The West has been in a water battle for decades, and water use laws are complex. Local communities, together with water law experts, should be the ones to hammer out the agreements that local communities will have to abide by and enforce.
Any water-use agreement that all parties agree to will receive any and all support from me that’s necessary to get State approval. In addition, I will bring my influence to bear in gaining the approval of the federal government, if such a step is necessary.
I am a firm believer in local control. I will trust that you and your community know what you’re about when you make land and water use agreements. Oregon should give you all the assistance you need including resources such as experts, law, history, and the players involved in any land and water rights agreements.
When it comes to federal lands, I have studied this issue in general a good deal and am familiar with what can happen when stewardship changes hands. In the case of transfering ownership to the State of Oregon, one serious result could be the sale of Oregon lands in order to balance the budget, as required. The State is far more likely to see off a piece of land east of the Cascades, where there are fewer people to use it, than one near Portland. It would be much easier to lose our public lands if they are under State control.
In addition, it would be highly doubtful that ownership would go to local communities or people. The State would be obligated to receive as much as possible from the sale, so it would be much more likely to go to a tech CEO or foreign mogul for their personal use, than to a local person. That would be the end of our access to that piece of land.
Should public lands be owned by the county or city, these are governments that can change rapidly when an area has an influx of people from other states or areas of Oregon. Commissioners that originally waned to keep land for public use could find their decisions overturned by later commissioners interested in owning it themselves and putting it on the auction block. Such land is priced way out of reach of most of us who live here locally. While we may be angry with decision made by BLM or the NPS, and rightly so, they are still the best provision we’ve got that our natural resources and assets will remain intact and be managed sustainably for our children’s children. I will fight for the voice of our local communities to be heard when dealing with the management of State and Federal land within this district.