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Rep. Sprenger: Cougars near schools renews call for action

March 30, 2015 --

sprengercougarRep. Sprenger:Cougars sightings near city schools renews call for action.
By Taxpayer Association of Oregon Foundation

State Representative Sherrie Sprenger has introduced a bill to help keep Oregon safe from the rising threat of cougar attacks. Sprenger has introduced HB 3000 which directs the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife to create pilot program allowing hunters to use hounds in the pursuit of cougars.

State officials estimate that Oregon abounds with about 6,000 cats within the state. This number is double than what management objectives have called for.

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Key Senate vote on Water rule

March 27, 2015 --

farm-bureua-usaBy American Farm Bureau Federation

Statement by Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation, Regarding Key Senate Votes on WOTUS

“Key votes this week in the Senate delivered a resounding message that the proposed Waters of the U.S. rule is flawed in both substance and process. Senators indicated they will not tolerate outlandish regulatory actions that disregard established law, and by their action put federal regulators on notice that the rule is simply unacceptable.

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Feds Reject Coastal Oregon Forestry

March 25, 2015 --

Forest Policy Briefs
by Rex Storm, Forest Policy Manager
Associated Oregon Loggers

Feds Reject Coastal Oregon Forestry: The US Environmental Protection Agency and NOAA Fisheries Service in January disapproved Oregon’s coastal nonpoint pollution program. As expected since a 2013 environmental lawsuit ruling, EPA and NOAA attacked Oregon’s forest practices rules, claiming small salmon streams and landslide-prone areas are not sufficiently protected from logging, spraying, and forest road runoff impacts. The OR Board of Forestry is working aggressively to defend Oregon’s forest regulations, amid EPA and NOAA pressure to tighten forest practices rules.

Congress to Connect Payments and Timber: US Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) is drafting legislation to reform federal forest policies, which would increase both timber harvest and related revenues paid to counties. The intent is to re-connect county payments to timber harvest. In 1992, Oregon counties received $253 million directly from federal timber harvest income (‘92 dollars); in 2015, those same counties will receive just $5.9 million. Several cash-strapped OR counties are nearing insolvency, as federal timber payments to county governments and schools has gradually declined since 1990.

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Senator comment reveals federal forests madness

March 23, 2015 --

healthy-forests-healthy-communitiesHealthy Forest, Healthy Communities

Fringe activists are predictably making hay over statements made by Sen. Jon Tester regarding the impact of litigation and the “analysis paralysis” driving federal forest management today. They are making the most of their “gotcha” moment; one individual went so far as to liken the Democratic senator to Adolf Hitler. To be clear not every timber sale on Montana’s federal forests is tied up in litigation. But it sure seems that way to those who’ve witnessed the steep decline in federal timber harvests and lamented the economic decline of our rural communities.

Sen. Tester’s statement isn’t a whopper to those who understand the stranglehold that obstructionist groups currently enjoy over the U.S. Forest Service. According to media reports, three groups in Montana alone have been involved in over 200 lawsuits against federal agencies. During a recent five-year period they collected over $617,000 from American taxpayers for their efforts. Both the real and perceived threat of litigation have a significant impact on the Forest Service’s ability to manage forests for multiple uses and benefits.

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Congress takes up Death Tax

March 20, 2015 --

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

The House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee held a hearing on the Burden of the Estate Tax on Family Businesses and Farms. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association member and seventh-generation cattleman from Fort Davis, Texas, Bobby McKnight testified before the subcommittee on how the death tax affects cattle producers.

“Many farm and ranch families are asset-rich and cash-poor, with most of the value of their estate attributed to the value of the land they use to raise cattle and grow food and fiber for consumers around the world,” said McKnight. “Strong export demand has been one of the driving forces in the increase in value of crop and pasture land in almost every state, not to mention the pressure from commercial development. Combined together, the increase in the value of farmland has many farm and ranch families concerned that they may trigger the estate tax simply through increasing land values.”

