The Obama Administration wants to extend federal timber payments for another year but some some Oregon commissioners are not happy about it.
Since Congress first reauthorized the legislation in 2008, budgets for many of the so-called timber counties have grown but those timber payments have shrunk. They were set to expire entirly this year but that obviously will not happen if the president's budget proposal is passed. Commissioners from Jackson and Josephine County say they can no longer depend on a paycheck from the federal government. Last month congressional leaders, Greg Walden, Peter Defazio and Kurt Schrader met with commissioners from around Oregon to find a long term solution. Few details have come out about their proposal because it's still in draft form. Their ideas would unlock public land thats been restricted for logging because of enviropnmental restrictions by the EPA. For Counties like Curry, Lane, Curry, Coos, Klamath, Josephine and others, time is running out. Many will be forced to make drastic cuts and some could go bankrupt by the end of the year. Even if timber payments were extended, many of those same counties will be faced a budget gap in the millions.