Why We Voted for HB 3058

By Rep. Chris Garrett and Rep. Tobias Read. Representative Garrett serves Lake Oswego and portions of Southwest Portland in House District 38. Rep. Garrett is the Vice-Chair of the House Land Use Committee. Representative Read serves Beaverton, parts of Portland and unincorporated Washington and Multnomah Counties in House District 27. Rep. Read is the Chair of the House Sustainability and Economic Development Committee.

One of the more contentious bills of the legislative session arrived on the floor of the Oregon House of Representatives on Friday. House Bill 3058 passed on a 35-24 vote. Democrats were closely divided, with 16 voting in support and 19 against. The bill now heads to the Senate.

HB 3058 was strongly opposed by environmental advocates, who labeled it an “LNG fast track” bill. That made this a difficult vote. Both of us are committed environmentalists who have enjoyed the support of environmental organizations in our campaigns. We received emails and letters from many Oregonians who opposed HB 3058 in the belief that it is a “pro-LNG” bill. We take this opportunity to explain our “yes” votes out of respect to people who may be surprised or disappointed by our decision.

HB 3058, on its face, is unrelated to LNG. The bill merely allows a third party (i.e., someone other than the landowner) to apply for a fill/removal permit with the Division of State Lands. Under current law, before anyone other than the owner can apply for such a permit, one must either get the landowner's permission or have the government condemn the property through eminent domain.

This law creates a logistical quandary for large-scale infrastructure projects that involve multiple parcels of land and have complex permitting requirements, such as highways, rail lines, pipelines, and transmission lines. Under current law, a single holdout landowner can stall a project by preventing even the application for a permit. This creates a perverse incentive for developers to condemn property first -- before they know the final route their project will take, or whether it will even be approved. That does not serve anyone’s interests.

HB 3058 will rationalize the process by enabling a developer to submit a request for permits before acquiring or condemning any property. This makes sense because one of the purposes of the permitting process is to refine projects to ensure the least possible impact on the community and environment. This may involve re-routing a project away from property that was initially contemplated for use.

This is the important part: before any construction may begin, the state or developer must acquire the property, have permission from the landowner, or have had the property condemned. The only change HB 3058 makes, in other words, is that a developer does not have to have all the property rights in place before submitting an application. (The bill also contains notice and hearing provisions to ensure that affected landowners have an opportunity to weigh in.)

HB 3058 makes no change whatsoever to the substantive criteria for issuing a permit. That is why we believe that the concerns related to LNG have been exaggerated. HB 3058 will do nothing to authorize or accelerate an LNG pipeline (or any other project) that does not comply with the substantive requirements already existing in law. HB 3058 simply removes an arbitrary procedural barrier. True, an LNG project could benefit from this—but so could projects that environmentalists should be eager to promote, such as high-speed rail lines, and transmission lines from solar fields or wind farms.

Whether LNG facilities belong in Oregon is an important question that should continue to be debated. We both have concerns about the implications of LNG for Oregon’s environment and climate policy objectives. We also believe that it is a mistake to make HB 3058 a proxy for that discussion. By framing the discussion around this bill in terms of whether one is “pro-LNG” or not, opponents conflated a substantive policy issue with a good government issue. HB 3058 is about good process, rational rules, and smart procedures.

Progressives should always be in favor of those.

Comments

  • Gayle Kiser (unverified)
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    One can only wonder how these two gentlemen would feel if it were their land that was the subject of the permits that would be allowed under this travesty of a bill. Read the editorial that follows from the Daily Astorian:

    Pipeline bill is about corporate welfare For two reasons, legislators should say no to NorthernStar’s legislation A jobs bill during a deep recession is an easy sell. But it is disingenuous, perhaps fraudulent, to call House Bill 3058 - the LNG pipeline legislation - a jobs bill. This legislation has much bigger consequences. It is ultimately a corporate bonanza. In the largest sense, the bill is a blatant land grab aimed at any Oregonian who owns land. It would fast-track the pipeline siting process.

    A more correct name for House Bill 3058 would be the NorthernStar and Northwest Natural Corporate Welfare Act of 2009. Organized labor's building trades unions have made this legislation a top priority. While it's true the pipeline bill would create construction jobs, two much larger effects will last long after the jobs have come and gone.

