By John Ledger
Associated Oregon industries
“Open Season” bill encourages lawsuits against agriculture, businesses, and forestry – local government immune.A late breaking bill in the Senate Judiciary committee, SB 962, would allow any person “adversely affected” by a “violation of a state environmental law (or any permit), or by the failure of a state agency to enforce a state environmental law” to file for “injunctive and other equitable relief.” Attorney fees may be awarded to successful plaintiffs for expenses including costs of expert witnesses, supporting studies, and reports. The provisions of SB 962 expressly do not apply to violations by “local government.”
The laws/permits affected would include these sections of Oregon Code:
* ORS 390 PARKS; RECREATION; WATERWAYS; TRAILS, HIGHWAYS, ROADS, BRIDGES AND FERRIES
* ORS 468A AIR POLLUTION CONTROL
* ORS 468 B WATER QUALITY, PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY, WATER POLLUTION CONTROL
* ORS 498 HUNTING, ANGLING AND WILDLIFE REGULATIONS
* ORS 530 STATE FORESTS; COMMUNITY FORESTS; FORESTRY AND FOREST PRODUCTS; ACQUISITION, MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT OF STATE FORESTS
* ORS 527.610 – 527.770 OREGON FOREST PRACTICES ACT
* ORS 537 PUBLIC AGENCY WATER USE REGISTRATION, GEOTHERMAL WELLS; WATER USE REPORTING; APPROPRIATION UNDER 1909 ACT; LIMITED LICENSES; IN-STREAM WATER RIGHTS; PONDS AND RESERVOIRS; CONSERVATION AND USE OF CONSERVED WATER; GROUND WATER; WASTE, SPRING AND SEEPAGE WATERS; DIVERSION OF WATERS FROM BASIN OF ORIGIN
Its origin is not clear. It did not come from the Attorney General’s Office which has yet to take a position on the bill. The bill is not yet scheduled for a hearing.
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