Capitol Update: Death Tax, Special Session, Air Quality Laws

Oregon Cattlemen Association
2010 Issue Brief

1.    Air Quality – Rule making and legislation

•    DEQ GHG Rule making for 2009 HB 2186:  This rulemaking by DEQ is in process and those of us who opposed this legislation during the 09 Session are following the progress.  OCA invited Andy from DEQ to participate in the Climate Change committee discussion but he could not attend.
•    EPA CO2 pollutant designation:  The result of this designation will require very close scrutiny, on our part, of the rule making and possible legislation which will assuredly evolve in 2010.
•    EPA Rule development on dust management:  The proposal if adopted will regulate larger dust particulate and have a detrimental affect on agriculture.  We expect to respond to this as well is NCBA and all other agriculture interests.

2.    Water Quality – Possible legislation and rule making
•    The OEQC Non-point pollution witch hunt will very possibly establish new toxic standards for water ways which will affect 1010 water quality program for agriculture and agriculture fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.  I attended the December OEQC meeting in Portland to provide comments and a request to involve more agriculture interests in their deliberations.

3.    Water Quantity – Rule making
•    OWRD – Integrated Water Resources Plan:    The natural resource interests along with many others are following these developments.
•    HB 3369 – Peak and Ecological Flows:  This rule making is in response to HB 3369 which included the need to control stream flows for purposes of peak (determining whether or not a stream at certain times of year is flowing at peak to protect fish, agriculture, recreation, and municipalities) and ecological purposes that are yet to be determined and calculated (our minds can only imagine!).

4.    Animal Welfare – Legislation possibly?
•    Animal care standards (California, Ohio, or Oregon approach): The December meeting on this subject consisted of a report from Ohio on their approach which resulted in an initiative passed by the voters of the state.  I expect the next meeting will get into the questions of what approach, if any, will be best for Oregon.

5.    2010 February Legislative Session
•    Revenue and Expenditure readjustments if BM 66 and 67 are defeated
•    Navigability Legislation – Legislation to allow access to beds and banks on non-navigable waterways for recreation purposes.  This will, as always, be a big property rights issue.
•    Exempt Well Legislation – Domestic well exemptions will be under attack with proposed legislation to revise the 15,000 gal. per day allowance to 1500 gal. per day.  The agriculture stock watering allowance will not be a part of this legislation at this point in time.  The problem with this legislation starts with the assumption that this change will make a difference for future water table levels and stop the overuse of water on the large estates where the ½ acre irrigation maximum is exceeded (data shows this is not a big problem statewide).

6.    Inheritance Tax Fix – Legislation?
•    The natural resource coalition advocating for this issue will meet possibly before the February Legislative Session.  At this time the coalition, working on a fix to the original legislation from 2007, is very discouraged by the lack of support from Legislative leadership and the Department of Revenue.

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