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Legislative Report - Week of 1/16/23

AGRICULTURE

AIR QUALITY

BUDGETS/REVENUE

CLIMATE

COASTAL ISSUES

DEQ

DSL

FORESTRY

GOVERNANCE

HANFORD

LAND USE/HOUSING

NWEC

OWEB

RECYCLING

TRANSPORTATION

WATER

WILDFIRE

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED


Overview

Bills have been filed, “first read” and assigned to committees. But this does not guarantee they will receive public hearings. That decision first rests with the Committee Chairs in consultation with their Vice Chairs. Final determination is always with Legislative Leadership. Filing deadline is Feb. 21 for most bills. 


AGRICULTURE


Bills being reviewed by the League:

  • SB 47: Directs Environmental Quality Commission and Department of Agriculture to enter into a memorandum of understanding to allow the department to exercise exclusive jurisdiction over air quality laws, water quality laws and land quality laws that apply to agricultural lands, operations and equipment. 

  • HB 2121: House version of SB 47.

  • SB 399: Would limit water use for confined animal feeding operations, known as CAFOs. 

  • HB 2667: Would put a pause on all new CAFOs for the next several years.



AIR QUALITY


Our friends from Neighbors for Clean Air have set their 2023 agenda: Particulate Air Pollution. 



BUDGETS/REVENUE


We are all awaiting Governor Kotek’s Governor’s Recommended Budget (GRB)—due by Feb. 1. The next Revenue Forecast is Feb. 22. The House Revenue Committee provided an overview/audio of Revenue issues. The meeting is worth listening to. 



CLIMATE

By Claudia Keith and Team


 See Climate Report in the Climate Emergency section of this Legislative Report. There are overlaps with this Natural Resources Report. We encourage you to read both sections. 

HB 2236: Prohibits governor and specific agencies from taking measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions unless authorized by Legislature. 



COASTAL ISSUES

By Christine Moffitt 


Bills being reviewed by the League: HB 2190 (Relating to offshore wind).



DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY (DEQ)


On January 19, the Environmental Quality Commission announced two finalists for consideration to become the new Director of the Dept. of Environmental Quality: Current Interim Director Leah Feldon and Jamie McLeod-Skinner, regional emergency coordinator with the Oregon Department of Human Services and is also founding partner and attorney with MS Sage Consulting in Central Oregon. The Commission will hold a special meeting in February for the Commission, staff and the public to engage before the Commission makes its decision. 


Bills being reviewed by the League:


SB 47: Directs Environmental Quality Commission and Department of Agriculture to enter into a memorandum of understanding to allow the department to exercise exclusive jurisdiction over air quality laws, water quality laws and land quality laws that apply to agricultural lands, operations and equipment. 

HB 2121: House version of SB 47. 



DEPT. OF STATE LANDS (DSL) 

By Peggy Lynch


Bill possibly supported by the League: HB 2238: Fees related to removal or fill permit applications, wetland delineation reports and general authorizations. 



FORESTRY


 On February 7 from 1 – 4 p.m. there will be a virtual meeting open to the public to learn more about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Forest Management Plan (FMP) and Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). This meeting will provide an update on the FMP, the HCP, and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. A proposed agenda and additional details will be provided closer to the meeting date. RSVP is requested; you can do so by clicking here. More information is available online at the Western Oregon State Forest Management Plan Website and the Western Oregon State Forest Habitat Conservation Plan Website.


See “Wildfire” below for a report on the Oregon Wildfire Council.


GOVERNANCE 

By Peggy Lynch

 

Bills being reviewed by League members: 

HB 2480: new or increased fees adopted by state agency do not become effective unless approved by three-fifths of each chamber of the Legislative Assembly. LWVOR opposes. 


SB 660: No new/increase in agency fees unless approved by legislative assembly. LWVOR opposes.


SB 43: Requires agencies to post certain information about rulemaking on agency websites and a long list of other requirements. LWVOR opposes.



HANFORD


By Marylou Schnoes)

The Oregon Hanford Cleanup Board will hold a virtual meeting on January 18. A full meeting agenda, including how to participate, and other meeting materials is available on their website.



