A bill in the Oregon Legislature to extend the ban on offshore exploration for oil and gas in Oregon’s territorial waters has passed both Houses and is on the way to Governor Kulongoski’s desk! Thanks to the leadership of House Environment and Water Committee Chair Ben Cannon, and Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee Chair Jackie Dingfelder, HB 3613 would extend the recently expired ban for another 10 years. The bill passed the House 38-21 and the Senate 22-8 and Governor Kulongoski is expected to sign the bill.
In other news, a bill to fast-track LNG pipelines (SB 1020) is dead. After working hard to kill this legislation in the 2009 session, we were glad to see the Oregon Senate decline to take up this controversial topic during the short February session. SB 1020 would have allowed out-of-state companies seeking to build hundreds of miles of LNG pipelines across dozens of Oregon rivers and streams to seek state-issued wetland-fill permits on family farms and forests across Oregon without landowner consent. This obscure change in law has been sought since 2007 by NorthernStar Natural Gas, the Houston company behind the Bradwood Landing LNG terminal and Palomar pipeline schemes, as part of a strategy to steamroll over state rules meant to protect landowners and the environment. Please contact Senate leadership and thank them for helping stop this ill-advised legislation from rushing forward during the short February session.
Finally, Sybil Ackerman was confirmed by the Oregon Senate on February 5 to serve on the Oregon Board of Forestry. A former staff member for organizations such as the Sierra Club, Portland Audubon Society, and OLCV, Sybil will bring a thoughtful conservation voice to this Board, which oversees 780,000 acres of state owned land like the Tillamook, Clatsop, and Santiam state forests. We congratulate Sybil and we’re confident she will work hard to help create positive solutions for complex forest, fish and wildlife issues and advocate for good science to drive state lands management. Click here to read the ODF press release.
As of February 22, the Legislature was just days away from adjourning. It looks like 2010 will go down as a positive session for the environment! Thanks for all your support.