June 23, 2021

Wyden Touts River Democracy Act at ENR National Parks Subcommittee Hearing

Wyden and expert witnesses make clear that the bill would protect against wildfires and ensure protection of private property, grazing rights

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today testified and questioned witnesses at the Energy and Natural Resources National Parks Subcommittee Hearing on his River Democracy Act.

“What I have done with [the River Democracy Act] is I’ve asked Oregonians to give me their ideas and their best suggestions for additional conservation efforts and opportunities to protect our rivers,” Wyden said. “The response was overwhelming – in just a few months, my office received over 15,000 nominations for rivers and streams that Oregonians felt strongly are worthy of Wild and Scenic River designations, which produced a bill that would protect nearly 4,700 miles of rivers and streams.”

“I have always tried to shorten the distance [between Washington, D.C. and Oregon] by throwing open the doors of government. . . I call it the Oregon Way. The River Democracy Act is another such effort to listen to the people of my home state in every nook and cranny of Oregon,” Wyden said, citing input from Grant, Deschutes, Umatilla, Josephine, Union, Clackamas and Jackson counties among the thousands of nominations he received statewide.

A video of Wyden’s opening remarks is available here.

Jennifer Eberlin, National Forest System Associate Deputy Chief at the U.S. Forest Service, also agreed that the bill gives federal agencies the flexibility to mitigate fire risks, allow for continued livestock grazing, respond to wildfires and help restore watersheds and infrastructure should a fire strike.

A video of Wyden’s exchange with the witnesses is available here.