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Oregon Gets Short Shrift In Congress' Final Days


President George Bush said  Wednesday he will sign a hard-fought energy bill compromise. The bill sets higher mileage standards for cars, but for many Oregonians it's a disappointment.

That's because the billion dollar county payments program was removed from the bill before its passage.

Central Oregon correspondent Ethan Lindsey looks at how Congress has been treating the Northwest.


Republican Congressman Greg Walden called Washington 'dysfunctional.'

Here's why.

The county payments program sends more than a billion dollars a year to rural America, mostly to places that used to rely on timber money to get by.

So the expiration of the program in June could devastate Oregon counties.

The protected forest area of Mt Hood didn't get expanded, either.  Oregon's entire delegation wanted that.

So, on the overall cheat sheet of 'how Oregon made out in Congress this year', some say the state ended up in the losing column.

Steve Pedery is the director of Oregon Wild, a conservation group.

Steve Pedery: “Those two are so big that it certainly has been a tough session for Oregon on the environment. But I'm not sure I'd say it was just a tough session for Oregon. I think it's been a tough session for a lot of western states.”

Also, the U.S. Forest Service could see its budget cut if the Senate and President agree to the general budget passed in the House.