfire Recovery. See the original HB 1501.


Land Use/Housing (Debbie Aiona, Nancy Donovan, Penny York & Peggy Lynch)


HB 4064 would prohibit jurisdictions from the siting of prefabricated structures in all residential zones. The League is providing testimony in support at the public hearing in House Housing on Feb. 7th. Our League volunteer is also participating in a longer-term Work Group on this important issue.


The Biden administration proposes manufactured home energy-efficiency updates per a Washington Post article.


The League is following two bills we will oppose this session: HB 4118 would allow up to 100 acres of land outside an Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) to be included for “workforce housing”. There are a number of acres inside UGBs that have yet to be developed, especially in Deschutes County, the home of Rep. Zika, the bill’s sponsor. One major issue with development of vacant land, even if inside a UGB, is the cost of infrastructure: water, sewer, roads, etc.


SB 1537 is the second bill we will oppose. It would require state agencies to do extensive analysis of the cost of any housing rule. State agencies do rulemaking to implement bills passed by the legislature and we see this as a way to stop work on public health and safety issues such as protection from wildfire and adopting building codes that address energy efficiency.


HB 4058 and SB 1536 See related information addressing heating and cooling requirements for housing in the Climate section of this report. They were filed to address the “heat dome” last year that was linked to the deaths of 100 Oregonians.


On Feb. 2, the W&Ms Natural Resources Subcommittee received a report on a proposed Regional Housing Needs Analysis (RHNA) concept as required by a 2021 Budget Note. Committee members took the opportunity to express frustration and concern regarding the cost of housing and the need to address the needs of our homeless Oregonians.

See the Land Use 101 seminar YouTube put together by 1,000 Friends of Oregon and Central Oregon Landwatch staff with LWVOR. The 50+ minute show doesn't have the conversations that occurred at the end with staff and legislators. There were 20-30 attendees.


The League continues to be a member of the Oregon Housing Alliance and members attend regular meetings to discuss past and future legislation and programs.


See also the Housing Report in the Social Policy section of this Legislative Report.


Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB)

The 2019-2021 Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds Biennial Report is now available. The executive summary provides a report overview, while the full report offers greater detail.

Radioactive Waste (Shirley Weathers)


The Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) Rulemaking Advisory Committee on Radioactive Waste has set its third meeting on Monday, February 14, 2022, 9-12. For further information, see 1/17/2022 issue.


Recycling (Kathy Moyd)


SB 1520, Bottle Bill Modernization had its public hearing on February 2. The League provided Testimony supporting the addition of wine in cans to the list of beverages covered by the Bottle Bill. Amendment-2 delayed implementation by a year until 2026 to give the wine industry time to decide whether to be under the Bottle Bill or modernized recycling program, HB 2065 (2021).


Water (Peggy Lynch)

HB 4148 The League believes this is a Bill of Concern and we will follow as it receives a hearing on Feb. 7 in House Energy and Natural Resources. It directs the Dept. of State Lands, in consultation with State Dept of Fish and Wildlife, to establish a new salmon credit program to encourage voluntary restoration of salmonid habitat and allow persons to meet compensatory mitigation obligations. It is important to note sections 3(1) (b), 3(4), 3(5) and (9) which may affect Oregon’s removal fill laws and why the League will oppose. There are already a number of programs where private property owners can receive grants and other help to benefit salmon.

The Water Resources Dept. received Budget Note #9 in budget bill HB 5006 (2021) to convene a workgroup comprised of a balanced membership including, but not limited to, conservation groups, agricultural water users, municipal water users, environmental justice organizations, tribal interests and state agencies including WRD and ODFW to consider regional water management opportunities that build on the 100-Year Water Vision and further the goals of the Integrated Water Resources Strategy. LWVOR has been invited to participate. The first group meeting was held January 31 and a website has been created for public access. The next meeting is set for March 8 with monthly meetings all the way to December.

The Water Resources Dept. met on Jan. 27 on their possible 2023 budget proposals and updated stakeholders on their hiring and program progress from the 2021 budget largess. See the recorded presentation. You can also access this via their Department YouTube page. Meeting materials, including presentation slides and recording should also be posted on their legislative and budget webpage.

The Water Resources Dept. has released an important Water Measurement Report. Pages 3 and 4 provide an Executive Summary that may be useful.

The League has supported increased funding on addressing failing onsite septic systems during the 2021 session. There is now an Onsite Septic Financial Aid Program page.

After the snowy December, January forgot that it is supposed to rain! So we have an on-going drought throughout Oregon and League members may want to check the U.S. Drought Monitor map, updated every Thursday.

Visit the Harmful Algae Bloom website or call the Oregon Public Health Division toll-free information line, 877-290-6767, to learn if an advisory has been issued or lifted for a specific water body. We have also seen beach closures this late summer, many of which may be related to failing septic systems along the coast.

Wildfire (Peggy Lynch)


SB 1533 provides some needed “fixes” to SB 762 (2021) and the League supports.


In the meantime, the Oregon Dept. of Forestry (ODF) is completing the Rules Advisory Committee work to implement one section of SB 762 (2021). They provide a website with meeting materials and are close to providing a Draft set of rules to the Board of Forestry. Their next—maybe last--meeting is Feb. 10.

Then the Board of Forestry is to approve the Draft so the rules can be published by the Secretary of State bulletin by April 1. Public hearings are scheduled for April 19-21 and the Board has a target date of June 8 to adopt the final rules—just before the June 30 deadline for adoption of the wildland urban interface (WUI) criteria, risk classifications, and map for WUI boundaries.


Of interest is a presentation at their Feb. 3 meeting: A set of slides on Social Vulnerability mapping that will be used as Oregon State University creates the new wildfire risk maps.


There are a number of agencies involved with implementation of SB 762 including the Dept. of Land Conservation and Development. DLCD is hoping to find community members and other experts who have been affected by wildfire to inform staff recommendations to the Statewide Wildfire Programs Advisory Committee and Oregon State Legislature. This community engagement process will begin in February 2022 and conclude in September 2022.


The House Special Committee on Wildfire Recovery Committee is meeting again this session. Although they do not have authority to file new bills, they are charged with assuring the monies provided in 2021 are getting to wildfire victims and jurisdictions. They will receive reports from the 2020 wildfire areas at their next meeting on Feb. 7.


Volunteers Needed


Above you can see the names of League volunteers who covered one or more issues. Volunteers are needed to participate in rulemaking to implement the bills passed in the 2021 session and to consider following legislation in 2022, a short 5-week session starting Feb. 1. If not actually serving on a rules advisory committee (RAC), you could simply monitor and report back on their work. Natural Resource Agency Boards and Commissions meet regularly and need monitoring. If any area of natural resources is of interest to you, please contact Peggy Lynch, Natural Resources Coordinator, at peggylynchor@gmail.com. Training will be offered.



Among the bills we will engage in that will need funding for staff is HB 4060 (with amendments). The bill is requesting two staff to assist natural resource agencies write grants and follow opportunities for federal funding programs. The League will provide testimony in “Support with Concerns” in the Feb. 7 House Energy and Natural Resources hearing since the positions will be housed at the Oregon Dept. of Transportation and we had hoped they would be at a natural resource agency. The Governing Board of the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) has appointed Dr. Ruarri Day-Stirrat as the State Geologist and Agency Executive Director. Dr. Day-Stirrat will lead a staff of 34 in overseeing the state’s mineral production and developing maps, reports, and data to help Oregon manage natural resources and prepare for natural hazards. Sarah Lewis will continue to lead DOGAMI’s Mineral Land Regulation & Reclamation program.