Congress needs to allow more logging on federal lands in return for boosting timber payments to rural counties, legislation already has bipartisan support, says Oregon senator Wyden

LOS ANGELES , January 11, 2012 () –

The U.S. Congress needs to renew federal timber payments to financially struggling rural counties, and in return to open federal lands to more logging, according to an Oregon senator, the Mail Tribune reported Jan. 11.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said he believes a growing market for biomass fuels can boost Oregon's economy.

Numerous Democratic and Republican senators also support the reauthorization of federal timber payments to rural counties, Wyden told the Mail Tribune.

In counties with large tracts of federally owned land, counties depend on timber payments to fund fire departments, police and schools. That money will disappear unless Congress reauthorizes the payments, Wyden said.

Wyden spoke to the Mail Tribune in Medford, Oregon, during a series of visits to Oregon communities before the next Congressional session later in January. The economy is the foremost issue on people's minds, he said.

In Jackson County, payments for this fiscal year have dropped to US$11 million, are set to drop to $7 million next year and to fall to zero after that.

The primary source of this article is the Mail Tribune, Medford, Oregon, on Jan. 11, 2012.

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