Crapo, Wyden File Bill To Renew Timber County Payments

Feb 12, 2015

Idaho Republican Sen. Mike Crapo.
Credit U.S. Senate

A bill to renew federal subsidies to timber counties has been filed in the Senate.

The Secure Rural Schools program made up for federal timber revenues that declined as environmental protections reduced national forest logging, but it expired last year. Efforts to renew it failed in the lame-duck session of Congress.

The latest version was filed Thursday by Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden and Idaho Republican Mike Crapo.

It calls for sharing $360 million with more than 700 counties across the country. The program has been particularly important in Oregon timber counties, which shared nearly a third of the total.

The bill would restore funding for three years at 2011 levels. And it would provide full funding of the Payment In Lieu of Taxes program, which expired in 2013.