Local government

Wyden schedules virtual town hall on proposed Owyhee legislation

ONTARIO – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, will sponsor a virtual people’s town hall session Tuesday, Oct. 31, at noon.

The live meeting will focus on the Community Empowerment for the Owyhee Act, legislation sponsored by Wyden providing a multi-use public land management blueprint for the Owyhee Canyonlands.

“This landmark Owyhee legislation shows the entire country how a rural Oregon community can come together to preserve both a natural treasure and a rich agriculture heritage that generates jobs,” Wyden said.

The virtual town hall can be watched at https://www.facebook.com/events/880972176373168/

To RSVP to ask a question during the session, go online to https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScw_zg8TbPK6FfSMjS8uSwFSVEk7t8acZeoYf7tXkXPMG4jOQ/viewform to sign up.

The legislation, which now is in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, will protect more than a million acres of public land in Malheur County under a wilderness area designation but will also allow ranchers to operate inside protected areas.

The bill also creates the Malheur CEO Group, consisting of ranchers, conservationists, tribes and other stakeholders to manage conservation efforts in the wildness areas.

Wyden led an effort to reach a landmark deal between ranchers, conservationists and environmentalists regarding the Canyonlands three years ago. That deal was the genesis of the Community Empowerment for the Owyhee Act.

“The Malheur CEO ACT is the product of a local process driven by ranchers, conservationists and tribal leaders putting the “Oregon Way” into practice by rolling up their sleeves and designing solid solutions,” said Wyden.

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