    First long-lasting effect: The pipeline is about a fossil fuel strategy at a time when we should be looking elsewhere. Second long-lasting effect: The pipeline bill runs roughshod over Oregon land owners. Rep. Mitch Greenlick of Portland captured that malfeasance when he said: "The notion that a private company can apply for a permit on my land when they have no call on that land is psychologically offensive." This bill amounts to property taking. Where is Oregonians in Action?

    Organized labor wants House Bill 3058 for its workers, but the bill is really about liquefied natural gas and the Texas high rollers who will get rich off building an LNG terminal and flipping it.

    There are many reasons why Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski and Attorney General John Kroger are highly skeptical of LNG. The LNG terminal siting process of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission process is backwards, which Gov. Kulongoski pointed out last week ("Kulongoski turns flame up on FERC analyses," The Daily Astorian, June 2).

    There is no reason to feel sorry for the principal beneficiaries of labor's bill: Northwest Natural and NorthernStar. Utilities make money in all seasons and all economies. They are recession-proof. The Texans behind NorthernStar are classic players in the game of energy bonanza that periodically comes around in schemes such as Enron's. They have utterly no interest in Oregon's future. We are pawns in their game. And state legislators are their ultimate pawns.

  • Dan (unverified)
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    I strongly disagree with the pro-3058 sentiments expressed by these legislators. It is simply absurd to assert that 3058 improves the public process. To understand why 3058 is a huge setback to Oregonians facing LNG-related gas pipelines, we need to remember that the law changed in 2005 to strip away State control for approving LNG terminals.

    Since 2005, when Oregon lost control over LNG siting, Oregon has witnessed an unprecedented rush for LNG development, a rush that now involves over 600 miles of LNG-related pipelines in Oregon. These are all speculative projects, unlike roads, sewer lines, and other public projects implicated by 3058. 3058 falsely conflates LNG projects with needed, properly vetted public works projects. LNG terminals and their pipelines are not like roads; they are speculative and 3058 helps them to get permits. (Even LNG developers admit that only one project, at most, would ever be built in Oregon.)

    What will happen if 3058 passes:

    • Many Oregonians will immediately discover that their property is being targeted for Oregon Dept. of State Lands permits. LNG companies will seek permits to cross streams and wetlands in farms and forestlands where the private landowners don't want the project. For this reason, 3058 is a pure affront to property rights, granting permits to companies that are purely speculative.
    • Many Oregonians are actually facing two pipelines - not just one. In this case, two speculative LNG projects will seek pipeline permits on the same piece of property, simultaneously.
    • Pipeline companies will have much less incentive to make a reasonable offer to Oregonians whose farms, forests, and other private property are affected. Because they can apply for and obtain permits prior to exercising eminent domain in the wake of 3058, pipeline companies will have even more leverage over average Oregonians during negotiations.
    • All three LNG projects - Oregon LNG, Bradwood LNG, and Jordan Cove (Coos Bay) will seek permits for their 600 miles of pipelines, immediately. This will increase the burden on average Oregonians, forcing them to participate and challenge permit processes that are purely speculative.
    • The FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) has used a wide-open, "market-based" approach to LNG siting. 3058 attempts to re-create this fiasco in Oregon agency permits. If 3058 passes, we will immediately see a glut of permits for pipelines crossing private lands. This will generate a similar haphazard, horserace approach of permitting for Oregonians.

    We don't need to bend over backwards to approve LNG terminals. The current law makes sense, considering the outrageous Federal process that has allowed the LNG industry to propose three terminals and 600 miles of pipeline in Oregon (each terminal would have the capacity to import twice Oregon's total average gas usage!).

    HB 3058 is wrong, pure and simple. Anyone who votes for this bill deserves the ire of thousands of Oregonians who have fought for years in a hostile FERC process, only to watch the Oregon legislature worsen the problem by biasing the permitting process in the LNG industry's favor.

  • Bethany (unverified)
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    Thank you for your thoughtful piece, and your general commitment to the environment. However, I disagree with you on this bill.

    Just so we're clear: environmental groups and farm bureaus and property onwers suggested the Legislature divorce the general question about permitting process from LNG, and that amendment was not taken up.

