"New Senate Bill Aims to End 'War' Over Eastern Ore. Forests"

"Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) today unveiled legislation to revamp management of 8.3 million acres in six national forests in eastern Oregon with the backing of both timber and conservation groups that have long battled over the land.

Wyden, chair of the Senate subcommittee that oversees forests, said the bill (pdf) is meant to resolve decades of 'war' over Oregon's forests that have left them 'choked' and unhealthy.

'This bill is also going to provide the long-term certainty required to restore each of the six east-side national forests, protect our most sensitive environmental assets and restore countless jobs in ... rural communities that are literally hanging on for their economic survival by their fingernails,' Wyden said.

He acknowledged that the bill, which requires timber harvest on hundreds of thousands of acres in its first three years, would face "significant challenges" but noted the range of groups backing the bill.
Noelle Straub reports for Greenwire December 16, 2009.

Source: Greenwire, 12/18/2009