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    Wyden discusses offshore wind energy, other topics in town hall


    June 10, 2022 - Hilary Dorsey Country Media

     

      U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden held a virtual town hall for Lincoln County on Saturday, May 28. Wyden discussed concerns of offshore wind energy in relation to commercial and recreational fishing, the Equality Act and being available for the public.

      Wyden said people are concerned about climate change measures in regard to the ocean. Local communities and fishing communities need to be at the center of discussions on offshore wind projects, Wyden added.

      Fishing families are concerned that building any type of infrastructure is going to impact their ability to fish.

      "We've already indicated that BOEM – the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management – has got to be involved in every step of the way," Wyden said. "We've got to follow the science, get the answer done right."

      Wyden said there are two important interests with this issue – the environment and fishing families.

      "I'm not representing BOEM here," Wyden said. "I'm representing you and four million people that expect people like me not to buy into a bunch of high-powered lobbying and rhetoric that sounds good and doesn't necessarily do the job."

      A question was asked about the Equality Act not being passed yet. The bill would prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment and more.

      "To me, nobody should be fearful of discrimination because of who they are," Wyden said. "I've said that repeatedly on the floor."

      Wyden said he was the first member of the senate in support of marriage equality. Wyden and his colleagues are urging Google and Apple to prohibit apps from using data mining practices that could target individuals seeking abortion services.

      "I'm trying to lead right now," Wyden said. "Many of my colleagues have picked up the letter signed by over 40 senators that we initiated a couple days ago asking Google to stop making this kind of information available."

      When Wyden became Oregon's U.S. senator, he committed to having open town hall meetings in every county every year. During the first year of the Trump administration, he had 81 town hall meetings across the state.

      "The pandemic arrived and suddenly everyone was told to go home and mask," Wyden said. "Many elected officials just sort of vanished. What I've done is try to figure out a way to get the maximum contact I could, given the public health situation."

      Wyden hopes to start having hybrid meetings soon, where the public can discuss their concerns in person or over the phone.

      "Every single day, I'm looking for ways to throw open the doors of government," Wyden said.

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