I urge everybody who is interested in whether the River Democracy Act is a good idea to read the proposed legislation before you make up your mind. In particular, Section 5 of the bill (Senate Bill 192) specifically addresses many of the criticisms that I have seen in letters here in the Chieftain and in the county commissioners' letter to Sen. Ron Wyden.

Private property and water rights are specifically protected. Wildfire management and restoration is explicitly authorized. Management plans for the lands covered by the RDA are to be developed in cooperation with local governments and tribes. And, in terms of economic and conservation benefits, the Act sets up a $30 million fund for riparian restoration.

To me, it sounds like a pretty good deal for rural Oregon, including our beautiful Wallowa. Please take a close look at Section 5 of the bill.

Kate O'Neill


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