Organic Consumers Association

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State Lets Mega-Dairy Use Loophole to Tap Endangered Oregon Aquifer

Documents obtained by the Statesman Journal show Gov. Kate Brown, her staff and the directors of three state agencies knew the dairy would fall back on the loophole if a proposed water trade was challenged.

A year after it opened, Oregon’s second-largest dairy has not secured rights to the nearly 1 million gallons of water per day it needs for its thousands of cows and to process milk.

Instead, Lost Valley Farm near Boardman moved ahead without the necessary permits, using a loophole in Oregon law to pull water out of an underground aquifer that’s been off limits to new wells for 42 years, alarming neighboring farmers who say their water supplies are now at risk.

Documents obtained by the Statesman Journal show Gov. Kate Brown, her staff and the directors of three state agencies knew the dairy would fall back on the loophole if a proposed water trade was challenged.

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