OREGON HOUSE REPUBLICANS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Nick Smith
February 14, 2012
TIMBER, WATER JOBS BILLS MOVE FORWARD
SALEM—House Republicans today worked to advance two bipartisan bills to create jobs by enhancing Oregon’s water resources and putting Oregonians back to work in state forests. The two measures were forwarded by their respective natural resources committees and will receive further consideration this session.
Rep. Andy Olson (R-Albany) testified to the House Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee on HB 4098 to increase sustainable harvesting in state forests. The bill was unanimously approved by the committee and sent to the Joint Ways and Means Committee for further consideration.
Under current law, the state only permits harvests on less than 70 percent of what’s allowable under the Forest Practices Act. By directing the state to increase harvest levels on state forests to 85 percent of harvestable timber, Rep. Olson says HB 4098 can create jobs and generate new revenue for cash-strapped local governments.
“Oregon’s most abundant resource, timber, is being underutilized and this lack of productivity has hurt Oregon’s economy and our rural communities,” Rep. Olson said. “This solution would provide a reliable supply of timber and create real living wage jobs in communities across the state. It will also increase the tax revenue for counties and cities, and help support funding for education.”
Rep. Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) testified to the House Energy, Environment and Water Committee on HB 4101 to promote storage of Columbia River Basin winter flows. Without recommendation, the committee directed the bill to the House Rules Committee for further consideration this session.
Through an amendment to HB 4101, Rep. McLane’s bill will promote the development of new statewide storage supplies from winter flows, including a minimum of 100,000 acre-feet of water from the Columbia River for agricultural uses by 2018.
Over the past 20 years Washington State has developed 48,000 acres of irrigated farmland while Oregon has developed just 10,500 acres. By increasing Oregon’s utilization of Columbia River winter water flows, Rep. McLane says the state can boost the state’s agricultural industry, create new direct food and farm processing jobs, and support Eastern Oregon’s economy.
“By storing water during winter flows, Oregon can sustainably increase the amount of acreage used for agricultural production, while maintaining sufficient flows in the Columbia River,” Rep. McLane said. “This increase in agricultural production will result in new jobs and economic activity for our citizens.”
Leveraging Oregon’s abundant water resources and putting Oregonians back to work in state forests are part of the House Republicans’ ‘50,000 Jobs in Five Years’ agenda.