What’s our federal delegation doing about forests?

Oregon’s forests cover nearly half of the state, which is why forest policy is always a key component of our federal elected officials’ agendas. Here’s an update on what they’re currently working on.

Congressman Greg Walden

Recently Rep. Greg Walden, R-Oregon, introduced a bill to improve forest management and reduce wildfire risks in Oregon. Walden and a group of 16 lawmakers authored the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2019 proposing significant reforms to forest management policy across Oregon’s federal lands. The legislation:

  • Streamlines project planning in southern and western Oregon.
  • Makes clear the Oregon and California Railroad Revested (O&C) Act mandates at least 500 million board feet in annual timber harvest on O&C Lands.
  • Improves forest restoration in eastern Oregon forests.
  • Addresses the overcrowded, diseased and insect-infested forest lands that pose a risk for catastrophic fires.
U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

Oregon’s U.S. Senators want to allow the use of biomass from certain federal lands that need ecological restoration in the making of renewable fuels to promote healthier forests, more carbon sequestration, cleaner transportation fuels and strong protections for old-growth forests.

Their bill eliminates the exclusion in current law that does not allow the use of federal biomass in the making of renewable fuels as defined by the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“Oregonians have a strong interest in using biomass as a source of renewable energy. Not only is there an opportunity for cleaner transportation fuel, this is also important for forest management and wildfire prevention,” said Wyden in a release published by KTVZ.

“Oregonians have experienced how severe wildfires compromise the health and economies of our communities,” added Merkley in the release. “We must be proactive in making sure we are doing everything we can to manage our forests responsibly and reduce the risk of these catastrophic fires.”