June 6-10, 2022 - Week 6
League volunteers have been busy attending natural resource agency Board and Commission meetings and participating in rulemakings. The next interim legislative meetings are Sept. 21-23 with the next Revenue Forecast Aug. 31.
By Jaime Carleton & Peggy Lynch
Of the three “megachicken” factories (poultry farms) we reported on in April, one of the three has received a Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) permit despite significant concerns from farmers and town residents about the air and water quality.
(1) Eric Simon, operator of J-S Ranch, Scio, was issued a CAFO permit with conditions to allow the operation of the new poultry facility in Linn County despite a two-year battle from local residents and local farmers comments. Simon plans to operate a poultry facility holding up to 580,000 broiler chickens in Linn County.
(2) A CAFO permit application from Evergreen Ranch, Scio, has not yet been put out for public comment. The Dept. of Agriculture (ODA) shared on May 27th that the application was not complete at this time. If this CAFO permit is granted, we understand that the farm will house 750,000 chickens at a time and millions per year. Among the neighborhood concerns is the effect of the facility on the children who attend a four-room schoolroom just up the road from the proposed CAFO and a group home for adults with developmental disabilities. One resident has shared that her home water had turned to mud after four new wells were dug at Evergreen Ranch. Neighbors worry about toxic runoff into Thomas Creek if granted CAFO approval. A CAFO permit is linked to water quality, but ODA processes the permit rather than the Dept. Of Environmental Quality.
(3) The third proposed site, Hiday Poultry Farms, is located near Aumsville. Hiday Poultry Farms LLC's Brownsville location grows approximately 550,000 broiler chickens per flock for Foster Farms. Their new facility has not applied for a CAFO permit at this time.
As it stands now, ODA has permitting authority for CAFOs since the activity is a legal farming activity and the property is farmland. Unfortunately, Oregon provides no explicit authority to regulate air quality impacts for these operations although there may be a need for water quality permits.
Because of the concerns of neighbors and others, the legislature held informational meetings on these proposed poultry facilities. The House Interim Committee on Agriculture, Land Use, and Water met June 1st and had this issue first on their agenda. There are slides available from ODA. ODA shared that there is zero tolerance for potential to discharge and CAFOs should have no discharge.
Then the Senate Interim Committee on Natural Resources and Wildfire Recovery met on June 2nd and this issue was third on their agenda. Among the comments, Senator Dembrow expressed concern about the ODA process and suggested that a permitting process should be a two-step process to meet the environment and health and safety needs. He expressed concern that these facilities would be on prime agricultural land. He expressed concern about the location being close to important water sources and not far from residents and our current statutes don’t seem to really adequately address situations like this.
The presentations included explanations by ODA and defined CAFO permit types, and stated that that their permits must be water quality compliant. ODA and DEQ operate under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), a document that is up for review by both agencies. ODA doesn't give land use approval; that is under the local government purview. Air quality is not considered as part of this process. Nutrient waste is different for each CAFO. For instance, cow manure has more liquid content than chicken waste.
At both legislative meetings, members of the public were invited to provide both the points of view of the poultry facilities in support and the nearby residents who oppose these facilities. The two videos are very helpful to understanding why there is a need for a clear MOU with a clear role for DEQ related to water quality and air quality, much better transparency, need for land use considerations that leads to social justice issues, and air and water pollution. As Senator Dembrow stated, our current statutes really don't adequately address situations like this.
The League also wrote a letter of concern related to a proposed CAFO permit to address a major expansion of a dairy facility (Sliver Stream Jerseys) in the Tillamook area. There will be a public meeting on this permit on June 14th with close of public comments due by June 21st.
LWVOR provided testimony in support of the Natural and Working Lands and Waters proposal, SB 1534A, in 2022. The bill died but we continue to work with partners on getting funding for the research called for, including requesting funds from the Emergency Board. A small federal grant has been received that might help with this work.
By Kathy Moyd
The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is seeking comments on the proposed rules for the Air Quality Permitting Update 2022. The deadline for written comments is July 11, and a public hearing will be conducted on June 27. LWVOR is in the process of reviewing the proposed rules and will determine whether to provide comments.
DEQ held a public hearing April 27 on the draft air quality permit for NEXT Energy Group to develop a renewable diesel production facility in Clatskanie. The facility would use recycled cooking oil, vegetable oils, animal fats, etc. to produce 1.58 million gallons a day of renewable fuel products (diesel, naphtha, jet fuel) at start-up, expected to grow to more than 2.1 million gallons a day at full capacity. In particular there was concern that volatile organic compounds (VOC), which are organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at room temperature, could contaminate the surrounding farmlands and affect a nearby Buddhist Monastery. The deadline for written comments was May 26; LWVOR opted not to submit comments.
With the various federal funding opportunities, the Governor has established an Infrastructure Cabinet with a Cabinet Charter.
The League provided testimony in support of HB 4060 in 2022 to fund staff to assist natural resource agencies, local governments and individual Oregonians to write grants and follow opportunities for federal funding programs. The bill died but the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board has a Policy Option Package in its proposed Agency Request Budget. There are many federal grant opportunities and the League hopes this additional staffing will help.
