Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) today announced a framework for legislation to resolve century old O&C Lands issues that he plans to introduce and see passed into law. Successful O&C legislation will create jobs in the woods, protect our clean water sources, old growth trees and habitats, and establish a permanent and stable source of revenue for O&C counties. The goal of this announcement is to get the greatest amount of local input while fleshing out the legislation.
“This is legislation that can pass the Congress and be signed by the President to increase timber jobs, protect the natural resources that Oregonians depend upon and provide an opportunity for rural communities to fund local services. This legislation will build bipartisan consensus by working within the framework of existing federal laws.” Wyden said.
Wyden, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has made passage of forestry reform legislation, for both the O&C lands and federal forest land on the east side of the Cascades, a top priority for this Congress. Wyden was a key architect of the only two major pieces of forestry legislation- the Healthy Forests Restoration Act and Secure Rural Schools and Counties Self-Determination Act – to become law over the past 20 years.
Governor John Kitzhaber said: “I want to thank Chairman Wyden for his strong leadership on this important issue, and for pushing forward a durable solution that provides adequate funds for county services, a stable and certain supply of timber and maintains protections for our forest and aquatic environments.”
His proposal would designate a substantial portion of the O&C lands for sustainable timber harvests while setting aside a roughly equivalent amount of land for permanent conservation. The plan ensures that the revenue from land marked for commercial harvest will be returned to the counties that host federal lands, minus costs to the government. Continue reading