Salem, OR — After months of tireless grassroots advocacy from constituents, the Oregon legislature has sent SB 85, legislation to impose new restrictions on some Oregon factory farms, to Governor Kotek’s desk for signature. The bill passed the Senate on Tuesday (17-8) and the House of Representatives on Wednesday (31-19). The legislation will temporarily limit new factory farms’ exploitation of a groundwater use loophole for a mere five years, before requiring a new legislative fight to reinstate the limit; and it will enable — but not require — local governments to impose setbacks from residences.
Food & Water Watch Legal Director Tarah Heinzen issued the following statement:
“SB 85’s passage is a credit to the tireless work of Oregonians fighting for an end to factory farming in our state. This legislation is a step in the right direction, but this is not the end of the road. Despite hours of public testimony in support of a full moratorium on new and expanding factory farms, legislators watered the bill down to a handful of regulatory changes that don’t go far enough to protect our environment and communities. Legislators must take stronger action to protect Oregon from the factory farm threat — we will not stop until they do.”
A previous version of the bill, SB 85-1, drew broad support from farmers, activists, rural residents and more than 50 organizations. At a series of meetings this spring, Oregonians repeatedly turned out en masse to demand a moratorium on new and expanding factory farms driving farmers out of business, harming animals and polluting the climate and environment. The moratorium language was dropped from the bill last month.