    As far as I'm aware, no one involved in high speed rail, renewable energy, etc. testified in favor of this bill. They don't care about this. No one for seven years current law has been in effect has brought this up, until LNG folks decided to change the law.

    Now, there are 14 pro-LNG people meeting and strategizing and lobbying on this bill.

    That's enough for me to signal that this is about LNG. Those pieces that aren't about LNG could have been divorced from this bill, but weren't.

    Ulimately, if a "good process" bill is simply being passed to move a bad outcome, it's a bad bill.

  • dickey45 (unverified)
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    Absolutely friggin disgusting. Corvallis is trying to take our land without eminent domain (or payment) and after reading the constitution and many court cases, that is totally against the principles of the founding fathers and what America stands for. It further erodes policy rights.

  • pacnwjay (unverified)
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    Any Democrat who voted for this bill should be primaried out of office in 2010. The bill is about LNG. No ifs, ands or buts. And it is very sad to see Democratic lawmakers get bought by the energy lobby.

  • Jefferson Smith (unverified)
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    "A good process to a potentially bad outcome?"

    Bethany's comment above relates closely to how I considered this bill. Opponents explained to me that HB 3058 would make it easier to execute the transportation plan and LNG transmission. I was sensitive to those arguments, because I am a skeptic about the net benefits to Oregonians of storing and shipping LNG to California, and I wish we had passed a bill to guarantee Oregon benefits and protections. Additionally, I was one of 5 Democratic no votes on the transportation package (still to be determined if that's a red badge of courage or a scarlet letter).

    But I voted yes on this bill.

    I was persuaded -- by apparently unbiased folks -- that the process in 3058 indeed offered a better process. And in considering this vote -- a close one for me -- I asked myself a question similar to the one above: should I support what some smart land use folks argued was a better process, or should I resist it because it might make way for projects that are non-optimal?

    Ultimately I chose to vote yes. After conversation with my friend Chris Garrett and some deference to the Committee Chair Tobias Read, I gave serious consideration to the bill (a lot of bills move pretty quickly with little debate).

    Upon that consideration, there is a principle that helped offer some confidence on my vote: As a general matter, picking a more sluggish and worse process is not the better way to make a policy choice.

    We should make government more hassle-free, and then we should redouble our efforts to make sure that the policy choices through that process are better and more publicly interested.

    To be sure, this principle does not have infinite application: no one would want a streamlined process for [insert hyperbolic analogous example here...e.g., genocide].

    But where the ultimate outcome is not a guaranteed disaster, the better process might indeed be better.

    In those cases, we should work for better policy, not slower.

    Smarter government, not harder.

    In any event, it was a close question and close vote...and certainly defensible (at least from my obviously biased ex post standpoint).

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    Glad to see the smurfs are all for kicking out anyone who disagrees with them. Is it any wonder that Independent is the fastest growing affiliation.

  • Kneejerk (unverified)
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    Here are some of the campaign contributions to Tobias Read in 2008, even though his district was not considered at all competitive (his Republican opponent raised and spent zero):

    PORTLAND GENERAL ELECTRIC       $6,000 
    Natural gas transmission
    & distribution companies        $4,150
    PACIFICORP                      $2,500
    FUTURE PAC HOUSE BUILDERS       $4,567
    OREGON ASSOC OF REALTORS        $4,500
    

  • Frank (unverified)
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    Jefferson, as you were the best and the brightest of this next generation of lawmakers, IF LNG somehow achieves approval in Oregon, I'm going to put every single bit of the blame ON YOU.

    You better make it your number one duty in life to see LNG is never happens in Oregon. If LNG is approved, we're going to make extra certain you are forced to drag LNG in Oregon around your neck the rest of your career. We will make certain people never forget your betrayal on this.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    I thank the legislators for writing here.

    Unlike many NIMBY's, I believe that LNG has a good future in Oregon. Alternate energy, wind, solar, tidal, even nuke will amount to no more than 20% of Oregon's energy needs in the next 50 years. This is also a time when our backbone for the energy grid, Hydro is constantly under attack. LNG, currently flared off in Prudoe Bay is a reasonable alternative.

    that said; I do not beleive that this bill does anything but enable a process of duplicity regarding permitting and land use BEFORE the land is even purchased. I forsee this being used as a tool in imminent domain cases to drive down the fair price.

