"GOP Pushing for More Logging in National Forests"

"A century-old federal program that compensates counties straddling huge tracts of nontaxable national forests has expired, and House Republicans are using its reauthorization to push for opening the land to more logging and mining."

"The GOP wants to shift the forest-payment program closer to its 1908 origin, when the federal government directly split revenue from timber, mining and other activities to pay for local schools and roads in Washington state and around the country.

Environmentalists and the U.S. Forest Service oppose the changes, including proposals to re-link payments to the amount of timber or minerals extracted and to set first-ever minimum timber-harvest targets for each national forest.

Currently, logging in national forests produces about 3 billion board feet of timber annually, a 75 percent drop from its peak 20 years ago."

Kyung M. Song reports for the McClatchy-Tribune News Service October 3, 2011.

Source: McClatchy, 10/04/2011