2007 ORS 537.170¹
Contested case hearing on application
  • final order
  • appeal

(1) Within 45 days after the Water Resources Director schedules a contested case hearing under ORS 537.153 (Review of application) (8), the Water Resources Department shall hold the contested case hearing. The issues to be considered in the contested case hearing shall be limited to issues identified by the administrative law judge.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of ORS chapter 183 pertaining to contested case proceedings, the parties to any contested case hearing initiated under this section shall be limited to:

(a) The applicant;

(b) Any person who timely filed a protest; and

(c) Any person who timely filed a request for standing under ORS 537.153 (Review of application) (5) and who requests to intervene in the contested case hearing prior to the start of the proceeding.

(3) The contested case proceeding shall be conducted in accordance with the applicable provisions of ORS chapter 183 except:

(a) As provided in subsections (1) and (2) of this section; and

(b) An interlocutory appeal under ORS 183.480 (Judicial review of agency orders) (3) shall not be allowed.

(4) If applicable, an application to appropriate water for the generation of electricity submitted under ORS 537.140 (Application for permit) shall be included in the consolidated review and hearings process under ORS 543.255 (Determination of cumulative impacts of proposed hydroelectric power projects).

(5) Each person submitting a protest or a request for standing shall raise all reasonably ascertainable issues and submit all reasonably available arguments supporting the person’s position by the close of the protest period. Failure to raise a reasonably ascertainable issue in a protest or in a hearing or failure to provide sufficient specificity to afford the Water Resources Department an opportunity to respond to the issue precludes judicial review based on that issue.

(6) If, after the contested case hearing or, if a hearing is not held, after the close of the period allowed to file a protest, the director determines that the proposed use does not comply with the standards set forth in ORS 543.017 (Minimum standards for development of hydroelectric power) or rules adopted by the Water Resources Commission under ORS 543.017 (Minimum standards for development of hydroelectric power) or would otherwise impair or be detrimental to the public interest, the director shall issue a final order rejecting the application or modifying the proposed final order to conform to the public interest. If, after the contested case hearing or, if a hearing is not held, after the close of the period allowed to file a protest, the director determines that the proposed use would not impair or be detrimental to the public interest, the director shall issue a final order approving the application or otherwise modifying the proposed final order. A final order may set forth any of the provisions or restrictions to be included in the permit concerning the use, control and management of the water to be appropriated for the project, including, but not limited to, a specification of reservoir operation and minimum releases to protect the public interest.

(7) If a contested case hearing is not held:

(a) Where the final order modifies the proposed final order, the applicant may request and the department shall schedule a contested case hearing as provided under subsection (3) of this section by submitting the information required for a protest under ORS 537.153 (Review of application) (6) within 14 days after the director issues the final order. However, the issues on which a contested case hearing may be requested and conducted under this paragraph shall be limited to issues based on the modifications to the proposed final order.

(b) Only the applicant or a protestant may appeal the provisions of the final order in the manner established in ORS chapter 183 for appeal of order other than contested cases.

(8) If the presumption of public interest under ORS 537.153 (Review of application) (2) is overcome, then before issuing a final order, the director or the commission, if applicable, shall make the final determination of whether the proposed use or the proposed use as modified in the proposed final order would impair or be detrimental to the public interest by considering:

(a) Conserving the highest use of the water for all purposes, including irrigation, domestic use, municipal water supply, power development, public recreation, protection of commercial and game fishing and wildlife, fire protection, mining, industrial purposes, navigation, scenic attraction or any other beneficial use to which the water may be applied for which it may have a special value to the public.

(b) The maximum economic development of the waters involved.

(c) The control of the waters of this state for all beneficial purposes, including drainage, sanitation and flood control.

(d) The amount of waters available for appropriation for beneficial use.

(e) The prevention of wasteful, uneconomic, impracticable or unreasonable use of the waters involved.

(f) All vested and inchoate rights to the waters of this state or to the use of the waters of this state, and the means necessary to protect such rights.

(g) The state water resources policy formulated under ORS 536.295 (Conditions for consideration of application for use not classified in basin program) to 536.350 (Delivery of water resources statement to certain public bodies) and 537.505 (Short title) to 537.534 (Rules for permitting and administering aquifer storage and recovery projects).

(9) Upon issuing a final order, the director shall notify the applicant and each person who submitted written comments or protests or otherwise requested notice of the final order and send a copy of the final order to any person who requested a copy and paid the fee required under ORS 536.050 (Fees) (1)(p). [Amended by 1955 c.707 §36; 1961 c.224 §12; 1963 c.378 §1; 1975 c.581 §26; 1985 c.569 §19; 1985 c.673 §30; 1995 c.416 §13; 1997 c.587 §6; 2003 c.75 §96]

Notes of Decisions

Phrase "impair or be detri­mental to public interest" in this sec­tion was sufficiently specific that Water Policy Review Board was not re­quired to adopt rules es­tab­lishing more definite standards before deciding whether to approve applica­tion for hydroelectric project. Steamboaters v. Winchester Water Control Dist., 69 Or App 596, 688 P2d 92 (1984), Sup Ct review denied

Applicant is not exempt from require­ment that protest of proposed order must be filed with Water Resources Depart­ment before judicial review of order in other than contested case. Lentz v. Water Resources Dept., 154 Or App 217, 962 P2d 41 (1998)

Law Review Cita­tions

4 EL 332, 333 (1974); 16 EL 583, 592 (1986); 21 EL 11, 133 (1991); 32 WLR 187 (1996)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Storage rights to store wa­ter for later beneficial use are not subordinate to later priority direct use rights unless made so by ex­plic­it condi­tions imposed on storage right, (1989) Vol 46, p 290

Chapter 537

Notes of Decisions

Water control district, in applying for wa­ter appropria­tion permit for hydroelectric project, was exempt from licensing pro­vi­sions of ORS 543.010 (Definitions for ORS 543.010 to 543.610) to 543.620 and needed only to comply with require­ments of this Chapter. Steamboaters v. Winchester Water Control Dist., 69 Or App 596, 688 P2d 92 (1984), Sup Ct review denied

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Reserva­tion to state of "all coal and other minerals" in deed of land by state as reserva­tion of geothermal resources, (1980) Vol 41, p 298

Law Review Cita­tions

11 EL 387 (1981); 16 EL 583, 592 (1986); 28 WLR 285 (1992)

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 537—Appropriation of Water Generally, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­537.­html (2007) (last ac­cessed Feb. 12, 2009).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2007, Chapter 537, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­537ano.­htm (2007) (last ac­cessed Feb. 12, 2009).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.