The U.S. House has passed legislation that would increase timber production both on national forests and on the former railroad properties in western Oregon known as the O&C lands.
That bill, named the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act, would dramatically increase the amount of timber that’s taken each year from national forestland, and would send much needed revenue to rural counties.
The bill also includes a provision authored by Oregon representatives Peter Defazio, Kurt Schrader and Greg Walden that deals specifically with the O&C lands. That provision would open roughly a million acres to timber production and establish permanent protection another million acres of old growth.
Many are expecting the bill to face an upclimb in the Senate. Earlier this week, the White House signaled that President Obama would likely veto the measure over concerns it undermines existing environmental law.
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden is crafting his own legislation dealing specifically with the O&C lands. That plan could be unveiled as early as next month.