Siltcoos Outlet Lagoon - Florence Oregon

Oil Drills Off The Oregon Coast?; City to Remove Asbestos; Special Election Ballot; Dunes City Talks Water;

Oil Drills Could Be Coming To Coast

Conservationist are up in arms at the possibility that bans recently lifted by the trump administration may mean that Oregon waters could soon be home to oil and gas drillers.  The Interior Department is proposing opening up 90 percent of federal waters to oil and gas exploration which includes the entire coast line of Oregon.  The 5-year proposal would open up 47 lease sales which is the largest in our history.  Steve Mashuda is the managing attorney for Earth Justice and he says the public will have to weigh in on this proposal

“It’s very important that people stand up, let their voices be heard, let the administration know that we’re not willing to sacrifice our oceans for big oil.”

A 60-day public comment period on regulations.gov will begin next week. A public hearing is set for February 6th in Salem. There hasn’t been an offshore lease sale in federal waters off of Oregon or Washington since 1964.  Mashuda says there are fears of another catastrophic spill occurring in our offshore waters.

“We saw it in the Gulf most recently in 2010. People don’t want that and business owners don’t want that, fisherman don’t want that, and so there’s really a large and bipartisan opposition to drilling for oil in these biologically rich waters.”

While offshore drilling can mean a boom for coastal cities like Florence, critics worry that the environmental cost is not worth the economic gain.

Asbestos Abatement For City Hall

Part of the city hall construction project will include the necessity to hire an abatement company to complete the task of removing asbestos that was used in the building when it was first built.  The city will look at entering into a $57,000 contract to have the unsafe materials removed.  The city has chosen the low bid contractor for the project and will likely approve moving into a not to exceed contract at the city council meeting on Monday.

Special Election Ballot

Ballots for a January 23 special election have been mailed out according to Cheryl Betschart, Lane County Clerk.  There is only one item on the ballot and that is measure 101.  The measure is to adopt the funding policy for a percentage of the medicare expansion that will be decreased over time under the Trump administration.  The funding was secured in the legislature, but republicans said it should be given approval by the voters and garnered enough signatures to hold a special election.  Funding is set to drop to 6% to 94% this year under the scaled back Obamacare plan and another decrease to 93% in 2019 and 90% in 2020.  A yes vote on the ballot will mean that 5 measures on HB 2391 that account for the supplemental funding would stay in the new law and a no vote would repeal those same 5 measures.  The portion of the bill that covers funding has been put on hold since a ballot referendum automatically freezes the portions of the bill under consideration.

Water Rights Agreement

Dunes City will tackle several items on their agenda Tuesday evening.  The city will be appointing a council president along with several other positions including a budget officer and members of the planning commission.  They will also be discussing an agreement to enter into a water right program between the city and South Coast Water District.