Bill Could Force Logging On Public Forestland

September 20, 2013

A bill that makes logging a requirement on some public forestland, speeding up the timber sales process and making it more difficult to challenge them is nearing a vote on the House floor. Co-sponsor Paul Gosar of Arizona says the bill will get badly needed income to rural timber counties, but the Congressional Budget Office says the counties would actually get less government money than they do now. And, Noah Matson of Defenders of Wildlife, says water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, and recreation would suffer if the bill is approved.

“They’re viewing our natural forest as the ATM machines, that they can just level out to fill county coffers,” Matson said. “It’s not a sustainable long-term solution. It will probably create a lot more problems.”

The budget office estimates the bill would mean $2 billion in additional timber sales over the next ten years. Supporters say it’ll create jobs and help reduce the risk of wildfire. The bill is in the House Rules Committee, its final stop before the House floor.

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