The Governor has required Racial Equity Impact Statements as part of their budget requests. Go to page 39 of web document (not the page # of document) for the Racial Equity Worksheet.
League members are following the budget development for Natural Resource agencies for the 2023-25 biennium. In some cases, the proposals are required to go before their Boards and Commissions before being submitted to the Dept. of Administrative Services (DAS) on behalf of the Governor. Of course, although Governor Brown will have input, the Governor’s Request Budget will come from the new Governor by Feb. 1, 2023. Budgets begin with their “current service level” 2021-23 budgets and then they consider asking for additional funds through Policy Option Packages (POPs). Legislation is created with draft Legislative Concepts (LCs). For the natural resource agencies, LCs were due to the Governor’s Office by April 15 and POPs by June or July. Final agency requests to the Governor will be by end of summer. The legislature will consider this information and are required to pass agency budgets (and whatever legislation they choose to pass) by the end of June 2023. See individual agency reports for more information on proposed agency budgets.
The next Revenue Forecast for the state is August 31st. See the Office of Economic Analysis website for more information on their work.
By Claudia Keith and Team
See Climate Report in a separate section of this Legislative Report. There are overlaps with this Natural Resources Report. We encourage you to read both sections.
By Christine Moffitt and Peggy Lynch
On March 31, 2022, the Land Conservation and Development Commission unanimously adopted Part Three of the Oregon Territorial Sea Plan (TSP), the Rocky Habitat Management Strategy. The amended Strategy is now consistent with the existing policies of the Oregon Nearshore Strategy, the Climate Change Adaptation Framework, and recommendations from the Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Coordinating Council. Notable revisions include the designation of two new management areas at Coquille Point (Marine Education Area/Garden) and Cape Blanco (Marine Research Area). Part Three also includes a new process that provides the public with the opportunity to submit proposals for additions, removals, and changes to rocky habitat site management designations. (See Section E for details). View the Part Three Rocky Habitat Management Strategy and access the Rocky Habitat Web Mapping Tool.
Visit the Oregon Ocean Science Trust (OOST) OOST website and the Dept. of State Lands OOST website to learn more about the research grants being awarded to address ocean acidification, management and communications from monies awarded in the 2021 legislative session.. The 2022 legislature provided $1 million additional to address science and monitoring on nearshore keystone species, including sea otters, nearshore marine ecosystems, kelp and eelgrass habitat, and sequestration of blue carbon. The OOST will hold a video conference public meeting on June 21, 9:00 am to Noon. See the agenda items , as well as the Zoom link for this meeting.
Dept. Of Environmental Quality (DEQ)
By Peggy Lynch
The League has a member appointed to again review DEQ’s authorized annual 3% fee increase for Water Quality permits. The rulemaking materials, including the draft Fiscal Impact Statement, draft fee tables, Advisory Committee Roster, Charter, and more information about the rulemaking can be found at this DEQ website.
Dept. Of Geology And Mineral Industries (DOGAMI)
By Peggy Lynch
Information about DOGAMI and access to Oregon geoscience resources can be found here. The DOGAMI Board will consider their 2023-25 budget at their June 16th meeting.
Dept. Of State Lands (DSL)
By Peggy Lynch
Elliott State Forest
By Peggy Lynch
On April 12th, the Governor held a ceremonial signing of SB 1546, a bill that created the Elliott State Research Forest (supported by LWVOR). Earlier, the State Land Board received a report on the status of the work needed to complete the transfer from the Common School Fund. Later that day the Elliott State Forest Advisory Committee met and heard an in-depth presentation on the status of the Forest Management Plan. Notes of the meeting are available. The OSU Elliott Webpage is available for more information.
There are steps still to take before final transfer to this new Elliott State Research Authority from the Common School Fund. There will be an analysis of the funding mechanism proposed by Oregon State University related to the limited logging needed to pay for maintenance of the Forest and creation of the research platform. OSU’s Board of Directors needs to authorize this research effort and the State Land Board needs to officially transfer the Forest. In the meantime, the Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) moves forward as does the Forest Management Plan—both critical documents to consummating this concept. Public comment on the HCP ended June 6th. The Dept. of State Lands provides a website with information on the Elliott as does OSU . The Forest’s Advisory Committee will meet July 27, Nov. 9 and possibly Nov. 15.
The legislative Emergency Board met on June 3rd and dealt with a long list of grant requests, agency reports and requests.
Here is the Oregon Dept. of Energy’s 2022 Legislative Report. ODOE received funds for heat pumps, for their solar program, to report on the fuel tank facility in Portland and more.
Fish And Wildlife
ODFW hosted virtual public listening sessions on the agency’s proposed 2023-25 budget. The next step is a June 17th ODFW Commission meeting to adopt the budget to be sent to the Governor for consideration.
A decision has been made on the lawsuit against the State around amount of timber harvest in state forests.
