Friday, March 29, 2013

Legislative Update - HB 2530 Genetically Modified Salmon and more...

As reported from Tom Wolf, Oregon State Council:
HB 2530 - which would ban genetically modified and Atlantic salmon from Oregon waters - for commercial purposes - had a hearing on Thursday [3/21] in House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. TU had met with committee chair, Rep. Witt and was positive for an open and equal hearing. Jack Williams, TU Senior Scientist, traveled up from Medford as our expert for the bill. TU was hopeful there was a strong chance of passing this bill.....
Sometimes the political machine does not always work so smoothly.
First, the bill was included in the same public hearing time with 3 genetically modified labeling bills - this was unfortunate as it diminished the importance and time allotted to 2530. Then , after giving the bill's sponsors, Reps, Holvey and Boone about 20 minutes to introduce the bill, two speakers from the opposition side, a geneticist and lawyer, were allowed 1 hour and 20 minutes to present their cases - that left TU rep and expert, Jack Williams, with 2 minutes to make his presentation. Furthermore, most people did not get to testify at all. The public hearing was carried over but it appears certain this bill will not be rescheduled and it will die.
Rep. Witt did not deliberately try to kill this bill - the meeting suffered from very poor time management.
On a bright side, Rep. Holvey, the sponsor of this bill, is taking the same concept and repackaging it in another bill that will be submitted to another committee, House Rules. Hopefully the concept, which is a good one, will do better there.
Many thanks to Jack Williams for his time and efforts on this - it is regretful the timing was so unequal.

Contact Representative Paul Holvey for his continued efforts. 

HB3437: would require that all ODFW Commissioners buy a fishing, hunting, shellfish or commercial fishing license for the 10 years preceding appointment to the Commission. Though the Oregon Council is currently opposing this bill as introduced, the council hopes to be involved in discussions which will provide a solution to other's concerns on makeup of ODFW Commission and has contacted the proposing outdoor groups.

SB 715: on March 14 the Senate Rural Communities and Economic Development Committee will have a hearing on SB 715 requiring the Oregon Department of Forestry to harvest Douglas fir trees infected with swiss needlecast disease. TU opposes this legislation:1) natural resource agencies and their boards/commissions should make the decisions on their natural resource issues within their purview, not legislators. 2) The boards have a process that utilizes stakeholders and public involvement and that should be used, rather than a legislative process. 3) The Board of Forestry/ODF already has a plan to deal with swiss needlecast disease and are implementing it now.

Suction Dredge Mining: the California Water Quality Commission has released their FINDINGS on this style of mining and recommends the current moratorium stay in place in that state. The Oregon Legislation [SB401] is still in discussion but further buoyed by the CA commission findings. Tom Wolf, Oregon Council promises more to come.

For additional Legislative news - check out the LEGISLATIVE page on the TVU blog.