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Obama Administration Will Shift Forest Service Policy

The stimulus bill that passed the House last week directed more than a billion dollars to the U.S. Forest Service.

Portland Democrat Ron Wyden wants to keep Forest Service funding in the Senate stimulus bill too.

And Monday, the Obama administration signaled it wants a bigger budget for the Forest Service.

Central Oregon correspondent Ethan Lindsey reports.

Environmentalists love President Obama’s focus on climate change and carbon emissions.

On OPB’s Think Out Loud, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the U.S. Forest Service will incorporate new climate change policies.

Tom Vilsack: “Forests can play an integral role in the issue of climate change and I think they have a very significant and important role to play in terms of water.”

Vilsack said the agency's fight against global warming wouldn’t come at the expense of the timber industry.  He wants additional funding for forest management and wildfire fighting.

Tom Vilsack: “That general maintenance budget is being robbed, to pay for the cost of forest fires, which means we can’t do as good a job as we need to do of managing the forests, which results in turn, of more fires and more intense fires.”

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