White House threatens veto on Oregon lands bill

A White House veto of bill to boost logging would hit timber counties

The White House is threatening to veto a bill to boost logging on national forests, including a provision aimed at producing more money for timber counties in Oregon. The Statement of Administration Policy issued Wednesday by the Office of Management and Budget says if the bill were presented to President Barack Obama, his senior advisers would recommend a veto.

The bill includes a provision developed by members of the Oregon delegation to turn over half of the so-called O&C lands in Western Oregon to a state-appointed trust that would manage them for timber production. The other half would be managed for fish and wildlife habitat, and includes creation of new wilderness areas. The measure includes a federal subsidy for timber counties until the logging revenues start to come in.

The bill could hit the House floor for debate as early as today, said Andrew Malcolm, an aide to Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., a co-sponsor of the bill.

The administration says the plan, in practice, would harm habitat for endangered species, increase the chance of lawsuits, and limit the president's ability to create national monuments.

Since 1937, the so-called O&C counties have received half the gross revenues from timber cut on a patchwork of federal lands in Western Oregon that reverted to the federal government after the bankruptcy of the Oregon and California Railroad.

— The Associated Press

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