Congress is back in session this week. The House will discuss two proposals that would increase logging in federal forests to raise money for struggling timber counties.
Washington Republican Doc Hastings chairs the House Natural Resource committee. Hastings says Northwest timber counties are running out of money. And it’s difficult for them to raise revenue given their depressed economies.
So he’s introducing a bill that would require logging on all federal forest land unless its designated as a wilderness area. And give 25 percent of the profits to the counties. “It seems to me that utilizing a basic resource, a wealth-creating resource like timber, is the proper way to go. That’s what creates jobs in the long run.”
Oregon Democrat Peter Defazio and Republican Greg Walden have a more limited timber proposal on the table this week. It would move some Oregon forests into a trust managed for logging. and set aside other parcels for conservation. A spokesman for the group Oregon Wild says both bills would allow clearcutting on lands the public loves and are unlikely to win support in the Senate.
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