    Time for Gov K to show some backbone and get out the veto pen.

  • Jefferson Smith (unverified)
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    Frank...have faith that the bill would've passed regardless of my vote (indeed, that was confirmed at the time my vote was cast). But I hear ya...I hope I added to good stuff rather than bad stuff.

  • dickey45 (unverified)
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    Alright,

    Jefferson Smith thinks the Constitution is crap. Whose else voted for this and needs to go?

  • Frank (different Frank) (unverified)
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    As an avid watcher of the legislature, I have to take issue with anyone who says someone should be voted out of office based on one bad vote. These kids (and they are kids to me) are doing a pretty great job given that this is their first term in office, besides Tobias Read. For the knee jerkers in the crowd, consider that Representative Smith was one of only a very few who had the guts to vote against the ridiculous transportation bill.

  • Ms Mel Harmon (unverified)
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    My Rep, Nick Kahl (D-49), voted "no". Good man.

    Have I mentioned how much I DON'T miss Karen Minnis?

  • Bethany (unverified)
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    Rep. Smith - you're right in principle - but this is one issue hardball is winning, rather than lofty principle.

    Rep. Read and the legislature spiked a bill - HB 2015 - to ensure Oregon's consumer and environmental interests are protected in LNG siting. Had they passed that bill, this bill may make sense. Since they rejected it, and show no sign of passing it in the near future, this is simply a step backward on LNG (far from "non-optimal" project, a disastrous one).

    And that's bad for the Oregon - and the planet's - future.

  • JHL (unverified)
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    Many anti-LNG people are doing themselves no favors by appearing so reactionary. They need to realize that a strongly held opinion does NOT entitle them to monopolize the determination of what is and is not in the public's interest.

    I am against LNG.

    I support this bill.

    I know that these seemingly mutually exclusive statements will draw me some ire, but there was a good point alluded to earlier by Represenative Smith:

    We should not make determinations on energy policy simply by creating unworkable processes for those policies we disagree with. That is the ultimate perversion of our legal system... to count on a de facto outcome by virtue of a flawed process.

    It's akin to Republicans burdening Planned Parenthood patients with mountains of regulations and restrictions without actually making anything illegal.

  • Brett VandenHeuvel (unverified)
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    I appreciate the post on this important bill, which is now before the Senate.

    The Oregon Conservation Network and OLCV classified 3058 as a "major threat" because of the impacts of LNG on global warming and salmon habitat. Oregon Council of Trout Unlimited, Oregon Wild, Sierra Club, Columbia Riverkeeper (as well as Yamhill and Marion County Farm Bureaus, Oregon Small Woodlot Assoc) and many others strongly oppose the bill. A vote for 3058 is a vote for LNG no matter how you finesse it.

    Rep. Read and Rep. Garrett state that "HB 3058, on its face, is unrelated to LNG." However, in 2007, Bradwood Landing LNG unabashedly stated that they would ask the legislature to change the law for them. Bradwood stated, “we will ask the Oregon Legislature to change the definition of applicant to expressly include a person . . . [that] will have condemnation authority.” See letter at www.columbiariverkeeper.org/public/BradwoodLanding032007.pdf

    Ask and you shall receive.

    Bradwood's letter also explains that the proposed law (HB 3058) would reduce the time and expense of siting the LNG pipeline and provide Bradwood with greater "flexibility."

    Bradwood Landing LNG proposed 3058 and explained why it needed this bill. The connection between 3058 and LNG is abundantly clear.

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    Fairly minor clarification for "kneejerk": The donor called "FUTURE PAC HOUSE BUILDERS" is the Oregon House Democrats caucus - not a homebuilders organization (if that's what you were thinking, picking it out next to the realtors.) They're the Democrats "building the House"; get it?

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    Reading the fine legislators smooth words, I was reminded of a quote attributed to Mark Twain:

    "They all put their heads together like a bunch of lawyers getting ready to decide a man's heirs ain't got no right to his property."

  • Jeffrey (unverified)
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    It's sad to see organized labor steamroll environmental groups, farm bureaus and property owners simply because they can -- without a glance back at their roadkill.

    Reminds me too much of local labor's take-no-prisoner approach to another high-stakes energy gamble decades ago -- construction of the WPPSS nuclear power plants.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Yes, Kari, FP/House Builders is the caucus campaign arm, like Promote Oregon for the GOP.

