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Legislative Report - Week of 6/26

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By Peggy Lynch, Natural Resources Coordinator, and Team

In spite of the drama, the 2023 legislative session had more success than failure as you will see below. We hope you wait for our Sine Die Report in August—after the Governor has signed the bills—or not, for a more complete report on the bills we worked on and their outcome. HCR 38 was passed and set the process for the February 2024 short session.

Air Quality

LWVOR joined with others in support of HB 3229. The bill would increase federal air quality (Title V) operating permit program fees that have not been increased for 13 years. The bill was amended by the -2 amendment and passed the legislature. It increases fees for polluters who require Title V permits 43% in 2023 and another 40% in 2024. DEQ is to review its permitting methodology and how it charges fees due to complexity instead of the amount of pollution emitted and report to the legislature by Dec. 2023.


By 4:30p on Sunday, June 25, the last of the budget bills had passed both chambers. The end-of-session bill had over $1.4 billion in funding items. Here is the 33-page list, called “ornaments'' as the bill, SB 5506, is also called the Christmas Tree bill. The Oregon Capital Chronicle provided a summary.

Here are a few of the ornaments we are celebrating in Natural Resources (GF means General Fund—our income tax dollars):

  • GF $100,000 Oregon State University Institute of Natural Resources - convene statewide water conference

  • GF: $500,000 University of Oregon Just Futures Institute for equitable water access + Budget Note: “The Higher Education Coordinating Commission, in collaboration with the University of Oregon, shall submit a report on the use of funds related to equitable water access to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means and any committee of the Legislature working on water-related issues during the 2025 legislative session.”

  • GF $10,000,000 Oregon Conservation Corps Fund

  • GF: $250,000 Oregon State University - Oregon Climate Service

  • GF: $1,200,000 Morrow & Umatilla Drought Relief Aquifer Recharge & Aquifer Storage and Recovery Project

  • GF: $1,600,000 Oregon Association of Water Utilities (OAWU) to build the Water System Training Center

  • GF: $2,250,000 Baker County for infrastructure improvement projects (water, sewer, road, broadband)

  • GF: $1,500,000 High Desert Partnership for infrastructure to deliver and spread water in Harney County

  • GF: $2,690,922 Assistance to local governments to adopt climate friendly and equitable communities

  • GF: $309,078 Administration for climate friendly and equitable communities

  • GF: $10,000,000 Wildfire mitigation and response

  • GF: $100,000 Instream water rights contested case hearings (ODFW)

  • GF: $381,097 Oregon mapping program for water and mineral resources (DOGAMI)

  • OF: $18,763,236 Oregon Abandoned and Derelict Vessel Fund (DSL)

  • GF: $100,000 Facilitation of a tribal water work group (WRD)

  • OF: $4,000,000 Grants to water suppliers to protect, restore or enhance sources of drinking water (OWEB)

If there were “ornaments” you don’t support, the Governor has the ability to veto requests by line item. You will need to contact the Governor soon as she only has 30 days to sign or allow bills to become law.

Bonding bills provide money for a large number of infrastructure projects. The June 20 Full W&Ms agenda has a list of the bills. There will be more information in our Sine Die Report. 

The Emergency Board Met right after Sine Die to adopt rules for their work during the interim. 


By Claudia Keith and Team

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

Coastal Issues

By Christine Moffitt/Peggy Lynch 

HB 3382 B, amended to create a new exception to Goal 16 to allow deeper and wider dredging of the Coos Bay channel, is on its way to the Governor. A number of sideboards were placed in the bill should any dredging take place. Only the Port of Coos Bay or recognized Oregon tribes can request the exception. The League is disappointed that the bill passed, but worked hard to assure as many requirements as we could get would be in the bill. We encourage you to read the two-page bill. Of note, a $20 million bonding for the Coos Bay Channel Modification project was included in a bonding bill and an additional $20 million is authorized for the project in the 2025-27 biennium.

The Oregon Ocean Science Trust meeting: July 5, noon-3pDepartment of State Lands, Land Board Room775 Summ​er St NE, Salem, Oregon. OOST membership and agenda This will be in-person and via Zoom and is open to the public. To Join remotely Meeting ID: 851 1191 9008 Join online - click here (Passcode: 4theOcean!) Join by phone: (253) 215-8782 (Passcode: 7641510674)

Dept. of State Lands

HB 2238 A, filed to provide permission for robust rulemaking to increase fees for the removal/fill is on its way to the Governor. We will work with the agency to increase processes for clearly identifying wetlands in urban growth boundaries to be sure lands that should be developed can be and those that can’t should be removed from the buildable lands inventory. 

Drinking Water Advisory Committee

By Sandra Bishop

Next meeting is July 19.  More details to follow in the next Legislative Report.

Elliott State Research Forest

By Peggy Lynch

The prospective ESRF Board tentatively plans to meet July 24 (time and location TBD). Visit DSL's Elliott webpage to learn more.

