March 07, 2017

Wyden: Shrinking Federal Timber Payments to Oregon Counties Highlight Need to Renew Secure Rural Schools Funding

Washington, DC – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden said today’s announcement of reduced Forest Service payments to Oregon spotlight the need for Congress to act quickly to reauthorize Secure Rural Schools (SRS) funding.

Congressional failure to reauthorize SRS funding that’s brought almost $4 billion since 2000 to Oregon’s timber counties and schools means the Forest Service must revert to making payments that provide just 25 percent of the federal timber sale revenue from national forestlands generated in each county.

“Oregon counties depend on SRS funding to help pay for good schools, safe roads and reliable law enforcement,” Wyden said. “While I am glad the 25 percent payments came through, these reduced funds highlight the importance of restoring the robust support that SRS has long provided. I will keep working on a long-term solution to give rural counties in Oregon and across the country certainty to plan their budgets and provide crucial resources to their citizens.”

The 25 percent payments to Oregon are projected to total slightly more than $7 million.

In contrast, Oregon received $95.2 million in the most recent round of SRS payments, which includes payments from the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service. Those payments were in March 2016.

Wyden co-authored the original SRS legislation in 2000 with then-Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho.

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