|New course for water ideas||| Print ||
|Articles - Jan/Feb 2012|
By Robin Doussard
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.”
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Oregon Business magazine's 5th annual
100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
From Oregon Translational Research and Development Institute: OTRADI today announced its plans to open and operate a 13,000 square-foot multi-tenant bioscience complex in the Willamette Wharf building at 4640 SW Macadam Avenue. Slated to be complete in spring 2013, the OTRADI Bioscience Incubator (OBI) will house up to six companies.
MEDIAmerica, publisher of Oregon Business and Oregon Home magazines, announces a new retail website: HalfOffOregon.com. The website offers lodging, dining, recreation and many other items at half off their regular cost.
As you probably know by now, The Vernon Company is a national leader in the promotional products industry with annual sales of over $60 million. We are a family owned business, led by the fourth generation of the Vernon family.