HB 4101: Serious Issue, Bad Bill
|The Columbia River Gorge looking upstream towards Crown Point. by Eric Guinther|
Oregon recently avoided legislative disaster when House Bill 4101was sent to the Rules Committee, where it currently lives. And hopefully, it stays there because HB 4101 is nothing but all sorts of bad news for salmon. While the bill addresses a very serious issue that deserves attention, it does so in a way that is unscientific, inequitable, premature, and frankly, unnecessary.
We outlined our arguments against HB 4101 in an official letter submitted last week. Here are some excerpted highlights:
Our coalition of more than 50 organizations and 4 million members and supporters nationwide believes this bill, as written, will harm our efforts to protect and restore salmon and the family-wage jobs they support in the Columbia-Snake River Basin.
The question of how best to address water resource issues in a changing climate is a serious matter and deserves serious attention. We applaud the Oregon Legislature and the Governor’s office for looking ahead on this matter and seeking solutions to the challenge of meeting Oregon’s water needs. We are concerned that HB 4101, however, does not do justice to this complex issue, and may set up a dynamic that risks pitting interests against each other instead of finding ways to work together to solve our collective water issues. […]
The questions surrounding our state’s invaluable water resources are complex and they must be addressed carefully, thoughtfully, and rationally. Indeed, we need to get ahead of these issues and manage them proactively. However, HB 4101 misses the mark for achieving the shared goal of smart, science-based, forward-looking water resource management that protects Oregon’s greatest assets.