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Wyden bill would boost logging to help counties

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By JEFF BARNARD

Associated Press

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden will announce his version of legislation aimed at easing the financial crisis gripping many rural counties. Though it would increase logging on federal land, it falls short of the amount needed to pull the counties out of the economic doldrums.

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — Sen. Ron Wyden has come out with his bill to boost logging on federal lands in Western Oregon to help struggling timber counties.

The bill would double timber production from the so-called O&C lands to more than 300 million board feet.

But that is less than half the logging needed to fill the funding gap for timber counties left by the expiration of a longstanding federal safety net.

The safety net made up for a decline in federal logging revenues shared with counties after logging was cut by 90 percent on national forests to protect salmon and the northern spotted owl.

Counties that relied on timber revenues have struggled to pay for public safety as voters resisted tax increases.

Wyden was to announce the bill Tuesday with Gov. John Kitzhaber.



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