No sign of the bill or a press release on Wyden’s site, yet, but The Oregonian has a link to the release. Excerpt:
Wyden’s legislation, called The Oregon and California Land Grant Act of 2013, amends the
original Oregon and California Lands Act passed in 1937. Compared to the last ten years it
would roughly double timber harvests on O&C lands for decades to come. At the same time, the
bill would permanently protect old growth trees, ensure habitat for sensitive species, and put in
place strong safeguards for drinking water and fisheries.
The legislation requires the Secretary of the Interior to provide a sustained yield of timber in
forestry emphasis areas, while taking the most controversial harvests off the table, ensuring that
old growth stands in moist forests currently over 120 years old and trees over 150 years old
across the O&C landscape cannot be harvested.
While keeping the O&C lands under the protection of federal environmental laws, the bill
proposes streamlining the environmental review of timber sales by:
· Improving timelines for environmental and judicial reviews;
· Eliminating the individual environmental impact statements for each timber sale and replacing
them with two large-scale environmental impact statements – one each for dry and moist forests
– covering 10 years of timber sales;
· Requiring better coordination between federal agencies during environmental reviews; and
· Requiring upfront studies of areas to prioritize treatments.
The bill would also permanently protect nearly a million acres of conservations areas that
would be managed for the benefit of old growth trees, native wildlife, recreation and tourism.
In the conservation areas, road building would be limited and mining prohibited. Timber
harvests would be limited to improving habitat and forest health.
Finally, the bill provides new ways to consolidate land ownership and reduce the
checkerboard of public and private lands across Western Oregon.
Senator Wyden will introduce companion legislation to this bill that will extend long term
funding to the counties which currently receive PILT, SRS, and similar payments, ensuring that
communities who produce energy, minerals and timber and other resources that benefit the entire
country are fairly compensated for the local impacts of that work. The federal government owes
these communities, and other resource producing communities too much to allow county
payments to end.
Excerpt from press release from The American Forest Resource Council, Associated Oregon Loggers, Douglas Timber Operators and Southern Oregon Timber Industries Association:
“At first glance, it appears that Senator Wyden’s proposal falls short of providing our communities the level of legal certainty, jobs, and county revenues they deserve and have been promised,” said Partin. “While it won’t be easy, we look forward to working with Senator Wyden and the entire Oregon delegation to find a comprehensive and permanent solution. Our communities absolutely need meaningful reforms to eliminate the broken policies that have resulted in endless paralysis and failed both Oregon and our federal forests for the past twenty years.”