Oregon Breweries Call on Congress to Pass Malheur Community Empowerment for the Owyhee Act

Collaborative Legislation Would Protect the Owyhee Canyonlands


December 15, 2020

Contact: Colin Cochran, 503-464-6011, ccochran@hilltoppublicsolutions.com

Over 30 breweries across Oregon are calling on Congress to use the final weeks of the year to pass the Malheur Community Empowerment for Owyhee Act (S. 2828). This bill, brought together through a collaborative, community-driven process that included ranchers, conservationists, recreationist, and businesses, would protect the most important ecological, cultural, and recreational public lands in Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands and provide economic development opportunities to Malheur County’s rural communities at a time when it is needed most.

“We live and brew in Oregon because of the beautiful landscapes here, our rivers and public lands that are here for all to enjoy,” said Alex Beard, co-owner of Sasquatch Brewing Co. “These special places like the Owyhee Canyonlands make Oregon the great state we know and love, and safeguarding these lands and waters is critical to our economy, health, and communities.” 

The effort to preserve the Owyhee Canyonlands has been going for decades. Due to conservation legislation stalling in Congress, local advocates urged the Obama administration to designate the region as a national monument. Now, in the final days of the 116th Congress and the Trump administration, stakeholders believe there is a critical opportunity to preserve the area through legislation.

According to the Oregon Brewers Guild, the Oregon brewing industry supports more than 31,000 jobs directly and indirectly and contributes $4.49 billion to the state’s economy each year. In turn, Oregon craft brewing companies give back to their communities, donating millions of dollars to Oregon-based causes, and adding to the critical tourism industry that drives the economy of our state.

Mike Frederick, brew master at Chetco Brewing Company added, “Protecting public lands and rivers like the Owyhee Canyonlands is common sense – our customers and our employees come to Oregon for the great outdoors adventures, and they stay for the beer. We are proud to live and work in Oregon, and hope Congress will continue to protect special places like the Owyhee for future generations.”

The letter states, “We are at a crossroads. The wildness of the Owyhee has preserved it for generations, but its remoteness will no longer protect it: development pressure and impacts are coming. We respectfully ask you to have the foresight to permanently protect this special place for all Oregonians, now and into the future.

“We thank you for your strong effort in protecting Oregon’s most important public lands and waters, and we look forward to working with you to do the same in the Owyhee Canyonlands. We’re confident that together we can safeguard the Owyhee and keep Oregon healthy and thriving for our communities today and for future generations.”

Read on to see why breweries are urging our elected leaders to act quickly on this important legislation.