April 12, 2016

Wyden Statement on BLM Plan for O&C Counties

Washington, D.C. –The Bureau of Land Management’s latest plan for managing forests in Oregon’s O&C Counties makes clear that only congressional action can deliver real certainty on jobs, the environment and timber harvest, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said today.

“While I appreciate the BLM’s latest attempt to update forest management in Western Oregon, the reality is only legislation can provide the certainty necessary to sustainably increase the timber harvest and protect clean water,” Wyden said. “My O&C legislation would double the harvest on O&C lands, while creating ironclad protections for clean water and old-growth, which the BLM cannot do administratively. It seems to me legislation is the only way to take this discussion out of the courtroom and actually create jobs, protect Oregon’s treasures and improve the health of our forests.”  

The O&C Lands Act by Wyden and co-sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley, would double harvests for the next 50 years, according to the BLM. The agency has calculated the timber harvests on O&C, Coos Bay Wagon Road, and Public Domain Lands in Western Oregon would have to increase by 300 percent to equal the revenue counties receive through the Secure Rural Schools program, which has brought nearly $3 billion to Oregon counties since Wyden authored it in 2000.

Wyden’s bill passed the Energy Committee on a bipartisan vote last congress, but House Republican leaders have blocked it from moving forward this congress.