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Rep. Wilson: Local control bill rescues forests from deadline

March 18, 2015 --

wilsoncarloregonrepresentativeRep. Carl Wilson has a bill to transfer Federal lands to local governments in order to save counties from the dreaded timber payment end-of-the-line deadline.
By Taxpayer Foundation of Oregon
(Photo by Staff, Michelle L.L. Binker)

State Representative Carl Wilson has a plan to quickly fix Oregon’s forest crisis before the terrible looming deadline this July 1st for when the timber payments run out and leave counties without the support they were promised when their land was taken away. Federal forest policy has been stuck in a legal quagmire with the result of leaving rural Oregon with double digit unemployment and a damaged tax base that can’t fund local law enforcement. Rep. Wilson wishes to return federal land back to the states so local communities can create jobs, expand the tax base and fund vital community services. One Bill (HB 3240) would create a task force to study the effect of transferring federal lands to state control to help measure the legal, economic, social and practical benefits. Another bill, (HJR 13) is a House Joint Resolution that urges Congress to return federal land to the state.   One Legislative report on increased timber harvesting showed that Oregon could create 2,100 new jobs while adding $414 million in personal income growth. The tax revenue to counties would hit $33 million over five years.

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Con. Schrader introduces Molalla River bill

March 16, 2015 --

Congressman Kurt Schrader Kurt-schrader

U.S. Congressman Kurt Schrader introduced the Molalla Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, a bill that would protect more than 21 miles of the Molalla River by designating it as “recreational” under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The legislation, introduced at the request of the Molalla community, would bolster economic opportunities, increase recreational use and preserve the natural beauty of the Molalla River.

“The citizens of Molalla recognize that protecting our natural treasures and creating economic opportunities in the community do not have to be mutually exclusive,” said Schrader. “This legislation would ensure that generations of future Oregonians can enjoy the original character of the Molalla, by protecting the river’s water quality, while preserving its unique historic, cultural, scenic, ecological and recreational value.”

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Wheat Growers: Legislative review

March 13, 2015 --

By Oregon Wheat Growers League

2015 Legislative Session Updates
Jana Jarvis, Paladin Public Affairs/ Amanda Dalton, Dalton Advocacy, OWGL Lobbyists

SB 613 was introduced which would establish new regulations around the aerial application of pesticides including, among other requirements: 1) establishing buffers around schools, residences and waterways; 2) providing extensive pre- and post-notification for forestry applications; 3) require notification for forest management activities involving fire; 4) developing a website for all required notification and application records for public access; 5) requiring ODF notify adjacent landowners whenever a notification or application record is filed; and 6) authorizing the Oregon Health Authority investigate suspected cases of pesticide poisoning of humans or animals. Although directed at the forestry industry, language in the bill references the ODA and would undoubtedly lead to further requirements for the agricultural industry. SB 613 has not yet been scheduled for a hearing

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Problems abound with Timber Tax Bill

March 11, 2015 --

timbertaxProblems abound with Timber Tax Bill
By Taxpayer Foundation of Oregon

The 2015 Legislature has resurrected a controversial Timber Tax bill from the 2014 Session.   This bill is being hailed by timber groups as costly and unmanageable, unnecessary, and with serious financial harm at a vulnerable time. Timber Tax HB 2588 imposes a severance tax on all timber harvested from Oregon’s forestlands at a rate of $19/MBF. The Department of Revenue would receive 3% of the money for administration. The Department of Forestry would receive another 3% for adopting rules and certifying tax credits. The Oregon Forestland Protection Fund would receive $3/MBF to fund fire suppression, and the owners of timber for logs milled in Oregon to a diameter of not more than 12 inches would receive a refundable tax credit not to exceed $12/MBF. Any remaining funds would be distributed to counties based on their private timber harvests.

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Bad news for log sellers. Good news for builders.

March 9, 2015 --

By Rick Sohn Ph.D
Umpqua Coquille LLC

Timber Industry Report February 27, 2015

Mortgage Interest rates are still under 4% but rising. Logs prices are dropping unseasonably, and lumber prices are lower. Yet, housing starts remain stable, and home values are still rising but gradually. Trends of lumber, home construction, and housing markets, are compared to 2006.

chart-sohn-mar15


Interpretation and Looking Ahead.

Logs look respectable at $753, but word on the street is gloomy for log sellers, with prices for February predicted to be far lower than the January price, and are still falling.

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