Rep. Greg Walden's Central Oregon Water and Jobs Security Act received a legislative hearing today, an important step in the process of advancing the bill in the House of Representatives.
H.R. 2060 is a no-cost bill that would ensure Prineville has enough water to attract new jobs, clear the way for clean hydropower at Bowman Dam, and help spark important conservation efforts on McKay Creek. Crook County has the highest unemployment rate in the state at 15.1 percent.
The construction of the hydropower project would employ about 50 construction workers for two construction seasons and provide approximately $140,000 in annual property tax revenue to Crook County. Prineville is also courting new technology projects similar to the Facebook data center, but they need access to adequate water, which the bill provides.
Prineville City Manager Steve Forrester and Dan Gardner, a representative from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, both testified in support of the bill. Their respective testimonies are attached.
"If you want to do a no-cost, job creating, clean energy piece of legislation, this is it," Rep. Walden said.
"There are other entities besides Facebook that has contacted this community and said, "We are real interested in locating there.' It's a bit like Lowe's follows Home Depot," Rep. Walden said. "Their decision is in large measure contingent upon whether or not there's adequate water available."
"It's time to act," Rep. Walden said.