Saturday, May 30, 2015

Outrageously Terrible Idea from Salem's own Brian Clem

This is more corporate wheeling and dealing to defeat democracy in Oregon and prevent anything that interferes with corporate profits.

Agriculture in Oregon has PLENTY of advocates who make sure that ANY costs to farmers are WELL understood and considered in Salem. This is an underhanded, anti-democratic, anti-American assault on the whole idea that businesses -- including agribusiness -- do not operate in a vacuum, and have a responsibility to operate within reasonable regulations. 

Rep. Brian Clem should be ashamed of himself. The logic of this bill is the same logic used against all progressive legislation in America and at the heart of all efforts against any progressive legislation.

HB 3212 would entitle farmers to be compensated for any local or state regulation they deem would create a loss in value to their operation as a result of the regulation. If a local or state government could not, or did not want to pay the compensation, they would have to waive the enacted regulation. This puts a huge chilling effect on a variety of land-use practices that help protect our waterways, air quality, soil health, animal treatment and human health.

Please review the information below and take action TODAY by:
Calling or emailing your Senator and/or Senate President Peter Courtney
(Senator Courtney's email address is: and his
phone number is: 503-986-1600.) TODAY;

Attend the hearing and testify against the bill; and/or
Write a letter to the editor.

The bill passed the House and will be heard this coming Monday, June 1st, at 1 p.m., Hearing Room B, by the Senate Business and Transportation Committee


Chair    Senator Lee Beyer
Member    Senator Rod Monroe
Member    Senator Chuck Riley
Member    Senator Chuck Thomsen
Vice-Chair    Senator Fred Girod

HB 3212 would protect harmful agribusiness activities from being regulated now and in the future by that entitling farmers to compensation from local and state governments for loss in value due to regulatory changes that forced them to change their practices. If a county or the state could not, or did not want to, pay compensation they would have to waive the enacted regulation.

Promoted by Rep. Brian Clem, the bill could lead to huge taxpayer funded compensation payouts related to laws and rules adopted since January 1, 2010 that have led to cleaner air, cleaner water and better animal welfare standards on farms. If state and local agencies were unable to afford to pay for compensation claims, laws and rules would have to be waived or go unenforced. Examples if impacted legislation include:
  • Rules adopted to enforce Oregon’s ban on large-scale field burning in the Willamette Valley
  • Oregon’s landmark law requiring larger cage sizes for laying hens, adopted in 2011 and phased in by rule in coming years
  • Jackson County’s 2014 voter adopted ban on genetically engineered crops
  • Additionally, the legislation is so broad, it could impact numerous existing Oregon Department of Agriculture authorities that help protect clean water, prevent livestock disease outbreaks and more.
Such ‘regulatory takings’ legislation is straight out of the right wing anti-government/anti-environment playbook and only serves to protect the most polluting agricultural industries and harmful practices, not most Oregon family farmers.

One amendment under discussion would make the bill only apply to new regulations adopted after January 1, 2016. This is still terrible public policy. While it would not overturn pre-existing laws or rules, it would preemptively tie the hands of state agencies and local governments, and create a ‘chilling effect’ on new regulations intended to protect the environment from, and prevent harmful impacts of, some farming practices. For example, even if HB 3212 only applied to new regulations or laws adopted after January 1, 2016, it could prevent:

  • Better regulation of pesticide spraying to protect streams, pollinators and sensitive habitats
  • Stronger regulation of genetically engineered (GE) crops to protect organic and other non-GE growers impacted by lax oversight over these crops currently
  • Rules to protect rainbow trout and stream health by requiring farmers to plant trees or other vegetation near streams to prevent erosion and provide shade
  • Animal welfare standards needed to provide animals on factory farms better living conditions.
  • Oregon has a long history of showing leadership on adopting such reforms, including banning gestation crates for sows and requiring larger cage sizes for laying hens.

What you can do: HB 3212 already passed the House, but is up for a hearing and possible committee vote at 1pm on Monday, June 1 in the Senate Business and Transportation Committee. Please call and email your State Senator and urge them to oppose HB 3212, even if it is amended to just apply to future regulations. As Senate President, Senator Peter Courtney is a key player on whether this bill moves forward or not. Also, please consider

attending the hearing on June 1 and testifying in opposition. Senator Courtney's email address is: and his phone number is: 503-986-1600.

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