As the State Turns

stateturnssymbolSlightly Hoppy, with Hints of Oh, Sh*t
Newly proposed regulations from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could potentially put a huge crick in the neck of brewers across Oregon, as well as other parts of the country. In an attempt to aid in the prevention of food-borne illnesses in both humans and livestock, the FDA is suggesting that all grain should be dried and packaged if it leaves a brewery in order to eventually be used as feed. Any human contact with the grain would be barred. Essentially forcing brewers to meet the same standards of handling as both pet food manufacturers and livestock handlers, the rule also calls for extensive additions in the record-keeping process for brewers.

Dismayed by what some say would wind up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars by attempting to fix a problem that doesn’t exist, many Oregon brewers say that the likely outcome will just be sending the grain to the dump instead of where it can be used.

Oregon State Representative Greg Walden has penned a letter to the FDA in opposition to the proposed rules, citing the largely negative effect it would have on both livestock and craft brewing industries in the state.

And, As for the Bitter Aftertaste?
In another possible hit to the liquid party industry, the—and get ready for this name—Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau wants anyone filling wine growlers to be approved as a “wine bottling house.” This would require any retailer in the growler biz to have federal approval for labeling, a host of new detailed record-keeping as well as inspections. Having based this decision on federal tax codes that require those packaging, bottling, or even repacking wine to have the proper permissions. The wine industry feels this is poised to crush small craft wine makers as well as growler operations being run by retailers.

In the immortal words of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party Leader Jimmy McMillian, “The rent is too damn high!” Regulations for one type of business being applied to another rarely seem to constitute a responsible approach by regulatory agencies.

Shock and Awe: Good News
University of Oregon alumni Samantha Stendal and Aaron Blanton have been recognized with the prestigious Peabody Award for a short video titled A Needed Response. The video in question references the infamous Steubenville rape case in which two football players were convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl while she was unconscious. The video itself, depicting a woman passed out on a couch, features a man approaching and saying, “Guess what I’m gonna do to her,” at which point he gets her a pillow, a glass of water, and covers her with a blanket.

With around 3 million views, the video has had a hugely positive impact by offering a clear, concise, and very human response to tragedy. The award is well-deserved. Check out the video here:

To Clear-Cut, or Not to Clear-Cut…
On one hand the Seneca Jones Timber Co. says clear-cutting is awesome because it’ll replant the whole area with Douglas firs; after all, they don’t do well when replanted in partial shade. Clear-cutting mimics nature, says one of the co-owners. So do attacks by giant, man-eating robotic sharks, but I won’t hold that against them. Now on the other hand, environmentalists accuse proponents of clear-cutting as ignorant of the way that the process fails to account for wildlife or the protection of water quality.

This particular battle is raging in Oregon as a result of bids to purchase almost 1,500 acres of Oregon’s coastal Elliott State Forest, which is just northeast of Coos Bay and has thus far remained free from the wrath of lumberjacks. Activists claim that the land is a habitat for over 60 species of birds, including a few on the endangered species list, as well as the Coho salmon. As public land, the area receives environmental protection. However, if a bid were accepted and ownership made private, although environmental laws would still apply, many feel the danger of abuse would greatly increase.

Exact surveys of wildlife have yet to be fully completed, which creates a scenario with many unknowns. What is clear, though, is that concerned parties are prepared to engage the situation with everything from legal action to civil disobedience. In a statement from the Cascadia Forest Defenders, whoever wins these lands will have a lot more than just treehuggers to deal with.