Ore. Water & Forest bill up for vote

Walden-gregBy Oregon Congressman Greg Walden

September House agenda includes two Oregon bills

The U.S. House of Representatives will vote this month on two pieces of legislation championed by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) that would reform federal forest policy and bring more water and power to Crook County for job creation. According to an article in this morning’s Bulletin, “Both of the Oregon-related bills passed the House in 2013, but have not been taken up by the Democrat-controlled Senate.” (read the full article below).

“These bipartisan bills will help grow Oregon’s rural economy, improve forest health, prevent wildfire, and bring more water and power to Central Oregon for job creation. They have both passed the U.S. House previously with strong support, and the House will pass them again to underscore how important these bills are to Oregon. The U.S. Senate should pass them right away to bring much needed jobs to Oregon’s rural communities,” Walden said.

The Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act (H.R. 1526) renews the federal government’s commitment to actively manage federal forests to create jobs in the woods, improve forest health, reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire, and generate revenue for local communities to provide essential local services like schools and law enforcement. The bill also contains the O&C Trust, Conservation and Jobs Act, a plan offered by Walden and Oregon Reps. Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader to deal with Oregon’s unique O&C lands. It passed the House with a bipartisan majority on September 20, 2013, but has not been taken up by the Senate.

The Central Oregon Jobs and Water Security Act (H.R. 2640), introduced by Walden, fixes a boundary line error at Bowman Dam in Crook County, paving the way for construction of a small scale hydropower facility at the base of the dam. It would also provide job-creating water for the city of Prineville to attract additional projects like Facebook and Apple. This bill has passed the House twice unanimously—on July 6, 2012, and October 29, 2013—but the full Senate has not voted on it so far.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced yesterday that these two bills would be included as portions of two jobs packages that the House will vote on this month. These common-sense plans will help create jobs nationwide, strengthen the economy, and lower the cost of gas and groceries.

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