Congress may be close to funding county timber payments for one more year.
The Senate passed a transportation bill Wednesday that included an extension of the rural aid program. The payments go to counties that have lost revenue from timber sales on federal land. Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden wrote the amendment that extends the aid program for one year.
Some lawmakers have called for more logging on federal land to replace the aid program. But Wyden says that wouldn’t help counties in the short-term.
“We’ve got something for the here and now. We’ve got something that can help hard-hit rural communities who are about to take another shellacking here,” he said.
Oregon Representative Greg Walden said in a statement that he is delighted the amendment passed. And Walden said the top House leadership is committed to funding a short-term extension of the program. The House returns from recess next week.