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Fri Jun 30, 2017, 10:49 PM

Draining Oregon: Water bills dry up in Legislature

In April, a bipartisan group of Oregon lawmakers praised a bill which set aside $8.2 million from the general fund to speed up and expand the state's ability to study its underground water supply.

Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, said at the time that House Bill 2707 was "something that should have been done years ago." It passed out of the House Energy and Environment Committee and on to budget writers in Salem.

But as the legislature races to a close, that bill and two others designed to further Oregon's understanding of its underground reservoirs one that requires farmers and ranchers to measure their water use, and another that charges those users an annual fee to raise revenue for the state agency tasked with overseeing water issues -- are unlikely to pass.

"There's not a lot of air left in the room to talk about natural resources budget," said Rep. Ken Helm, D-Beaverton, who introduced the three measures.

Read more: http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2017/06/draining_oregon_water_bills_dr_1.html

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