Land Use/Housing

By Peggy Lynch

HB 3414 B, another of Governor Kotek’s housing bills we shared with you in previous legislative reports, became the last drama of the 2023 session. It did not pass the Senate.

The insistence by the Governor to include a section that would have allowed private property owners to ask a city to add their lands (lands adjacent to current UGBs) for development was a non-starter for LWVOR and other land use advocates. Metro also had concerns that their role in the management of Metro’s UGB would be usurped by the Metro cities. OPB had a good article on the drama. LWVOR appreciates that Senate members rejected the bill, but are also sad that the good portions of the bill were lost by the insistence that the UGB expansion sections be included. We look forward to a quick passage of a slimmed down version, to happen in 2024.

Citizen Involvement Advisory Committee Meeting June 30. The agenda and meeting materials are now available online for this virtual meeting. If you do not have access to a computer, or simply wish to listen in, a telephone option is available: 253.215.8782. The Meeting ID is 882 5699 9000; the meeting passcode is 291363. Join Zoom Meeting

SB 1087, filed on behalf of a farm in Lane County where they wanted to add a “café” (with seating for 250-300 people) on their Exclusive Farm Use (EFU)-zoned property, died in committee.

SB 70 A would allow housing on acreage in Malheur County. It’s on its way to the Governor.

SB 1013 to allow a recreational vehicle to be sited on a rural property, was amended by the -4 amendment and is headed to the Governor as is HB 3442 A, to allow coastal communities to develop in hazard areas under certain conditions.

HB 2983 A, would help with manufactured housing and housing parks did not make it out of Ways and Means. There is money in the Oregon Housing and Community Services budget or other housing bills that should help with this housing issue. 

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

Radioactive Waste

By Shirley Weathers 

The LWVOR submitted RAC member input/comments on Draft rules for the first segment (AKA Part I) of OAR 345-050 rules designed to implement SB 246 (2021) on 6/25/2023. Input was also provided via a phone conversation with Max Woods, Assistant Director for Nuclear Safety and Emergency Preparedness at the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) on June 22. ODOE and Energy Facilities Siting Commission (EFSC) staff had planned to present Part I rules to EFSC at its July meeting, but there has recently been some discussion of delaying until August to address some perceived shortcomings in the current Part I Draft. Whether sooner or later, once EFSC acts, a public comment period on that segment of the proposed rules will open. LWVOR will participate and encourage others with concerns about public health and safety and environmental risks of radioactive waste storage to consider doing so, as well.


Regarding the longer-term process for developing proposed rules for the second, more controversial segment of rules to implement SB 246 (AKA Part II), the Oregon DOJ has completed its consideration of the legality of the alternate proposal by Waste Management and allies among RAC membership presented to the RAC on April 24 and posted on the ODOE Rulemaking page for this RAC. The DOJ found the proposal would violate ORS 469.525 and it will not be adopted. LWVOR wholeheartedly welcomes that decision. Further discussion on Part II rules to finish implementation of SB 246 are expected in the future. LWVOR will participate.



DEQ is proposing rules to clarify and implement the Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernization Act of 2021. More information on this rulemaking, including draft rules, can be found on the Recycling Updates 2023 Rulemaking Page

Recycling Modernization Act Rulemaking Advisory Committee, 9am-12.30pm, July 13To attend the meeting please Register via Zoom

DEQ will hold the first meeting for the second rulemaking (meeting agenda). DEQ will provide an overview of the Act, the rulemaking process, and will present the Commingled Processing Facility Worker Living Wage and Supportive Benefits rule concept. To learn more about this rulemaking and the advisory committee, view the rulemaking web page: Recycling Updates 2024.


By Paula Grisafi

HB 3043 Enrolled, a bill that revises provisions relating to chemicals in children’s products, is on its way to the Governor. 



By Peggy Lynch

Water agency budgets received additional monies for programs, grants and staffing. We also saw a bill (HB 2010) that included a number of bills we supported this session. Here is the Budget Report that shares the many programs and agencies that will benefit from this bill. You might also note the amount of cross-agency cooperation and collaboration expected from this package.


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. 

League members may check the U. S. Drought Monitor, a map that is updated every Thursday. Governor Kotek has signed drought declarations under ORS 536 for the counties of Crook, Jefferson, Grant, Deschutes, Wasco, Harney, Sherman and Lake counties. Jackson County requested a drought declaration, just declared. In addition, many counties in eastern and southern Oregon have received Secretarial Disaster Designations from the US Department of Agriculture due to continuing drought conditions. 



By Carolyn Mayers

Here is a press release on SB 80, one of the important wildfire bills passed this session. $10 million for the Oregon Conservation Corps was included in SB 5506, the end-of session bill. 

Volunteers Needed 

What is your passion related to Natural Resources? You can help. Volunteers are needed. The 2023 legislative session is over, but 2024 is just around the corner. 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 Training will be offered.

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