    But it will be interesting to see in this time of recession if that much money sloshes around such organizations in 2010. Or if there is a movement to have a public debate on the legality of pass throughs.

    I suggest anyone interested go to ORESTAR and type in those 2 names to see how the money changes hands.

    Maybe it is time to go back to the old system of money going directly to candidates and cut out the middleman.

    Kari, if you or anyone else doesn't like that comment, it is not original with me.

    There were members of the Public Comm. on the Legislature which wanted more clarity in C & E reports, and retired Oregon Supreme Court Justice Hans Linde made the point that pass throughs are legally shaky because any contribution is made to the legal entity of "Committee to elect...." for campaign expenses, not to send to another legal entity.

  • Jeffrey (unverified)
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    And whose idea, I wonder, was it to have such barefaced waterboys as Read and Garrett put their names on this?

    It's an insult to the intelligence of Blue Oregon readers.

  • Jeffrey (unverified)
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    The last time I remember organized labor steamrolling its natural allies like this was a similar energy gamble called WPPSS (Whoops). Some things don't change.

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    LT, lets stay on topic please.

  • ORpioneer (unverified)
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    LT,You understand the system. After looking at ORESTAR I now understand why campaign contributions are the same as influence peddling. Money flows from PAC to PAC and those who have the most power get the most money, some even after the election. In Oregon, they can spend it on almost anything remotely connected with their tenure, i.e., trips, motels, restaurants, gifts. I wonder why Rep. Hunt's time on the coast was so limited in a recent town meeting. Did he combine perhaps 1/2 hour with a mini vacation and charge off the expenses to his campaign? Why did he even go to the coast, it is not his district? When a letter is written by an out of state developer (NS's Bradwood) proposing a change to our Oregon laws,, it has to raise questions. When that same out of state developer sends contributions to 25 of our house members and 13 of our senate members just after submitting the letter, I wonder. When there were two proposed amendments to HB 3058, one to exclude LNG and the other to exclude LNG for two years only, I wonder why if this bill is not related to LNG, why one of those amendments were not included. I wonder why these influence peddling campaign contributions from energy companies and unions (stating need for (temporary) jobs) total over a ;MILLION dollars. That is a lot of influence to get a bill passed. If you believe this is not an LNG bill, then I guess you believe there is waterfront for sale in Arizona. Respect those legislators who can overcome this terrible system, can the rest. Time for a change.

  • JHL (unverified)
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    Jeffrey... what does this mean:

    "The last time I remember organized labor steamrolling its natural allies like this..."

    Are you saying that you think labor and environmental groups are "natural allies"? Why?! Because they both donate to Democrats?

    Welcome to the world, man.

    It's labor's obligation to their members to maintain good working conditions for blue-collar Oregonians and part of that is fostering a robust labor market by helping to create jobs.

    Statements like yours are the reason that Democrats have been having trouble keeping the interest of hard-working middle-class families.

    These two groups are not "natural allies," but they are valuable voices whose interests we need do our best to balance. But I can see that you have a lock on what should be in everyone's interest (in your infinite wisdom), so I can understand how you feel that it's "steamrolling" if enviros don't get 100% all the time.

  • Bethany (unverified)
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    JHL, you write:

    We should not make determinations on energy policy simply by creating unworkable processes for those policies we disagree with. That is the ultimate perversion of our legal system... to count on a de facto outcome by virtue of a flawed process.

    In theory we shouldn't. However, right now that's the only option we have. The federal government took away the state's voice with FERC and the Energy Policy Act. The state legislature refused to assert its voice and ability to set standards for LNG by not passing HB 2015.

    Therefore, the only path left is to retain the process we have - instead of greasing the skids to make LNG faster and easier, which is what HB 3058 does.

    Moreover, HB 3058 isn't about fixing an unworkable process. Defeating it would retain the current process, which has worked fine for everyone but LNG for seven years. And LNG can still be built, even if we don't pass HB 3058.

  • Greg D. (unverified)
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    Will HB 3058 expedite design and construction of new power lines that are necessary to connect the various proposed Eastern Oregon wind farms with the Portland Metro area? If so, it does not seem like an entirely bad idea.

