My Official Testimony on Oregon House Bill (HB) 2564

 

February 20, 2007

 

Oregon House Bill 2564, being heard February 21, 2007, at three o'clock PM in Salem, Oregon, in Hearing Room HR C by the House Committee on Energy and the Environment, is of boundless concern to me. There is no authority for such a piece of legislation, no expressed need and no economic benefit to the people of Oregon. In fact, the people of Oregon are put directly in the cross hairs of considerable detrimental economic harm.

This piece of legislation would require installing and maintaining water measuring devices on all municipal, industrial, agricultural, and domestic uses of the "water resources of the state." Insertion of the word "resources" does not lessen the severity of this bill's power to hurt. "...mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows..." are not "water," but land!

Property appraisers and tax assessors do not determine the value of these segments of real property as "water," but as land!

Property owners, under the terms of Oregon House Bill 2564, are arbitrarily condemned by the definition of "waters of the state" are thereby forced to install, and maintain, "measuring devices" for "water use," even though the "water" is in the form of a "mudflat," "sandflat," etc.

Oregon House Bill 2564's bill wording, including, but not limited to: "Declares emergency, effective on passage" should raise a raft of Red Flags in its onerous implications particularly after careful consideration of the definitions involved.

 As a property rights and resource providing researcher, the importance of definitions cannot be overstated. Please consider these two:

Waters of the state - Any ground or surface water, including saline water, within the boundaries of the state. - Trinity River Total Maximum Daily Load for Sediment, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region IX, December 20, 2001. http://www.epa.gov/region9/water/tmdl/trinity/finaltrinitytmdl.pdf (Page 76 of 81 pages; 320 KB)

Waters of the United States - Waters used for navigation and all other waters such as lakes, streams (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes or natural ponds, and their tributaries. - Appendix H (Biological Assessment and Evaluation for Revised Land and Resource Management Plans and Associated Oil and Gas Leasing Decisions) http://www.fs.fed.us/ngp/final/pdf_feis/Appendix_H.pdf

It is expressly this importance that makes such legislation stand out as Draconian, an apparent deliberate attempt to gain control over not only water -- in the form of "measuring devices" -- but also land, as defined by both the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S.D.A. Forest Service (see definitions below) as "waters of the state." The Forest Service definition proves that a vast amount of land would fall under such "measuring devices" by the very definition of "waters of the United States:" " Waters used for navigation and all other waters such as lakes, streams (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes or natural ponds, and their tributaries."

With the decimation of Oregon's timber, commercial and recreational/sport fishing and irrigated agriculture from such federal legislation as the "Endangered Species Act," Oregon House Bill 2564 simply adds another banana peel to the slippery slope on which Oregon's economic health and vitality stands.

Passing such a piece of legislation would be the economic equivalent a statewide Biscuit Fire, 9.0 earthquake, F-5 tornado and tsunami -- all rolled into one.

Requiring what amounts to the installation and maintenance of water measuring devices virtually everywhere appears to be more of a total pursuit of the control of property, from state-owned to private.

The people of Oregon are not in need of property (land/water) police, bureaucratic babysitters with "water measuring devices" for every drop, both real, perceived or potential, that Oregon House Bill 2564 would create. Talk about a Frankenstein!

Oregon House Bill 2564 deserves a place with other ignominious pieces of fatally flawed legislation. Please help it join them!

 

Sincerely,
 
 
 
Miss Julie Kay Smithson
 
Property rights / resource provider researcher; founder, Property Rights Research.org. 
 213 Thorn Locust Lane
 London, OH 43140-8844
 propertyrights@earthlink.net
 740-857-1239 (voice / no fax)
 http://www.propertyrightsresearch.org