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Wyden Introduces Eastside Forest Bill

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Brett Cole, Oregon News Service
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Senator Ron Wyden's long-awaited bill to promote logging on national forests in Eastern Oregon has cleared its first legislative hurdle.

The Oregon Democrat's Senate Natural Resource's Committee approved the bill Thursday in Washington, D.C.

Timber industry and conservation groups that had once supported Wyden's efforts to use logging to promote healthier national forests while helping small mills survive are not happy with the latest changes. Tom Partin of the American Forest Resources Council says it puts ecological restoration ahead of economic considerations.

Steve Pedery of Oregon Wild says the bill lifts important protections for old growth forests.

Pedery: "We had hoped we would have a bill that sets this model that we would work to restore environmental health and produce timber as a byproduct. Having a Democratic senator from Oregon pushing legislation that says we're going to log trees up to 200 years old to pay for timber sales, essentially subsidize the timber industry, that's not a good precedent to have out there."

Wyden's office says the bill allows some old growth harvest to pay for thinning projects, but those provisions came at the suggestion of leading forest scientists.
 

Audio credit: Oregon News Service

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s former News Director. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000. After reporting for the Northwest News Network and KAZU, Rachael returned to KLCC in 2007 as Morning Edition host and a general assignment reporter covering politics, the environment, education, and the arts. She was hired as KLCC News Director in 2018. Rachael departed KLCC in June, 2022.
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