Oregon Legislature Passes Groundbreaking Forestry Reform Bill
This new law set the stage for fundamental reform of the Oregon Forest Practices Act.
On June 26, 2020, Crag played an influential role in the Oregon Legislature passing an overwhelmingly bipartisan forestry reform bill called the Forest Aerial Spray Bill (SB 1602). This directed the state to set up a mediation process for comprehensive protections for salmon streams in non-federal forests. This bill also will strengthen the state’s aerial pesticide spray regulations and set the stage for fundamental reform of the Oregon Forest Practices Act.
Four months before the legislation passed, 13 conservation and fishing organizations reached an agreement with 13 timber companies on a path to modernize the state’s long-outdated forestry laws. The Forest Aerial Spray Bill was a culmination of the many years of hard work and negotiating, along with massive grassroots pressure from a wide variety of allies and supporters across the state.
Key elements of The Forest Aerial Spray Bill
- Protect Oregon’s water with 50’ no-spray buffers on all tributaries and headwater streams;
- Expand no-spray buffer zones to 75’ on all fish and drinking water streams;
- Expand no-spray buffers on drinking water intakes to 300 feet;
- Makes no-spray buffer zones for homes and schools five times wider, from 60 to 300 feet;
- Provide timely notifications by giving 24-hr advanced notice to nearby residents who need to protect themselves and their property;
- Increase the accuracy of the timber spray notifications and allow access to the files by other state agencies for research purposes;
- Adopt a plan to develop a Habitat Conservation Plan to protect native fish and wildlife.
The Forest Aeriel Spray Bill sets up greater protections from aerial pesticide spray around homes, schools, small streams, and drinking water intakes. For the first time in the nation, the law ushers in a new system which allows people to become notified when aerial spray of forestlands happens near their homes. And the law requires larger stream buffers on many salmon streams in the Rogue-Siskiyou region.
For years leading up to the passage of the bill, Crag staff attorney Ralph Bloemers worked with allies, such as the Oregon Stream Protection Coalition and Oregon Wild. Crag assisted these groups in crafting ballot measures to protect forest waters, and these measures brought the timber industry to the table. Crag was also on the team that negotiated the agreement that led to the passage of SB 1602. Crag continues to work with front-line communities, public health advocates, and forest conservation allies to advocate for the changes needed to ensure clean water and public health.
Crag worked alongside ally conservation and environmental groups for years to garner support for this important piece of legislation. The Forest Aerial Spray Bill was a culmination of the many years of hard work and negotiating by the Oregon Stream Protection Coalition, Beyond Toxics, Oregon Wild, and Wild Salmon Center along with massive grassroots pressure from a wide variety of allies and supporters across the state.
The Oregon Stream Protection Coalition is a collaborative coalition that seeks to work together for stronger stream protection legislation, science-based forest practices, and regulations that meet water quality standards.
Beyond Toxics is an environmental justice nonprofit in Oregon dedicated to advancing environmentally and humane policies in Oregon.
Oregon Wild, a longtime client of Crag’s, takes action on various issues which threaten our wildlands and wildlife. Oregon Wild has been a client in other cases and has partnered with Crag on environmental issues as well.
Wild Salmon Center has protected salmon and other fish since 1992 and has done important work protecting Oregon’s rivers and streams.