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Petition for Rulemaking

Petition for Rule Amendment or Rulemaking: Public Comment Period Re-opened

Petition for Rulemaking

On October 5, 2020, Stand Up to Factory Farms ("Petitioners") (a coalition comprised of Columbia Riverkeeper, Food & Water Watch, WaterWatch of Oregon, Friends of Family Farmers, Center for Food Safety, Center for Biological Diversity, Farm Forward, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Humane Voters Oregon, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, and Oregon Rural Action) submitted a petition for the Water Resources Commission ("Commission") to conduct rulemaking.

The Petitioners request the Commission "prohibit new or expanded exempt uses for stockwatering in the Ordnance CGWAs" through amendment, by rule, of the Commission's Order dated April 2, 1976. The order is referenced in OAR 690-507-0070(3)(a) which states:

(3) Groundwater: Appropriation and use of groundwater in the Columbia-Umatilla Plateau subbasin shall comply with the following provisions:

(a) Groundwater resources of the basalt aquifer and shallow gravel aquifer within the Ordnance Critical Groundwater Area are closed to further appropriation by Order of the Director dated April 2, 1976;

The Petitioners seek an amendment of the order by rule as follows:

Effective [date of Petition], the Ordnance Gravel Critical Ground Water Area and the Ordnance Basalt Critical Ground Water Area are closed to further appropriation of ground water in excess of 5,000 gallons per day under the "stockwatering" exemption in ORS 537.545(1)(a).

A copy of the petition and attachments is accessible here.

Invitation to Comment

The OWRD is re-opening the public comment period on the petition for rule amendment or rulemaking. Written public comments are invited on the petition and the rule as proposed by the Petitioners, including whether options exist for achieving the rule's substantive goals in a way that reduces the negative economic impact on businesses.

Public comments will be accepted until 5:00 PM on December 1, 2020. The OWRD will consider all comments received by the deadline when preparing a recommendation for the Commission. Written comments can be submitted via mail to:

Breeze Potter, Oregon Water Resources Department
725 Summer St. NE, Suite A,
Salem, OR 97301-1271

Or interested persons may submit written comments via email to:

We have received several requests to provide comments that we have received to date. We have posted the comments here. There are a large number of files so they are compressed and separated into several folders for download. If you have trouble viewing them, please contact Breeze Potter for assistance.

Next Steps

The Commission is required by law to make a decision on the petition within 90 days. It is anticipated the Commission will take action on the petition at a special meeting scheduled for December 15, 2020 from 8:30 AM to 10:30 AM. At that time, the Commission will vote to either deny the petition in writing or initiate rulemaking proceedings. The Commission will not be accepting additional public comment (either oral or written) at the meeting.

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