Legislative Report - Week of 2/27
The League is watching major housing bills as they move forward. We will be interested in the rebalance of the 2021-23 budget this week as well. Will there be funding for the Governor’s housing emergency and for semiconductor manufacturing? The next important session date is March 17 when policy bills will need to be scheduled for a Work Session or they are dead for the session.
The Oregon Dept. of Energy (ODOE) budget (HB 5016) was heard on Feb. 21-22. Here is the agency presentation. Public testimony was allowed on Mar. 2 due to snow closure on Feb. 23rd. The Oregon Marine Board budget (SB 5521) agency presentation and public hearing was on Feb. 27. The League provided testimony in support. The Oregon Dept. of Forestry (ODF) budget (HB 5020) was heard Feb. 28 & Mar. 1 & 2, with public testimony on March 2. Here is the ODF agency presentation. See the POPs on Page 72. The League will provide testimony requesting that the climate change budget requests that were not included in the Governor’s budget be added back to this budget.
The Land Use Board of Appeals agency presentation and public testimony is Mar. 6. The Dept. of State Lands budget (HB 5037 ) is Mar. 7-9 with public testimony on 9. DSL one-pager. The Columbia Gorge Commission budget will be heard March 13—both agency presentation and public testimony. The Oregon Dept. of Agriculture (ODA) budget (HB 5002 and HB 5003 ) is tentatively scheduled for March 14-16. Oregon Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) budget (SB 5509) week of March 20. Dept. of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) (HB 5018 and HB 5019) week of March 27. Here’s the DEQone-pager. Tentative date for the Oregon Water Resources Dept. (OWRD) budget (HB 5043) is early April. Here is their one-pager.
Have you heard of “the kicker”? Here’s an article for you. Kicker amounts won’t be finalized until the 2021-23 budget is closed in Sept.
SB 5543, Bond Authorization, SB 5544, Capital Construction, SB 5545, 2021-23 Allocations Bill and HB 5045, 2021-23 Budget Rebalance were all heard in the Joint Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Capital Construction March 3. Look for a Full Ways and Means Committee meeting this week. At the writing of this report we don’t know if the rebalance bills will include early funding for housing/homeless needs (HB 2001 with the -11 Amendment and HB 5019) and SB 4 semiconductor funding requests. Oregon’s reserves are at $2 billion and those funds are not expected to be used, nor is the $3.9 billion kicker money that is expected to be returned to taxpayers.
By Claudia Keith and Team
See the Climate Emergency section of this Legislative Report. There are overlaps with this Natural Resources Report. We encourage you to read both sections.
By Christine Moffitt
Coastal League members have raised the alarm about a new bill recently filed. HB 3382 would provide certain Ports with an exception from our land use planning system to allow dredging and other activities around these Ports without the current public process and federal consistency requirements. The League has shared our concerns with others.
Columbia River Treaty
By Phillip Thor
The League recently received an update on the negotiations around the U.S. and Canada on the Columbia River Treaty. This included: From 2018 to 2023, the two countries held 15 rounds of negotiations, with the last round of negotiations held on January 25-26, 2023. 27 According to the State Department, the U.S. negotiating position is guided by the U.S. Entity’s Regional Recommendation and includes participation on the negotiating team by the Department of State, BPA, the Corps, the Department of the Interior, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The State Department and the Province of British Columbia have also convened town halls and community meetings to discuss the status of negotiations with the public.
Dept. of Environmental Quality
The League has followed the story of the water quality/nitrate concentrations that for years, have been affecting the health of residents in the Morrow and Umatilla Counties. Leaguers might want to listen to two residents of Boardman on OPB’s Think Out Loud program.
Dept. of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI)
By Peggy Lynch
The League follows the work of this agency and provided testimony in support of SB 220 that would provide a fee to pay for implementation of a new e-permitting system for mining interests instead of using $2 million in General Funds. We also provided testimony in support of SB 221 to provide ongoing funding for this new system and testimony on SB 222 to allow DOGAMI to accept credit cards and to add the credit card fee to the permittees if they choose to use a credit card.
By Peggy Lynch
We are dismayed by the fact that SB 4 includes “supersiting” authority by the Governor for many acres of farmland “just in case” the semiconductor industry might want to build a new facility in Oregon. There are a number of industrial sites in current urban growth boundaries that will be able to accommodate all but the largest facility. For instance, HP, in Corvallis, is looking at expanding—on its current land.
While our housing volunteers follow housing policies, at natural resources, we follow the land use elements of any bills. HB 2001 with the -11 Amendment will include work by the Dept. of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD), including enforcement mechanisms for DLCD—to assure that cities are meeting the targets in the bill. It has been sent to Ways and Means. It is unclear if HB 2001 and HB 5019 will be part of the budget rebalance reported above in this report. A news release issued Feb. 22 announced that HB 5019 will be amended and will be the vehicle for funding the policies in HB 2001-11.
See also the Housing Report in the Social Policy section of this Legislative Report.
By Kathy Moyd
A Work Session will be held March 7 in Senate Energy and Environment on SB 545. A -1 Amendment has been posted for consideration. The bill directs the State Department of Agriculture and Oregon Health Authority to adopt rules allowing consumers to use their own containers for refilling with food at a food establishment. The League provided testimony on the base bill in Support.
DEQ will be holding the fifth Recycling Modernization Act Rulemaking Advisory Committee meeting from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 10. DEQ will be presenting rule concepts related to Confidentiality, Entry of New PROs, Covered Product Estimates, and will be providing a proposal for an implementation transition period. There will also be further discussion related to the practicability benchmark, the responsible end market definition, and specific materials on the materials acceptance list. To attend the meeting please register through this link. To learn more about this rulemaking and the advisory committee, view the rulemaking web page at: Recycling Updates 2023.
By Peggy Lynch
The League has strong positions on water quality and the importance of wetlands. For a number of years, the League has supported an increase in removal/fill fees so it was easy for us to support HB 2238.
Place-based Planning is a concept that the League has supported since its inception in 2014. We participated in the HB 5006 Work Group where members suggested updating that planning program. HB 3163 would create a special Fund for these regional planning efforts. The League testified in support of the Fund. We are working with others on the specific criteria listed for qualifying for access to the Fund.
We were excited to see that Oregon will receive $19 million to address PFAS chemicals in water systems in small and low-income communities. This OPB article helps explain the award.
We have just learned that HB 3207 will be up for a public hearing on March 7 related to domestic well water testing and HB 3208 that would expand the Environmental Quality Commission’s authority to annually adjust additional water quality fees up to 3% per year. The League has participated in a rules advisory committee related to 3% fees for other water quality permits and has been invited to do so again this year.
We all need to pay attention to the potential for harmful algal blooms. “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.
Above you can see the names of League volunteers who covered one or more issues. Volunteers are needed. Please contact Peggy Lynch, Natural Resources Coordinator, at email@example.com.
What is your passion related to Natural Resources? You can help. The 2023 legislative session is almost halfway over. Natural Resource Agency Boards and Commissions meet regularly year round and need monitoring. If any area of natural resources is of interest to you, please contact Peggy Lynch, Natural Resources Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Training will be offered.