The Legislative session began in earnest on Tuesday (Jan 22nd). AOC is tracking about 80 bills in the Natural Resources arena, the bulk of them were pre-session filed. So, there will be more bills added as they are given first reading on the floors of the House and Senate.
Senate Bill (SB) 51 got a public hearing in the Senate Environment & Natural Resources Committee on Thursday (24th). This is a bill put forward by the Water Resources Department to clarify the statute relating to changes in the type of use for stored water. The need for the legislation arose from a legal opinion from the Attorney General that the Water Resources Department (WRD) did not have statutory authority to change the type of use for water stored in reservoirs. WRD has worked extensively with stakeholder groups like farmers, irrigators, etc., on the language of the bill, and some deficiencies in the language have been identified. WRD is working on clarifying and correcting the deficiencies and will have amendments drafted. No action was taken the committee.
The Senate Natural Resources Committee is chaired by Senator Michael Dembrow (D-Portland). Members are Senators Allan Olsen (R-Canby), Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario), Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) and Arnie Roblan (D-Coos Bay).
The House has three committees related to natural resources issues. The House Natural Resources Committee is chaired by Brad Witt (D-Clatskanie). Members are Chris Gorsek (D-Troutdale), Sherrie Sprenger (R-Scio), Greg Barreto (R-Cove), Caddy McKeown (R-Coos Bay), Jeff Reardon (D-Happy Valley) and David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford).
The Agriculture and Land Use Committee is chaired by Rep. Brian Clem (D-Salem). Members are Representatives Susan McLain (D-Hillsboro) and Bill Post (R-Keizer) as Co-Vice Chairs; Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany), Ken Helm (D-Washington County), David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford), and Anna Williams (D-Hood River).
The Energy and Environment Committee is chaired by Rep Ken Helm (D-Washington County). Co-Vice Chairs are Werner Reschke (R-Klamath Falls) and Sheri Schouten (D-Beaverton). Members are Lynn Finley (R-Vale), Andrea Salinas (D-Lk Os