Oregon recently passed a law making it easier for holders of water permits or rights to withdraw surface water. House Bill 2189en, signed into law by Governor Kitzhaber on April 11, 2011, exempts such water users from the need to obtain a state removal or fill permit when changing the location of where surface water is withdrawn as long as the water is put to beneficial use and the change in location is authorized by the Oregon Water Resources Department. This is a state law exemption only and has no impact to potential requirements under the federal Clean Water Act.

For more information, contact Hong Huynh, a partner at Miller Nash LLP and the 2011 legislative contact for the Oregon State Bar Environment and Natural Resources Section.