Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
Senator Doug Whitsett
Oregon State Capitol
900 Court Street NE, S-302
Salem, Oregon 97310
June 14, 2005
Whitsett Sponsored Energy Siting Legislation Passes Senate with Unanimous Support
Salem – On Monday the Oregon Senate took a major step toward restoring the local voice in the
energy facility siting process when it passed Senate Bill 527 with unanimous support. The bill limits
the authority of the Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC) to engage in “super-siting,” a practice that
allowed the Council to site energy facilities by overriding state and local laws.
“The Senate’s passage of this legislation with unanimous support demonstrates the folly of placing
such expansive authority in the hands of an appointed board,” said Senator Doug Whitsett (R-Klamath
Falls), a chief-sponsor of the legislation. “Senate Bill 527 returns balance and fairness to energy
siting and restores the local voice to the process. That is a voice that is silenced by ‘super-siting.’”
Senate Bill 527 would require the Siting Council to consult with local government entities on land use
planning before simply overriding local land use laws. If the two are unable to come to an agreement,
the issue will be resolved by binding arbitration. The applicant and the public would retain the right
to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
“The problem with ‘super-siting’ is that if the Siting Council decides to override legal protections the
only way local communities can be heard is with a costly and time-consuming appeal to the Supreme
Court,” says Senator Whitsett. “The siting of the California Oregon Border plant is a prime example.
In that instance the Siting Council overrode Oregon water law, ignored public safety concerns relating
to seismic evaluations and disregarded local land use ordinances.”
In addition to coordination between local and state governments the bill also creates a task force on
regional energy planning, which will be key in developing a long-term energy policy. In addition
Senate Bill 527 requires environmental review including pubic hearings designed to explore
environmental impacts. Finally, the bill requires energy developers to disclose their previous history
and to disassemble the plant at the end of its useful life.
“This bill is a great victory for the citizens of Oregon,” says Senator Whitsett. “With Senate Bill 527
the Senate has said that the protections contained in Oregon’s laws must be respected, even by other
state governmental bodies.”
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM Pacific
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