LAND USE/HOUSING

By Peggy Lynch


Bills being reviewed by League members:


HB 2203: Allows RVs used to provide security of farm use to be sited on lands zoned for EFU. Public Hearing 1/19. LWVOR has concerns around waste disposal, drinking water availability and other services. 


HB 2889: Establishes Oregon Housing Needs Analysis within the Housing and Community Services Department. LWVOR supports. You can watch a presentation of this concept in the House Housing Committee on Jan. 17. 


SB 70: A “correction” to SB 16 (2021), a bill that would have allowed 100 homes on farmland and which we opposed, but passed yet never implemented. At first glance, we will oppose SB 70 as well.

 

HB 2211: Redefines "historic home" to include dwellings built before 1974 for the purpose of serving as accessory dwelling unit to home newly constructed on rural residential lands. LWVOR opposes as we have in past sessions.


HB 2749: Change the RR lot size for ADUs from 2 acres to 1 acre or 1/2 acre. LWVOR has concerns.  HB 2758: Change the RR lot size for ADUs from 2 acres to 1 acre or 1/2 acre. LWVOR has concerns 


SB 534: Requires Oregon Facilities Authority to provide financing for infrastructure and predevelopment costs for moderate income housing. LWVOR may support. 


HB 2258: Extends sunset of Oregon Industrial Site Readiness Program. LWVOR has supported this data-driven program. 


HB 2027: Requires Housing and Community Services Department to study housing—a potential “gut and stuff” bill. Expect major amendments.


HB 2202: Prohibits counties from allowing use of certain new dwellings on resource lands as vacation occupancies. 


SB 580: Relating to climate rules for land use planning. 


HB 2207: Limits standing in appeals of land use decisions. 


HB 2260: Relating to system development charges impacting housing.


HB 2210: Relating to parcel sizes of resource lands. 


HB 2487: Allows lands zoned for exclusive farm use to be used for weddings or events east of the summit of the Cascade Range. 


HB 2659: Requires LCDC to update rules adopted in response to the Governor's executive order on climate to address specific issues.


HB 2406: Directs Energy Facility Siting Council to adopt standards for siting, construction, operation and retirement of energy facilities that generate electricity from renewable energy sources, addressing impacts of energy facility's equipment waste recycling and disposal needs over lifetime of energy facility. 


HB 2989: Directs ODOE & DLCD to convene work groups to examine barriers, opportunities and other issues related to renewable energy and transmission project siting in Oregon. 


SB 673: Requires Deschutes County to approve certain applications to develop manufactured dwelling or recreational vehicle parks outside the urban growth boundary. 


LC 3914 is a redraft of HB 2701 (2021). It creates a pilot program under the bill and allocates $1.5 million into an Systems Development Charge fund. Pertains only to cities under 15,000 and small population counties. Allows a developer to build multi-family housing with a waiver of SDC’s provided the City agrees and the developer and subsequent owner enters into a covenant with the State whereby the rent cannot be increased above a statutory threshold for at least 10 years. With the agreement, the State reimburses the City or County for the full cost SDC’s.

A bill (HB 2659) for the City of Springfield regarding “Climate Friendly & Equitable Community” rules (not yet first read).


The Citizen Involvement Advisory Committee (CIAC) is meeting Jan. 27. The agenda and meeting materials for a CIAC joint meeting with the Land Conservation and Development Commission are now available online. This is a hybrid, virtual and in-person meeting.


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



NORTHWEST ENERGY COALITION (NWEC)

By Robin Tokmakian


2023 Priorities for NWEC:


RE-Building Task Force: The RE-Building Task Force was established during last year’s legislative session by SB 1518. The task force has been hard at work to determine how to reduce emissions from new and existing buildings in the state. The task force released a draft report earlier in December. Bills will be developed from the concepts considered by the task force and will be introduced when the legislative session starts in January. 


Clean Lighting Bill: Appliance Standard Awareness Project (ASAP) has proposed a bill to phase out the use of linear fluorescent lamps due to their mercury content. The bill would also result in energy savings and emissions reductions, and follows similar legislation recently adopted in California.


Other things to keep an eye on:


Portland General Electric Securitization Bill: We expect Portland General Electric to propose a bill around securitization. A bill draft that was shared with NWEC seeks to allow a utility, with the approval of the Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC), to issue bonds and securitize debt for costs and expenses associated with events subject to federal or state declaration of emergency (think fires or ice storms). PGE has been discussing the issue with many stakeholders and we expect the bill to come up early in the session. 


