Cattlemen oppose River Democracy Act

By Tom Sharp, President
Oregon Cattlemen Association,


Letter to: Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources Sub Committee on National Parks

Oregon Cattlemen’s Association Opposes S. 192 River Democracy Act, amending the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act

The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association respectfully offers this letter in opposition to S. 192 River Democracy Act amending the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act for the following reasons:

  • The River Democracy Act was introduced and forwarded without meaningful input from public interest groups, local governmental bodies, landowners, or other affected
  • The Act’s designation process represents a marked departure from the process contemplated in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968 (Public Law 90-542).
  • The Act appears to incorporate and/or implicate river segments outside the State of Oregon’s
  • Many rivers or river segments designated in the Act are already federally protected and/or do not meet the definition of “river” as defined in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 19
  • The Act violates the spirit of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 19
  • In the Act’s current form, the benefits from managing or reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire and enhancing public safety are
  • Livestock grazing is not recognized in the Act as a legitimate fuels reduction management
  • The Act, without significant private sector input, proposes to increase by as much as 300% the miles of rivers in Oregon designated for exclusionary
  • Efforts to protect grazing interests in past wild and scenic designations have failed, despite related legislative intent, and we are concerned that this Act will not adequately protect those
  • Of the Act’s proposed $30 million annual budget, $5 million is designated for municipal watershed projects, yet $25 million is left with no clear


For all of the above-mentioned reasons, the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association opposes the River Democracy Act as drafted and respectfully requests the Act’s authors collaborate with OCA and other interested agriculture and natural resource entities in Oregon to address these and other significant portions of the proposal that were written without clear input from affected public and private parties.

The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association further recommends the Sub Committee take no action at this time to allow the authors of this legislation to address the concerns mentioned herein.


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