The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) has released four new videos as part of its Federal Forest Restoration (FFR) Program. The series is called “Forward Together: Restoring Oregon’s Federal Forests.” These videos show how the FFR Program is helping mitigate climate change and address federal forest health challenges in Oregon, including risk of catastrophic wildfire, insect pests, and disease. View all four videos on YouTube. The four video titles are:
Forward Together: Restoring Oregon’s Federal Forests
Building Community: Oakridge and Westfir
Resilience in the Face of Change: Southern Oregon
Restoring the Backyard Forest: Central Oregon
ODF received $76 million to compensate the department for the 2021 fire season expenses in the final end-of-session omnibus budget bill, SB 1502-1. The bill also added $50 million as a Special Purpose Appropriation to be used to deal with cash flow issues of the agency because it sometimes takes two years to get reimbursement for costs that should be paid by the federal government or other entities. In the meantime, firefighters and other contracts must be paid in a timely manner. The June 3rd Emergency Board allocated the $50 million to cover costs of the 2022 fire season, leaving other budgeted monies to do the day-to-day work of the agency for the first time in many years. The annual Lloyds of London wildfire insurance policy has been approved for renewal, but the deductible has increased from $50 million to $75 million.
A large stakeholder meeting will be held June 24th to discuss the agency’s budget and legislative proposals for 2023-25.
By Marylou Schnoes
The Oregon Hanford Cleanup Board met virtually on May 2. The meeting agenda and meeting materials is available on their website. The agenda included:
Updates from the U.S. Department of Energy about cleanup progress and activities at the site.
An update from Washington State Department of Ecology and the U.S. EPA’s Hanford Project Office.
Updates from Oregon Department of Energy staff on what’s happened since the last OHCB meeting.
By Peggy Lynch
The Dept. of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) is continuing to work on a Regional Housing Needs Analysis. Look for a name change to “Oregon Housing Needs Analysis” to recognize the challenges of dividing Oregon into regions where we might not have adequate data for many “regions” of the state. HB 5202 increased this work by providing an additional $150,000 (with a letter from Rep. Fahey, House Housing Chair) to incorporate a conversation around our current Urban Growth Boundary process, requiring a second work group, the Housing Capacity Work Group, to be convened. The League has a member on this work group. Their first meeting was May 5 and the second May 23. Here are the slides from the May 23rd mtg. The third meeting is set for June 30.
The Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities hearing at the LCDC meeting May 19 ended with adoption of temporary rules . Expect to see permanent rule adoption at their July 21-22 meeting. Public comment on the temporary rules is due by July 1.
The agency is working on its 2023-25 budget proposals. This link provides a list of the Policy Option Packages being considered by the agency. The public is encouraged to provide comments at the July 21-22 LCDC meeting.
The June 1st House Interim Committee on Housing meeting included a presentation on housing supply by Josh Lehner, state economist and Sean Edging of DLCD on Goal 10, among others. On June 2nd, the Senate Interim Committee on Housing and Development meeting had a presentation on Housing Supply.
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 other sections of this Legislative Report.
Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB)
Here are the OWEB 2023-25 tentative Budget Requests.
By Shirley Weathers
The Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) is continuing its work to protect Oregon from becoming a dumping ground for radioactive waste. The Legislative Report entry of April 18, 2022 provides an overview of current activities on this front. Since then, ODOE staffers have been working on draft language for Division 050 rules, considering as part of that responses to an extensive survey all Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC) members (including LWVOR) were invited to respond to in April. They expect to schedule a meeting of the RAC to begin discussing the draft rules in the fall. The League remains committed to ensuring that the primary focus of the law—the protection of public health and safety—is maintained in the final rules.
By Kathy Moyd
The Truth In Labeling Report required by SB 582 (2021), the Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernization Act, was submitted to the State Legislature on June 1. The Rulemaking Advisory Committee for the Recycling Updates has been appointed. An Overview was presented at the Interim Senate Energy and Environment Committee meeting on June 2.
Oregon DEQ is focusing on food waste. Here is a link to their “Bad Apple” campaign. See how you can reduce food waste.
State Land Board
By Peggy Lynch
The State Land Board met April 12 and supported the addition of 261 acres known as the Stevens Road Tract into the City of Bend’s Urban Growth Boundary. with a separate sale of 20 acres for “affordable housing”, approved of 0.56 acres to the South Slough and heard an update on the Elliott State Research Forest.
The federal government still owes Oregon about 1,500 acres from statehood: In 1859, the Oregon Admission Act (Section 4) ceded to the state the 16th and 36th section of every township for public school use. Where the land had been previously deeded, the state was allowed to choose other public lands “in lieu” of these lands.
The Board will meet again on June 14th with a large number of items on their agenda.
By Peggy Lynch
LWVOR signed on to a letter to Congressman Peter De Fazio in support of HR 7329, the Smith River National Recreation Area Expansion Act.
The Water Resources Dept. received Budget Note #9 in budget bill HB 5006 (2021) to convene a workgroup to consider regional water ma