Bill would hurt miners, others
To the editor:
Instead of protecting property rights of ranchers who are surface
owners on split estate lands, House Bill 3453 in the Oregon Legislature
actually weakens Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries
(DOGAMI) regulations, and adds a second state agency, Department of
State Lands, to administer mining. This situation will work to confuse
the regulations currently in place, and leave the surface owners more
vulnerable, not less, to impacts from mining. HB 3453 is not necessary,
would be costly to taxpayers, and it is not legal.
We expect Oregon’s congressional delegation to bicker occasionally.
But we figured there was universal agreement among them about the federal county payments program.
We are so naive.
County payments, which Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden helped create in 2000,
are supposed to help counties, including Baker, that lost hundreds of
thousands of dollars yearly when the amount of logging on federal land
plummeted starting in the early 1990s.
The closing of a school is, with rare exceptions, a sad occasion.
This is due, it seems to me, to the unique nature of schools.
No building seems as empty as a shuttered school, for the simple
reason that no building seems so full as one occupied by children who
are learning to add fractions and to subtract superfluous adverbs from
Playgrounds look particularly forlorn when deprived of kids. The
sight of a ball field with basepaths overrun by dandelions rather than
sneakers is a dismal one indeed.
So Oregon congressman Peter DeFazio thinks random checks of airline passengers’ carry-on bags are “really stupid.”
Well, we’ll take really stupid over a hijacking every time.
Fortunately, we haven’t had one of those in this country for 7ﬁ years.
The interesting thing here is that DeFazio, a 12-term Democrat from
Springfield whose district covers most of Oregon’s southwest quarter,
told the (Eugene) Register-Guard newspaper that he considers himself an
expert on airport security.
There’s scarcely a better way for the Oregon Legislature to scare
farmers and ranchers than to debate bills that mention water rights.
People in the ag business pay particular attention to such legislation.
Their scrutiny isn’t prompted by paranoia, either.
It’s awfully hard, after all, to run a farm or ranch without an ample supply of water.
For most producers in Baker County some of that water — most of it, in many cases — comes from rivers and streams.
Jobs are scarce in most places these days, but Baker County soon will have four pretty good ones available.
All are with the county’s road department.
In a confluence of retirements rare for the sheer durations
involved, four road department workers either have retired, or intend
to do so by May 28.
This winter has gotten a reputation, around here anyway, as
something of a skinflint. This allegation, whatever its meteorological
merits, sounds like the cruelest sort of lie when you’re stuck up to
your armpits in a drift.
Nor does it add to the tale’s plausibility that your forearms have
to endure their frigid submersion with nothing but skin for protection.
And skin gives up a lot, insulation-wise, to wool.
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