Friday, February 15, 2013

TU in Salem - 2013 Legislature

 Salem is in swing for 2013!!
Tom Wolf, the Oregon Council Chair, met with TVTU at the recent chapter meeting and had some news to share on bills in consideration in Salem this year - items that may be of concern to TU members.
Look for additional information in the upcoming newsletter and from the TU State Council but a quick recap of priority bills follows. How can you be involved? Stay informed, inform others and share your positions with your elected leaders! [ How do I find my representatives? ]

Oregon Council Trout Unlimited recognized legislative priorities for 2013 as follows:

Senate Bill[SB] 115: identified as our no. 1 priority, would ban suction dredge mining across the state. TU sees this ban bill as a priority to protecting our Oregon waterways from the significant ecological disturbance created by the suctioning process.

SB 401, is similar to 115 but is limited in its scope by identifying 685 miles of Oregon Scenic waterway protections on specific streams and parts of streams in Oregon; a majority being in SW Oregon. Although important, this leaves many other significant and sensitive streams throughout the state open to SDM mining. As an alternative bill TU will also support SB 401.
House Bill [HB]2396 adds 'large woody debris' to the definition of materials for the purposes of removal-fill provision currently in the bill. Previously not included in the original bill the removal of LWD is shown to adversely affect habitat and structure in streams. Emergency conditions and situations which may cause property or livestock damage remain as a landowner protection. This makes it a very important bill for TU to assist in passing.
Additional bills which the Oregon Council is monitoring and supporting:

HB 2530: prohibit genetically modified Salmon from being introduced into the state.

SB 217/HB 2259: assesses a fee to landowners who maintain water rights in the State; fees would be used by the Water Resources Department for funding water use monitoring, key water conservation positions [water masters], and scientific study.

HB 2401: would stop various activities from happening in streambeds which are detrimental to salmon habitat. You have seen it on Youtube - now provide an enforcement venue to prevent it in Salem!

Natural Resource agencies budgets: making sure all the agencies that deal with salmon or habitat issues have sufficient funding to carry out their duties and lead to recovery of wild salmonid populations in the state.
If you want to learn more or have questions about how you can become active in the legislative process please contact the State Council through Tom [ ] or . Also look to TVTU to have information on letters or supporting information that can be sent to your representatives.