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Walden praised for $65M rural timber funds

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By Association of O&C Counties

The Association of O&C Counties (AOCC) recognized Congressman Greg Walden for his role in securing a funding offset for the extension under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act (SRS). The funding is included in the recent budget agreement reached by U.S. House and U.S. Senate leaders this week.

AOCC also thanked U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and other members of the Oregon Congressional delegation who supported the program’s reauthorization. According to AOCC’s estimates, O&C Counties would receive just over a total of $65 million over two years across all SRS titles. The budget agreement also included several federal forest management reforms that will expedite certain forest projects that reduce the risks of catastrophic wildfires.

“We thank all members of the Oregon delegation who played a role in securing this funding, and we especially appreciate Congressman Walden’s efforts to secure House leadership’s support as well as a funding offset for the SRS program,” said AOCC President and Douglas County Commissioner Tim Freeman. “In the short term this funding will protect essential public services from additional cuts.”

“Yet this funding is only temporary. We continue to need a long-term solution that increases timber harvests on federal lands and that is consistent with sustained yield forestry as required under the federal O&C Act. That’s why we are just as appreciative of the forest management reforms in the budget package, which represent a first step toward fixing our broken system of federal land management.”