December 04, 2006

Wyden, Smith announce $50 million in tax credits for Ecotrustto develop sustainable forest management projectsin rural communities

Portland, OR U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Gordon Smith today announced that Ecotrust, a Portland-based non-profit organization focused on sustainable economic growth in the Northwest, has been awarded $50 million in federal tax credits to invest in sustainable forest management projects in rural communities under the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program. The awards were officially announced this morning.Ecotrusts experience shows that ecological forest management can create sustainable, environmentally sound jobs in rural, timber-dependent communities, Wyden said. These tax credits will enable Ecotrust to develop long-term forest management programs with economic and environmental benefits for rural communities in Oregon and throughout the West Coast.Tax relief can help organizations achieve the common good, said Smith. Oregonians understand the value of our environmental treasures, and the need for increased economic opportunity. These tax credits service both.Ecotrust will receive $50 million in tax credits to make investments in businesses in the forest products sector employing management practices that emphasize both strong job creation for economically marginalized rural communities and long-term ecological restoration. Its investments will focus on rural communities that are suffering from long-term unemployment higher than the statewide average.These investments will allow degraded forest lands with significant habitat value to be purchased, restored, and put in long-term harvest rotations. Investments will be repaid through timber harvests, non-timber forest products, and a variety of ecosystem services, including carbon storage. Restoration of degraded lands will also result in an increase in land value as well as an increase in the inventory of merchantable timber.New Market Tax Credits are perfect mechanisms to stimulate private investments in triple bottom line initiatives designed to improve social, economic and environmental conditions, said Spencer B. Beebe, President of Ecotrust. We were delighted to have bipartisan support from representatives across the region; this is good news for all of us, particularly rural communities in the Pacific NorthwestThe New Markets Tax Credit Program is administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury and promotes investment in low-income communities. Wyden and Smith have actively supported Oregons awardees throughout the application and award process which began in 2001.