New wave energy bills to clean up the way offshore wave energy sites are picked and making sure that wave energy companies retrieve their devices if they don’t work out, are on their way to Governor Kitzhaber’s desk for signature.
Bills 605 and 606 were quickly formulated and assigned to committee hearings by Oregon’s Coastal Caucus of local senators and representatives which includes Representative David Gomberg in the House and Senator Arnie Roblan in the Senate. Bill 605 is a reaction to Land Conservation and Development Commission staff jiggering the system that established an additional wave energy site off Pacific City that was rejected by a process that took three years, countless meetings, and thousands of pages of testimony. Lincoln County Commissioner and supporter of both bills Terry Thompson said “With a last minute maneuver by LCDC staff acting on its own, they established the additional site without talking to anybody. That’s not how the process was supposed to work.” Bill 605 mandates that wave energy site proposals be referred to the Ocean Policy Advisory Committee before any final decision is made; not solely by any agency staff that wants to “slip another one in there.” Representative David Gomberg as co-sponsor of the bill, said he fully concurs with that assessment. Gomberg said, “I have constituents who served on OPAC and TSPAC. For the better part of three years, they held meetings, organized hearings, and hosted Town Halls. Hundreds of people and thousands of hours were involved. If we want to encourage confidence in government, encourage good people to share their time and expertise, or encourage meaningful participation by small communities in decisions that affect them, the recommendations of our advisory groups need to be taken seriously.”
Gomberg also supported Bill 606 which mandates that any wave energy company that places a wave energy device or devices in waters off the Oregon Coast to be bonded and held responsible for its removal if the device or devices are no longer being tested or producing electricity. Senator Arnie Roblan and the Coastal Caucus also put their shoulder into getting the bill through the Legislature.