U.S. Rep. Greg Walden from Oregon's 2nd District today released the following statement on support from county commissioners and public safety officials for bipartisan forestry legislation he co-authored that is moving through Congress:
“I appreciate the support for our bipartisan forestry plan from these elected officials today. Our common-sense plan would put people back to work in the woods and provide certainty for local communities. Momentum is building to change our broken system—from local communities to the halls of Congress. This issue is too important to Oregonians to be held up any longer. We have to move quickly to get this done for our state. We’re seeing too many fires, consume too much forestland, filling our skies with smoke all summer long. Meanwhile, we spend millions and millions fighting fire. This broken system has to change.
“Our bipartisan plan was approved by the House Natural Resources Committee a few weeks ago, and I have a commitment from the House leadership that it will be considered by the full House in September. Now is the time to get this done for Oregon.”
Thursday, elected officials from financially hard hit counties in Southern Oregon—including Jackson and Josephine Counties—held a press conference in support of the bipartisan O&C Trust, Conservation and Jobs plan offered by Walden and two of his colleagues from Oregon, Reps. Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader. Their proposal would create jobs, provide revenues to failing Oregon counties, help sustain the local manufacturing base, save the federal government hundreds of millions of dollars, and protect water, fish, and old growth.
The plan was approved by the House Natural Resources Committee as part of a larger forestry bill, the Restoring Healthy Forests For Healthy Communities Act (H.R. 1526). The bill renews the federal government’s commitment to manage federal forests for the benefit of rural communities, improves forest health, and helps prevent catastrophic wildfires like the ones burning around Oregon.