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Environmental Update

OPB | Feb. 21, 2012 9:45 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 11:12 p.m.

Two new plans were introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives which could increase the revenue some counties receive from federal forestland.

Rural counties that used to rely on heavy on logging revenue have depended on federal money since environmental regulations limited the amount of timber that could be harvested on public lands. But those federal payments expired last year, and though President Barack Obama included more money for rural communities in his recent budget, there’s no guarantee those provisions will make it into the budget that Congress passes.

One new bill, introduced by Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA), would set minimums for how much timber and money that federal forests would have to generate.

A separate draft proposal, co-written by Oregon representatives Peter Defazio (D), Kurt Schrader (D), and Greg Walden (R), would transfer the management of some of Oregon’s federal forests to a public trust controlled by stakeholders.

How can counties that used to depend on timber fund themselves? Whose responsibility is it to raise that money — the county, the state, or the federal government?

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