  • JHL (unverified)
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    And LNG can still be built, even if we don't pass HB 3058.

    Precisely!

    I'm against LNG (though not as active as some), so I don't really get why the anti-LNG crowd is focusing their energies on 3058, which is a speedbump, rather than 2015, which is more a brick wall.

    But meanwhile, there's such vitriol being spewed forth (not from you, Bethany) and such accusations... all on a bill that will affect only the short-term planning of the LNG project but -- in the long run -- probably not affect the final outcome.

  • pleth (unverified)
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    "HB 3058 is about good process, rational rules, and smart procedures."

    No, it's about seizing control from landowners and handing it to your campaign donors. And shame on the supposedly pro-landowner Republicans for supporting this trash. At least you're smart enough to discuss your support from the environmental community in past tense.

  • (Show?)

    One noticeable difference between the legislators and their supporters on the bill and the activists arguing against the bill here seems to be about how they reason.

    Examples:

    JHL-We should not make determinations on energy policy simply by creating unworkable processes for those policies we disagree with. That is the ultimate perversion of our legal system... to count on a de facto outcome by virtue of a flawed process.

    Bethany-In theory we shouldn't. However, right now that's the only option we have.

    So the inellectual honesty and the specific merits or flaws of the bill take a back seat in Bethany's mind to the achivement of her goal which is "right."

    OR

    Frank-Jefferson, as you were the best and the brightest of this next generation of lawmakers, IF LNG somehow achieves approval in Oregon, I'm going to put every single bit of the blame ON YOU.

    And then goes on to argue that Smith should be punished with every means at our disposal.

    I disagreed with every single legislator that I support at both the state, national, (and even presidential) level on one issue or many issues. There were, after all, more than 2000 bills advanced in this state session alone.

    I think it's great to voice my displeasure on issues where I disagree and to offer specific and concrete alternatives, but pitching the kidz over the side of the pirate ship for every perceived slight looks like a collective temper tantrum to me....

  • Jonathan Radmacher (unverified)
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    Interesting that the strident anti-LNG comments seem to come anonymously. While I completely understand why someone in the path of a utility (of any kind) would prefer the most cumbersome process possible, I don't understand people who are vitriolic in their opposition to LNG. That's not to say I don't understand a lot of the arguments against LNG; I just start to glaze over at people who (for example) keep talking about safety problems, without rebutting LNG advocates' analysis of safety.

    Beyond that, the kneejerk comments in this thread, opposing Reps. Read, Garrett and Smith are just plain stupid. Thank god for any legislator who doesn't quake in fear when a vitriolic group of any kind (right or left) plays the "we'll vote you out of office" card. None of these legislators seem to be pro-LNG (and there are those who are pro-LNG).

    On a related note, it sounds like Tre Arrow may be coming back into town. Let the sane and considered LNG debate continue...

  • Bethany (unverified)
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    We don't create processes to have processes.

    We create laws and processes to reach outcomes we want.

    Therefore, the specific merits of the bill = making it easier for LNG = bad.

    The problems with LNG have been explained at length previously.

    All that having a good process to reach a bad outcome means is that you've reached a bad outcome.

  • Gayle Kiser (unverified)
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    Jonathan Radmacher seems to like painting with broad strokes. I am adamantly against LNG and my name appears on many arguments. It's no secret how I feel. There are many valid arguments against LNG, safety being only one. Of course the industry has a good safety record, because on a world-wide basis, they abide by the Society of Gas Terminal and Transport Operators (SIGTTO)but when you read the SIGTTO recommendations for siting a LNG facility, you will find that Bradwood is in violation of several of them. I am designated to be a pipeline victim, so Eminent Domain could also be one of my arguments, but the overwhelming reason I am fighting Bradwood Landing is the damage that would be done to the Columbia River and the endangered fish runs. On May 1, the Coast Guard sent a letter to FERC stating that they cannot make it a condition of the permit that the ballast and engine cooling water must be screened to prevent sucking smolt into the tankers. That is proof enough that this is the wrong project, in the wrong place. There are very real threats that this project makes to the shipping industry on the Columbia. It is impossible for me to fathom why the up-river ports aren't setting their hair on fire over this. Shipping delays mean big money, and ports will lose contracts if there are delays because ships can't pass a tanker except in the four designated zones. You may thank god for legislators that don't bow to "vitriolic groups", if that is how you wish to describe the grass-roots movement who are trying to protect our rights and your state, but what can you say about legislators who bow to those who contribute money and expect a return for those favors?

