New course for water ideas

| Print |  Email
Articles - Jan/Feb 2012
Thursday, January 19, 2012

By Robin Doussard

0112_WaterIdeas
A bill heading toward the 2012 session would create a group to study taking more water from the Columbia River.

Water use is an ongoing issue in the state, as farmers, industry, conservationists and governments, particularly in Eastern Oregon, all vie for an increasingly stressed resource. As the 2012 legislative session gets under way Feb. 1, this year is no different. What is different, according to Richard Whitman, the governor’s natural resources policy director, will be collaboration around ways to look at mitigation of new Columbia River withdrawals and new storage projects.

“In the past it has focused on bucket-for-bucket mitigation,” says Whitman. “That policy is not changing right now. But instead of putting water back into the system, let’s look at key limiting factors … we’re trying to change the discussion to think more broadly.” He points to Washington State, which has done more to develop its existing water rights than Oregon and has been more aggressive about funding storage projects. Whitman says involving Washington will be key because of that and the interdependency of the two states.

In addition, Rep. Mike McLane (R-Medford) will introduce a bill to create a Columbia River task force that would make a plan for the new allocation of 450,000 acre-feet from surface or storage sources with the ambitious goal of benefiting agriculture, industry, endangered species, municipalities and conservation efforts. That plan would be presented to the 2013 legislative session.

Trying to claim more water from the Columbia has long been controversial because of endangered fish species, tribal water rights, hydropower needs and the myriad local, state and federal agencies involved. In 2007, the so-called “Oasis” bill pushed by Eastern farmers, utilities and businesses aggressively sought more Columbia water during restricted summer months. Then-Gov. Ted Kulongoski threatened to veto it if it made it to his desk. It failed in the Senate. Whitman says Gov. John Kitzhaber wants a collaborative effort and this bill sets that in motion. He says the governor is talking with a number of legislators from Eastern Oregon about these issues.

“We need jobs, we need fish habitat, we need aquifer recharge,” says McLane. “One thing for sure is that it’s time to stop arguing.”

 

More Articles

An uncertain future

Guest Blog
Thursday, May 21, 2015
norristhumbBY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER

Uncertainty is a part of doing business, whether in through the lens of investment opportunities and risks or the business of running an enterprise.


Read more...

Biker dreams

The Latest
Friday, May 15, 2015
bike at ater wynn-thumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is seeking input from businesses on a $5.5 million initiative to create a network of biking, transit and pedestrian trails within Portland’s central city.


Read more...

100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

As momentum grows at the state level to introduce far-reaching environmental regulations, such as carbon pricing and the Clean Fuels Program, Oregon employers continue to go the extra mile to create green workplaces for their employees.


Read more...

Change at the pump?

The Latest
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
001thumbBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

New Jersey and Oregon are the only two states in the U.S. that ban self serve gas stations. But these two holdouts may be ready to give up the game. New Jersey is considering legislation that would lift the state's ban on pumping your own gas. Oregon is considering smaller scale changes.


Read more...

Department of Self-Promotion

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 17, 2015

061715-awards1Oregon Business wins journalism awards.


Read more...

Photo Log: The 2015 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon

The Latest
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
greenthumbPHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Oregon Business celebrated the 100 Best Green Workplaces with an awards luncheon yesterday at the Nines Hotel in downtown Portland.


Read more...

Oregon needs a Grand Bargain energy plan

Linda Baker
Monday, June 22, 2015
0622-gastaxblogthumbBY LINDA BAKER

The Clean Fuels/gas tax trade off will go down in history as another disjointed, on-again off-again approach to city and state lawmaking.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS