HOUSE COMMITTEE ON

ENVIRONMENT AND LAND USE

 

 

February 25, 2003   Hearing Room HR E

8:30 AM Tapes  25 - 26

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:            Rep. Bill Garrard, Chair

Rep. Dennis Richardson, Vice-Chair

Rep. Cliff Zauner, Vice-Chair

Rep. Robert Ackerman

Rep. Dan Doyle

Rep. Mitch Greenlick

Rep. Diane Rosenbaum

 

 

STAFF PRESENT:                  Ray Kelly, Committee Administrator

David Peffley, Committee Assistant

 

 

MEASURES HEARD:                     HB 2431 – Public Hearing

 

 

These minutes are in compliance with Senate and House Rules.  Only text enclosed in quotation marks reports a speaker’s exact words.  For complete contents, please refer to the tapes.

 

TAPE/#

Speaker

Comments

TAPE 25, A

003

Chair Garrard

Calls the meeting to order at 8:35 and opens a public hearing on        HB 2431.

HB 2431 – PUBLIC HEARING

008

Ray Kelly

Explains HB 2431. 

045

Chair Garrard

Introduces Robin Hartman’s  (EXHIBIT A) faxed testimony from the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition.

058

Jay Lorenz

Manager of Natural Resources, Terra Associates, Kirkland, WA.  Speaks in favor of HB 2431 stating the historical conflict between managed growth and the protection of resources.  Asserts that HB 2431 is a proactive and balanced solution to this conflict. 

150

Rep. Richardson

Asks Lorenz if he would include any other provisions to the bill. 

154

Lorenz

States that he wouldn’t add anything to the bill, but he might make adjustments to a couple provisions. 

179

Rep. Richardson

Asks which is the best way to make decisions based on this legislation. 

181

Lorenz

Responds that a panel of scientists may be necessary to help establish the most applicable approaches.

200

Rep. Greenlick

Asks for a formal designation of a wetland and why as social policy we need to protect wetlands.

209

Lorenz

Defines the formal definition of a wetland and states why they are valuable to society.

233

Rep. Greenlick

Asks if Lorenz supports Section 2 given the stated importance of such wetlands, which would allow someone to take wetlands out of production,

258

Lorenz

States that he is not in favor of that process.  Continues that he would support legislation making a distinction between high and low-value wetlands.  States further that we need an evaluation process. 

293

Rep. Greenlick

Asks if he would oppose that clause as written.

295

Lorenz

Responds that he would.

300

Rep. Richardson

Asks what the difference is between a wetland and swamp.

305

Lorenz

States that a swamp is a type of wetland. 

312

Rep. Richardson

Asks whether it is really important to protect wetlands. 

320

Lorenz

Gives particulars on wetlands and soil saturation. 

351

Rep. Richardson

States that he didn’t realize that two weeks of standing water constitute a wetland. 

363

Lorenz

States that the two week example needs to be qualified in the context of what it contributes.  Reiterates that greater focus needs to be placed on the value to society. 

410

Rep. Greenlick

Asks what proportion is carried out by small wetlands versus the great swamps for groundwater recharge.

417

Lorenz

States that he couldn’t really offer a fair guess. 

TAPE 26, A

020

Charles Link

Yachats, Oregon. Submits (EXHIBIT B) and testifies in favor of HB 2431. Speaks to the presence of artificially-designated wetlands and offers a personal anecdote dealing with bureaucratic red tape in regard to wetland.  Details how the passage of HB 2431 will help solve these inefficiencies.   

151

Doug Tindall

Division of State Lands (DSL).  Submits (EXHIBIT C) and affirms the importance of streamlining the environmental permitting process, contained in HB 2431. Notes concerns and that some modifications may be necessary.

163

Rep. Zauner

Asks about the duplication between the engineers and DSL.

165

Tindall

Agrees with Rep. Zauner, although the involved organizations are moving to streamline the process. 

172

Rep. Richardson

Asks Tindall he might do to make this process more user-friendly for the land owner. 

182

Tindall

Attests that he is not well-versed in that issue; that his background is in engineering. 

194

Rep. Richardson

Asks Tindall if HB 2431 gives enough flexibility to DSL.

197

Tindall

Answers that it may take some flexibility away.

202

John Lilly

Assistant Director, DSL.  Submits (EXHIBIT D) and testifies in opposition to HB 2431, however states that issues raised by this legislation do need to be addressed. 

232

Chair Garrard

Asks if losing wetlands is necessarily a bad thing. 

234

Lilly

Responds that it may not necessarily be bad, but that the state is committed to protecting wetlands.  Adds that we need to address some permitting concerns and to identify the important wetlands as opposed to the less-important ones.

262

Lilly

Continues testimony by addressing public policy questions which     HB 2431 poses.

