Energy, Environment and Land Use bills continued to wind their way through the legislative process. There were also several conversations regarding funding for Sage Grouse funding.
AOC has been actively working with other stakeholders to ensure the SageCon Partnership’s efforts continue to thrive. AOC believes the partnership developed a balance between the needs of the residents of our Eastern Oregon Counties and the needs of the sage grouse. AOC has been working to encourage further funding to implement the state’s Sage Grouse Action Plan. This has included funding for the ongoing efforts of Oregon Consensus and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) for their Sage Grouse Mitigation Project, Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) to advance the local capacity of Rangeland Fire Protection Associations (RFPAs) work to control wildfires on rangelands that support sage grouse, and for Oregon Department of Agriculture’s (ODA) Noxious Weed Program.
SECURE MEDICINE TAKEBACK
House Bill (HB) 2645A, the secure medicine take-back bill is awaiting a hearing in a Ways and Means Subcommittee. AOC has recently found out that opponents to the bill have been working very hard to convince Senate leadership that there are not sufficient votes to warrant a subcommittee hearing. AOC staff encourages counties to reach out to their legislators to voice support for the bill. If passed the bill will provide residents a safe, convenient method of disposal for unused medicines. Kiosks would be established at pharmacies so that a person could return medications at the same time as they pick up new ones. Kiosk placement, transportation and disposal of unused medications would be coordinated by the manufactures of prescription medicines. Safe disposal is a recognized tool in reducing access to prescription medications and contributes to a reduction in medications disposed through flushing.
Senate Bill (SB) 634 states that energy from a biomass facility can be used to meet the state’s 1.5 percent investment in renewable energy requirement. The bill is still one of only three bills passed out of the senate that have not been scheduled for a public hearing. AOC continues to work on getting a hearing in the House Energy and Environment Committee. One effort has involved putting sideboards on the technologies that can be used in these small or community scaled biomass heaters or boilers. AOC will continue to pressure the committee to give this bill a hearing.
Contributed by: Mark Nystrom | AOC Energy, Environment & Land Use Policy Manager