  • truthsquad (unverified)
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    "Whether LNG facilities belong in Oregon is an important question that should continue to be debated."

    What a disingenuous statement. How gullible does Rep. Read think we are? Read single-handedly killed a bill (HB 2015) that would have required more rigorous rules for those seeking to build LNG terminals and pipelines in Oregon. It would have required a needs analysis, compliance with Oregon's greenhouse gas reduction strategies, and other standards to protect the public and the environment. Standards that LNG companies currently do not need to meet.

    Read had the choice to forward HB 2015 on to the Rules committee, as he did with HB 3058, so that it could 'continue to be debated,' but instead he used his discretion as a committee chair and did not schedule a committee vote on 2015. End of debate.

    Now he wants to pretend that pushing a bill to speed up the process for permitting for 'linear utilities' doesn't have anything to do with LNG. Even though this legislation was requested by a Texas LNG company unhappy with Oregon's permitting rules. This shows a profound disconnection from real Oregonians who are impacted by these decisions.

    Legislation is not crafted in some legal vacuum without real world implications - there are winners and losers. Garrett, Read and J. Smith sided with corporations and out-of-state special interests, not the people of Oregon.

    We can only blame Garrett and J. Smith so much, as it was Read alone who killed the only bill that would have protected the public interest during the LNG siting process. He cannot with any shred of credibility claim that he thinks the issue of LNG needs to be debated when it was he who stopped the debate.

    Given the close vote on HB 3058, it is very possible HB 2015 would have passed......if only the debate had been allowed to continue.

  • Stephen Amy (unverified)
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    Tobias Read wrote: "Whether LNG facilities belong in Oregon is an important question that should continue to be debated".

    And so he ended the debate in the House by killing HB 2015 (as truthsquad posted- thanks).

    As Jeffrey posted, this post from Read/Garrett is an insult.

    How did Tobias Read get the chair of Sustainability & Econonimc Development? Is it because Speaker Hunt is a conservative Dem? Is it because Read raises a lot of money and doles some out to colleagues?

  • Disappointed D (unverified)
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    Knowing both Garret and Read (not to mention Nolan, Kotek and Smith), I am torn between being sympathetic to the needs of leadership and outraged at their seeming servility to the powers that be. It's self-evident that labor and utility/business lobbies are powerful players in Salem. I expect that to determine the votes of most of the Rs and a few regressive Ds like Schaufler.

    That said, it looks like Speaker Hunt used this issue as a loyalty test to find out how much he could count on his up-and-comers while strongarming his Caucus leadership (e.g. Nolan; you don't have to strongarm Roblan on environmental issues) to provide the newbies some cover. It's no surprise that each of them come from safe D districts so that they can afford to lose a few thousand enviro/property rights votes, and still maintain their seats.

    But while party discipline can be a useful tool, in this case it overturned an existing working, public process to cater to the desires of fossil fuel and pipeline development interests. That's not what Democrats are supposed to stand for. This isn't a case of balancing harms versus some greater good. Almost no one (Governor, former Sec State, US Senators or the POTUS) is backing LNG over renewables. But that's precisely what happened in the House with 3058.

    I expect better from the likes of Read, Garrett, Kotek, Dave Edwards (but not Chris) and Nolan, and I'm sure many of their constituents would be just as shocked by their vote (if the issue makes it before the voters). If this proves to be a trend, rather than an abberation, it doesn't portend well for a future Democratic majority, or these representatives' future.

  • Peter Bray (unverified)
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    "Both of us are committed environmentalists"

    What a throwaway statement. Gale Norton said the same thing.

    You two, and Jefferson Smith, are sheep in sheep's clothing: easily buffeted by big campaign contributions or the (not so) cunning influence of your colleagues.

    And then you trot on over here and spin. Oh, this could be good for environmentalists too... Oh, this could help them put transmission lines across the state for wind "fields" and energy "farms"...

    In years past, you two "environmentalists" would have been pushing for dams along the Columbia.