299

Rep. Richardson

Asks whether the federal or state government sets the requirement that two weeks of standing water constitutes a wetland. 

302

Lilly

Responds that the State of Oregon uses the Corp of Engineers delineation manual.

313

Rep. Richardson

Asks whether that includes an artificially-created wetland. 

315

Lilly

States that the manual determines regulations on whether the land is a wetland or not.

330

Rep. Richardson

Asks about a comparison between the efficiency and streamlining of the agency two years ago versus today. 

338

Lilly

Responds that we are definitely doing a better job today then two years ago.  States that today, the problems which Mr. Link faced, would not occur, and that he would like to amend the bill to speed up the process. 

379

Rep. Ackerman

Asks about the wetland adjudication process. 

382

Lilly

Affirms Rep. Ackerman’s feelings about the process. 

383

Rep. Ackerman

Asks if the Division makes these determinations on a case-by-case basis.

391

Lilly

Speaks to the three inventory levels of wetland assessment-federal, local, and site-specific.

TAPE 25, B

008

Lilly

Continues elucidating the technicalities of his testimony regarding wetland regulation vis-à-vis functions and social value as referenced in page two of (EXHIBIT D). 

045

Rep. Greenlick

Asks for a sense of the magnitude of the functions of the small-sized wetland and the larger swampland.

050

Lilly

Testifies that it varies from location to location, depending on the landscape.  Continues by highlighting the wide range of utility between higher and lower-value wetlands. 

075

Rep. Greenlick

Asks whether losing these small wetlands would in fact make a significant difference. 

087

Lilly

Reiterates that the importance depends on the various landscapes and that he can not give a quantitative answer.  Continues his testimony by addressing the cost of compensatory wetland mitigation as per the bill.   Offers to help with potential amendments to this bill.

212

Rep. Rosenbaum

Asks Lilly to explain how a mitigation bank works under the current system. 

217

Lilly

Details the process of the permit application and bank interaction. 

231

Rep. Rosenbaum

Asks if credits are generally given for a completed project or in response to a land-owner’s needs to buy credits. 

237

Lilly

Explains the process of obtaining a permit.

251

Rep. Rosenbaum

Asks if there is oversight in the system.

252

Lilly

Speaks to balance in the system.

261

Rep. Richardson

Asks if functions and values should be weighed heavily in the process. 

264

Lilly

Responds that it absolutely should be.  Searches for the appropriate statute relating to functional attributes.  Defines the meaning of the statute and how it relates to Mr. Lorenz’ testimony. 

331

Chair Garrard

Asks if Mr. Lilly could have the DSL provide documentation. 

353

Scott Duckett

Waterways Manager, City of Eugene, Public Works Department.  Submits (EXHIBIT E) and testifies in opposition to HB 2431.  Explains the bank mitigation process.  Shares the importance of wetlands and why they need to be preserved.  Reiterates the need for a balanced approach.

TAPE 26, B

003

Rep. Richardson

Clarifies his concerns regarding the two-week standing water issue.  Asks if the witness feels that the present approach is balanced. 

013

Duckett

Affirms that he does as the Willamette Valley now has 1% of the historic wetlands that we had at the time of settlement.  States concern that we may be paying for past debts incurred. 

036

Rep. Greenlick

Asks if the two-week pond is treated the same way as a natural marsh would be treated. 

041

Duckett

States that the issue has been studied and that both situations run through the same processes. 

062

Dr. Paul Adamus

Submits (EXHIBIT F) and testifies in opposition to HB 2431 in that it places a one-size fits all solution on this problem and that it would be prohibitively expensive to the taxpayer.  States that there are problems with the present process system, but that the process is greatly improving.  Cites concerns over HB 2431. 

164

Chair Garrard

Asks the definition of an isolated wetland.

169

Dr. Adamus

States that the isolated wetland is still being defined.  Gives his own definition.

171

Chair Garrard

Asks for further clarification.

173

Dr. Adamus

Answers and continues by addressing Rep. Greenlick’s concerns about the importance of small wetlands.  Speaks to the importance of wetlands in dealing with nitrate pollution.

The following prepared testimony is submitted for the record without public testimony for HB 2431.

 

Phil Scoles

Submits written testimony (EXHIBIT G).

239

Chair Garrard

Asks Dr. Adamus to please come back when we continue the hearing on HB 2431.  Adjourns the meeting at 10:21.

 

 

 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

A – HB 2431, written testimony, Chairman Bill Garrard, 4 pp.

B – HB 2431, written testimony, Charles Link, 3 pp.

C – HB 2431, written testimony, Doug Tindall, 1 p.

D – HB 2431, written testimony, John Lilly, 4 pp.

E – HB 2431, written testimony, Scott Duckett, 1 p.

F – HB 2431, written testimony, Dr. Paul Adamus, 2 pp.

G – HB 2431, written testimony, Phil Scoles, 5 pp.