In a Congress Where Little Happens, Progress on O&C Lands Could Be the Exception
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
The current, bitter bi-partisan nature of Congress has made it difficult for Congress to pass laws and get the business of the United States done. No doubt important land conservation bills, as well as other bills, have stalled in this quagmire.
But in the case of the O&C Land bill, we have a chance to counter the trend. Senator Wyden is the kind of leader that has shown an ability to overcome partisan politics, to find balanced solutions and to accomplish the country’s business. While Senator Wyden’s O&C bill still needs important adjustments to protect our key federal environmental laws, the bill also protects more than a million acres of our public lands and hundreds of miles of Oregon’s pristine rivers and clean drinking water .
This bill is the kind of balanced solution to a long-term problem that Congress should move, and we’re lucky that we have a champion Like Senator Wyden who knows how to move these kinds of bills through a difficult Congressional landscape.
Some have suggested that Senator Wyden’s move to Chairman of the Finance Committee may dim the bill’s prospects for passage. But the Senator is still a senior member of Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and Finance is a powerful position. And most importantly, he is the senior Senator from Oregon. Given the Senator’s commitment to resolving this tough issue, his skill for finding a path forward, and his overall influence and respect in Congress, we trust that there will be progress on this bill soon ; the next milepost would hopefully be a “mark-up” in late April or May.
In the meantime, Senator Wyden’s office is making refinements to the bill. We look forward to working with his staff on making changes we see as necessary and to a markup on the bill later this year.