Hearing on Safe Waters Act of 2019 (HB 2656)
House Committee on Energy and Environment
March 12, 2019, 1:00pm
Hearing Room HR D
Portlanders are rightly proud of their water supply, which produces some of the cleanest drinking water in the United States. It’s also one of the most protected watersheds in the country. The protections in place for the Bull Run ensure it will remain clean and plentiful, protected from the effects of climate change for generations of Portlanders to come. Unfortunately, many Oregonians, especially those living in rural coastal communities, don’t enjoy such protection for their drinking water. Their water comes from watersheds that are heavily logged, roaded, and sprayed with harmful chemicals. These activities degrade water supplies with sediment, chemical and thermal pollution, elevating the risk of forest fire, flooding, landslides and toxic algae blooms. Climate change will make things worse.
Why does this inequity exist? Because Wall Street-owned timber companies pay big money to make sure the Oregon Forest Practices Act (OFPA) stays just like it is - the weakest forest practices law on the west coast (Read the full Oregonian story here).
All Oregonians deserve the right to clean drinking water, resilient to the effects of climate change, not just Portlanders!
Please come help pass the Safe Waters Act and ensure a clean water future for Oregonians!
The House Committee on Energy and Environment has scheduled a hearing on the Safe Waters Act (HB 2656) for March 12 at 1pm, a bill that Pacific Rivers and Center for Sustainable Economy crafted to require timberland owners to manage their forestlands in a manner that will help produce clean drinking water for communities downstream.
The bill targets the forest management activities in Drinking Water Source Areas that impact drinking water: clearcut logging, roads, and the use of toxic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.
The Safe Waters Act will prohibit clearcut logging, with exceptions for ecological forestry or forest carbon storage projects. It will prohibit the application of pesticides and herbicides, keeping these harmful substances out of the water our kids drink.
The Safe Waters Act: Less Treatment = Lower Cost and Cleaner, Healthier Water!
Forest roads winding through industrial tree plantations are the leading source of sediment pollution in streams. Clearcut logging on steep slopes are prone to erode, especially during heavy winter rains. When streams that supply drinking water run like chocolate milk, treatment plants must increase their use of chemicals to clean the water and make it safe to drink. But using more chlorine can actually make water unsafe to drink because cancer causing chemicals are formed when chlorine comes into contact with dirty water. In fact, the drinking water of some Oregon communities routinely exceeds safe levels and residents must use bottled water.
The Safe Waters Act will require timberland owners to identify and fix or remove problem roads. Eliminating clearcuts on erodible soils will minimize the risk of landslides. Together, these measures will reduce sediment pollution, decreasing the need for chemicals, lowering the cost of treatment, and reducing the need for communities to fund costly upgrades of their treatment plants. The end result will be cleaner, healthier and less expensive water!
The Safe Waters Act is good for Fish and Wildlife too!
The type of changes needed to protect drinking water will not only help people, they will help struggling fish and wildlife populations too, which need more natural forest cover (as opposed to tree plantations) to provide the habitats they need to thrive in a changing climate.
The Safe Waters Act restores the balance between profits and protection
Over half of the private timberlands in Oregon are owned by huge multinational companies that enjoy some of the lowest tax rates and weakest conservation requirements on the West Coast. The type of changes envisioned by the Safe Waters Act will allow the timber industry to remain profitable while protecting our most precious life-source: clean water.
HB 2656: Oregon Safe Waters Act of 2019
What the Safe Waters Act does:
We hope you'll join us next Tuesday in Salem to tell the House Committee on Energy and Environment to protect all Oregonians' water from these harmful practices.
What: Hearing on Safe Waters Act of 2019 (HB 2656)
Who: House Committee on Energy and Environment
When: March 12, 2019, 1:00pm
Where: Hearing Room D (Map)
RSVP HERE if you can make it!