congress

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill today that could repeal efforts to label food containing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

A couple of states have passed laws requiring labels on food containing GMOs. In Oregon, Jackson and Josephine counties have GMO crop bans in place. A group in Lane County is collecting signatures for a ballot measure against GMOs. But these local efforts could be undone by a bill making its way through Congress. The legislation would prevent states from passing laws mandating labels on foods containing GMOs.

Vigils are being held across the country Tuesday, including in Eugene, to show opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline. This week the U.S. Senate could approve legislation for the pipeline. President Barack Obama has indicated he will veto it.

The pipeline would move heavy crude from Canada's tar sands region through the U.S. to the Texas Gulf Coast. Supporters say it will create jobs and lower fuel prices.

Debra McGee is an activist with the No KXL Pipeline group in Lane County. She says they want Congress and the President to focus on clean energy projects.

http://defazio.house.gov/

Oregon Representative Peter DeFazio says he strongly opposes a bill that would give President Obama the authority to fast track U.S. trade deals.

According to DeFazio, fast track authority grants power to the executive branch to negotiate free trade agreements with little congressional input. He says when a free trade agreement is submitted this way, Congress must pass it within 90-days with an up or down vote, no amendments, and limited debate. 

USGS

Recent changes made to the nation's flood insurance program could cost Oregon homeowners tens of thousands of dollars a year.

After paying out huge insurance claims for storms like Hurricane Sandy and Katrina, the National Flood Insurance Program is about $25-billion in the hole. Congress passed a reform act in 2012 that took effect this October. The Director of the Lincoln County Planning and Development Department is Onno Husing. He says Congress didn't fix the problem, but passed the cost onto homeowners and buyers.

U.S. House of Representatives

Representative Peter DeFazio was in Eugene today (Friday) to give a recap of the government shutdown and look forward to the next legislative hurdles.

Congressman DeFazio expressed relief to be at home for a long weekend, and to be done with what he called the disruptive, unnecessary and expensive shutdown. DeFazio said tourists, timber workers and retirees were among those who contacted him with questions and concerns over the past three weeks. He said the shutdown caused a broad range of unexpected consequences.

Rachael McDonald

The Republican-controlled House has approved a bill to sharply increase logging in national forests. It includes a plan drafted by members of Oregon's congressional delegation to raise money for beleaguered counties.

The O & C Bill sets aside about million acres of Oregon's public land for preservation. Another million or so would be managed under the state forest practices act. Timber harvest revenue would help counties like Lane. Sid Leiken is Chair of the Lane County Board of Commissioners.