House Passes Logging Bill

Sep 23, 2013

Old growth trees in Oregon's coastal forest.
Credit Rachael McDonald

The Republican-controlled House has approved a bill to sharply increase logging in national forests. It includes a plan drafted by members of Oregon's congressional delegation to raise money for beleaguered counties.

The O & C Bill sets aside about million acres of Oregon's public land for preservation. Another million or so would be managed under the state forest practices act. Timber harvest revenue would help counties like Lane. Sid Leiken is Chair of the Lane County Board of Commissioners.

Leiken: "You know, this is step one. I don't think we can do cartwheels yet but I think anytime you can get a vote like this coming out of the house side and with this kind of number to me that's positive and again we'll just wait to see what happens on the Senate side."

The measure is expected to die in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is crafting his own bill to help raise revenue for counties with increased logging on public lands.

Conservation groups are critical of the House bill. Nick Cady is with Eugene-based Cascadia Wildlands.

Cady: " I think this bill demonstrates how out of step the House is with their constituencies and the tendency of these parties to favor kind of dying and destructive industries over the public's interest in recreation, clean water and overall quality of life."

The White House has threatened to veto the bill, which was approved on a 244-173 vote.