  • Stephen Amy (unverified)
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    From the Oregonian story of 6/7/09:

    "Speaker Dave Hunt has raised about $475,000 since the beginning of 2008 and ran unopposed."

    About $45,000 of this was from energy companies and other supporters of LNG (Hunt says he's also received money from opponents of LNG but the amount of these contributions is not mentioned in the article).

    "But he says campaign contributions have no impact on his voting."

    So, referring to Disappointed D's post, it would seem the major impetus for House passage of 3058 came from the Speaker, either from using the power of his office or, maybe, funneling money to colleagues (raised $475,000 and ran unoopposed?).

    This is what is wrong with the Dem party- the people who really want to make progressive change are marginalized and the slicksters who talk a good game but really are just fronting for the monied interests get the leadership. On both the national and state levels.

    "Change we can believe in"?

  • (Show?)

    Thank you, Jefferson, for actively utilizing this two-way communication medium to explain your reasoning. I'm glad there are a few candidate/elected officials who are catching on and using new media to more effectively do their jobs (I'm talking you, Wheeler, Novick, and David Bragdon).

    I appreciate your explanation of your vote, but I have to agree that your "yes" vote should certainly come with nothing but increased vigilance on the LNG issue and a heavy hand in building support for making sure large projects benefit Oregonians. Thank you for your vote on the transportation bill. It was the right one.

    As for LNG, I anxiously await DEQ's environmental impact statement. I have a hard time believing it will show that we're going to come out ahead in this. It's my sincere hope that you, as well as Reps. Read and Garrett, will take the data and facts over the profit margins of out-of-state companies.

    Keep at it!

  • Hemp Extacts Kill Udder Fungi without Harsh Chemicals (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Progressives should always be in favor of those.

    Agreed. Sadly, you'll find very few on Blue Oregon. The word would never be used in conjunction, if they didn't announce it as such. These are rank and file, party line types. It really is, for them, more important who you vote with, than why you vote. Rationalist proggies are about as far from the people that are the party's base as are those that make up the Rep base. Americans just aren't either. You'll not get much more than, "hey, he talks different. attack!" Overbreeding and declining education in a non-proportional democracy. What can you expect?

  • springtime (unverified)
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    {When a letter is written by an out of state developer (NS's Bradwood) proposing a change to our Oregon laws,...}

    Stunningly disapointing isn't it?

    Garrett and Read must think their party supporters are dunces.

    Look around, everything that's been developed in Oregon, was accomplished without that law in place.

    Disgraceful.

  • BBW (unverified)
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    The fact that Bradwood Landing sent a letter dated March 2007 to the State Land Board asking that the bill to expedite linear projects be expanded to include LNG pipelines leaves anger, and suspicion in the minds of those of us who know LNG is environmentally destructive and totally unnecessary for Oregon.
    I, for one, will do my best to impose "accountability" on the legislators from this area who voted for HB 3058. I feel "accountability" for arrogant legislators is what democracy is all about. HB 3058 is so egregious, it deserves appropriate attention and retaliation at the polls. The legislators from this area (Tobias Read and Jeff Barker) knew that many of their constituents opposed this bill and they were given more than sufficient reasons to vote "no" on HB 3058. Representatives Barker and Read chose to forge ahead on their one -- at the direction of Dave Hunt of course -- and cared nothing about how their constituents felt. Is this democracy? I think not. I sincerely regret that both these legislators intend to run again for the legislature. This means a lot of hard work and money to "primary them out" -- money which could be used in the general election. Perhaps they would do us a favor and find something else to do. Both should be targeted for defeat, but Read especially needs to be returned to "civilian life" since he chaired the committee that killed HB 2015 and kept HB 3058 alive -- and was really less than fair or truthful in the process.

  • BBW (unverified)
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    <h2>By the way, Barker and Read will be at a Town Meeting on June 30, 7 - 8 pm at Beaverton library, 5th and Hall in Beaverton. PLEASE ATTEND. This might be the time to raise issues of "accountability" and to ask them to do us "ANTI-LNGers" a favor and not run again next year. We can ask Read why he killed HB 2015 and why he "saved" HB 3058 by referring it to House Rules where he knew it would get a favorable hearing with Chair Rep Arnie Roblan, D-Coos Bay.</h2>
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