Oregon Siting Bill: As in Washington, there are many discussions in Oregon about clean energy siting. NW Energy Coalition has been, and will continue to, engage and assess any proposals that may arise from discussions. 


Oregon Budget: Congress’s passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will provide a massive amount of new funding to the state of Oregon. There will no doubt be many discussions about how to allocate those new federal funds. 



OREGON WATERSHED ENHANCEMENT BOARD (OWEB)

OWEB will hold a virtual 2-day meeting, on January 24 and 25 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The agenda and staff reports for the meeting are now available.  



RECYCLING

 By Kathy Moyd

 

New: Zero Waste Package aims to reduce Oregon’s waste and includes these five bills:


  • Right to Repair (SB 542): Will reduce electronic waste and save people hundreds of dollars a year by allowing them to repair their own electronics. 

  • Styrofoam Phase Out (SB 543): Phases out the use of styrofoam in food to-go containers, as well as bans the use of highly carcinogenic PFAS chemicals in food packaging.

  • Reduction of Single-Use Packaging (SB 544): A bill that will require a 25% Reduction of Single-Use Packaging in 10 Years.

  • Reusable Containers (SB 545): Updating Oregon law to allow for reusable containers to be used in the bulk section of the supermarket and for eating out. 

  • No New Permits for Chemical Recycling Plants: While the name might sound nice, chemical recycling leads to localized air pollution and is not healthy for people or the environment. Bill not yet filed. 


TRANSPORTATION


There will soon be new sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, curb ramps and more to make walking and rolling to school safer, easier and more accessible for all. ODOT Commissioners 1/12  approved 26 Safe Routes to School projects totaling $32.4 million, with a focus on under-resourced neighborhoods: all awardees are Title 1 schools (schools where 40% or more of the student population is low-income).



WATER

 By Peggy Lynch 


An update to the Morrow/Umatilla County nitrate contamination issue: Morrow and Umatilla counties have long faced nitrate pollution in some people’s drinking water. The federal funding aims to establish a long-term fix. A follow up article with resident frustrations. 


Bills being reviewed by League members: 


HB 2647: Harmful Algal Blooms. 

SB 399: Limiting water for livestock use. 

HB 2813: Relating to sources of drinking water. 

SB 710: Relating to groundwater use decisions affecting surface water sources 

SB 553: Requires Department of Environmental Quality to study water reuse. 

HB 2023: Salmon Credits. LWVOR had concerns with this bill in 2021. 

HB 2248: Requires Water Resources Department and Department of Environmental Quality to study impacts of wildfire on water quality of streams and tributaries. 

HB 2929: Authorizes WRD to seek injunctive relief if person has engaged, or is about to engage, in activity that is or will be in violation of certain water laws.

HB 2590: Requires DEQ to study both requirements related to subsurface and alternative sewage disposal systems that create barriers to siting and construction of accessory dwelling units in areas outside urban growth boundary and solutions to eliminate barriers. 

HB 2988: Establishes Community Benefiting Water Infrastructure Investment Program. 

HB 3002: Requires LPRO to study water service rates and rate schedules. LWVOR is interested in this bill.


We all need to pay attention to the potential for harmful algal blooms. A news release explains the signs you should note. “When in doubt, stay out.” Visit the Harmful Algae Bloom website or call the Oregon Public Health Division toll-free information line at 877-290-6767 to learn if an advisory has been issued or lifted for a specific water body. 


We have an on-going drought throughout Oregon and League members may want to check the U.S. Drought Monitor, a map that is updated every Thursday. Oregonians need to celebrate the early snowfall and the rain these past weeks. But we must hope that the snow stays on until well into May or June. 


WILDFIRE

The Wildfire Programs Advisory Council was scheduled to meet Jan. 20. 



VOLUNTEERS NEEDED


Above you can see the names of League volunteers who covered one or more issues. Volunteers are needed. What is your passion related to Natural Resources? You can help. If not actually serving on a rules advisory committee (RAC), you could simply monitor and report back on their work. The 2023 legislative session is at hand with over 2,000 bills already filed. Help! 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. 


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