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Public lands bills gain steam

Whitsett pleased with boost for OSP
By Ty Beaver, Herald and News 1/13/09

   Following is news regarding the Oregon Legislature and the U.S. Congress.
   Federal legislation that includes seven public lands bills written by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D. Ore., are closer to a vote in the U.S. Senate.
   Included is creation of the Soda Mountain Wilderness in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and grazing limits within related federal lands.
   The omnibus bill received more votes than necessary to end discussion and move for a vote as early as this week.
   “After five years and well over a hundred meetings the Senate has finally overcome the procedural hurdles that have delayed action to safeguard some of Oregon’s most special places,” Wyden said in a press release.
   Newly elected U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D. Ore., lauded the bill and U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., indicted his support for the legislation and intention to vote for it when it reaches the U.S. House of Representatives.
Andrew Whelan , a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., said the representative is not opposed to the legislation, but he would rather have Congress considering the omnibus’ various projects individually.
Whitsett pleased with boost for OSP
   State Sen. Doug Whitsett, R-Klamath Falls, said he’s glad that Klamath County will be among the first areas to benefit from a boost in funding for the Oregon State Police.
   The state lawmaker met with OSP superintendent Tim McLain last week . McLain swore in 17 new troopers earlier this month, and the OSP station in Klamath Falls will receive one of those troopers before the end of the month.
   Whitsett, who pushed for increased trooper numbers in the last legislative session, said the new trooper should increase staffing in the county enough to provide 24-hour coverage of the county’s highways.
   T he state senator would like to see more OSP troopers come to the area once the state has the resources to bring them in.
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