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Environment | Economy

Senate Republicans Adjust Columbia Water Plans

State Senator David Nelson is at it again. The Pendleton Republican Monday revived plans to draw more water from the Columbia River. Central Oregon correspondent Ethan Lindsey reports on what Republicans are calling 'Oregon Oil.'

Oregon doesn't have much oil. That's why Nelson and the Republicans say Oregon should use a resource it does have.


Last year, Nelson's plan to take more Columbia water for farms during the summer was shot down by the Governor.

But he says he has a new plan to sell Columbia water to other states - and he says it will gain support because it takes the water from below the Bonneville Dam.

Sen. David Nelson: “I don't want to harm fish, I don't want to harm tribal interests. I want to protect those things to the utmost. But if we have some excess, and we can use it for the public good, let's do it.”

The Governor's office says the proposal won't be a part of its water strategy and doesn't consider the Columbia River Oregon's to sell.

Still, the Republican says the idea could, in the future, generate close to a billion-dollars a year. He says that type of money can't be ignored.