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Is Oregon’s Water Policy Headed Down the Drain?

December 31, 2009 --

by Karla Kay Edwards
Cascade Policy Institute,

Water is the lifeblood of the Oregon economy. Whether it’s the water that turns the turbines to generate clean and cheap energy, acts as the essential nutrient for agricultural commodities, or provides a multitude of recreational opportunities and environmental essentials, water is needed for every aspect of our lives and economy. Yet, Oregon continues to pass bills like HB 3369, which allowed one storage project to move forward while creating huge hurdles for any new proposed projects to clear. This can lead to the stifling of opportunities to store water at favorable times and create efficiencies within various water uses.

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EPA issues Endangerment and Cause-or-Contribute findings

December 30, 2009 --

by Dennis Westlind
Stoel Rives LLP, Attorneys at Law

The EPA announced its long awaited “endangerment” and “cause or contribute” findings in relation to six key greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. While technically this announcement is of limited significance (applying only to motor vehicle emissions), the policy import of these determinations is tremendous.

In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court held that greenhouse gases are air pollutants covered by the Clean Air Act in the Massachusetts v. EPA decision. This case arose in relation to EPA’s choice not to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from new motor vehicles. The Court held that EPA must determine whether or not emissions of greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles cause or contribute to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare, or whether the science is too uncertain to make a reasoned decision.

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Video: 60 Minutes covers California Water War

Congress pushes key Ag issues into 2010

December 28, 2009 --

Congress Pushes to the Finish, Pushes Off Some Key Issues
National Association of Wheat Growers

One Chamber of Congress rushed to get home last week, ultimately leaving a number of major issues undone and tough choices for the new legislative session next year.

Surprising many, the House adjourned Wednesday without addressing the estate tax, which is set to expire completely in 2010 and return at higher rates in 2011. NAWG and other agricultural groups have been working to pressure Congress to undertake estate tax reform that instills predictability into the system and takes into account the unique circumstances of family farming operations.

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Farm Bureau on Fox News over Clean Water Restoration Act

December 27, 2009 --

AFBF speaks on Fox News re: Clean Water Restoration Act
American Farm Bureau Federation,
Support local Oregon farm Bureau here

How passage of the Clean Water Restoration Act would affect farmers and ranchers was the subject of a Fox News broadcast story on Sunday. Don Parrish, water expert with the American Farm Bureau Federation, appeared live on a segment about the issue.

Parrish explained that removing the word “navigable” from the Clean Water Act would harm America’s food producers by allowing federal regulation of all interstate and intrastate waters, including puddles, ditches and farm ponds. If the bill becomes law, farmers and ranchers would likely be forced to apply for expensive permits, Parrish said.  Jump to AFBF’s Don Parrish’s interview in story (video):

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ODFW finds popular salmon bait cure harmful to fish

December 26, 2009 --

Tests show some cured eggs killed juvenile salmon and steelhead
By Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife,

SALEM, Ore. – A recent study by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife confirms some commercially-available cured fish eggs – a popular salmon and steelhead bait – are harmful to juvenile salmon and steelhead. ODFW released the results of its study today. ODFW and Oregon State University scientists tested a random sample of commercially-available cured eggs and found that some juvenile fish died after ingesting some brands. Specific mortality levels varied among products and ranged from 0 to 30 percent.

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Merry Christmas from the farm

Oregon Representative Jean Cowan calls NOAA threats an abuse of power

December 24, 2009 --

Oregon State Representative Jean Cowan calls Senator Maria Cantwell’s threats for hearings an “abuse of power,” comments “disrespectful”
Release by
Oregon State Representative Jean Cowan,

NEWPORT – State Rep. Jean Cowan (D-Newport) responded to a press release from Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) today, calling Cantwell’s comments “disrespectful” towards Newport, Ore. and that her threat to hold Congressional hearings on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) would be an “abuse of power.”

“Relocating NOAA’s Marine Operations Center-Pacific (MOC-P) has been a very open and transparent process – one that the Port of Newport competed in fairly and presented the best, most cost effective overall package that makes sense,” said Cowan. “Senator Cantwell is improperly using her committee chairmanship to try and change a decision that directly impacts her state. This conflict of interest is the type of politics that Americans are tired of.”

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Oregon still among national leaders in irrigation usage

December 23, 2009 --

By Oregon Department of Agriculture,

The perception and reality that Oregon is generally a wet and soggy state seems at odds with the fact that the state’s agriculture relies heavily on irrigation. But the results of a national farm and ranch irrigation survey confirm that Oregon is one of the top users in the US of irrigation for agricultural production. The amount of irrigated acreage has actually gone up the past five years in Oregon even though the number of farms using irrigation has gone down.

“Oregon is a wet state seasonally, but we live in a maritime climate which generally brings drier summers during our growing season and the need for irrigation,” says Jim Johnson, land use and water planning coordinator for the Oregon Department of Agriculture. “When you look at the value of the portion of Oregon agriculture that relies on irrigation in terms of the percentage of total production, it has an even greater importance.”

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Video: Bob Terry named Agriculturalist of 2009

December 22, 2009 --

Award video highlighting Bob Terry of Fisher Farms as the 2009 Agriculturist of the Year as honored by the Agri-Business Council of Oregon

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