Friday, December 14, 2007

Senate removes timber payments from energy bill

Before passing an energy bill yesterday, the U.S. Senate removed a section "that would have extended for four years payments to rural counties that once depended on federal timber money to fund schools and libraries," reports the Mail Tribune of Medford, Ore.

"A House bill approved last week would set aside more than $1.5 billion to compensate 700 rural counties in 39 states — mostly in the South and West — that were hurt by federal logging cutbacks in the 1990s," the paper recalls. "The counties lost money when the government restricted logging in national forests to help preserve the spotted owl and other threatened species. Timber payments added $23 million annually to Jackson County coffers."

The timber deal "was dropped in final negotiations Thursday as Senate Democrats agreed to remove tax breaks for a wide range of clean energy industries from the energy bill," reports the Mail Tribune, in a staff-and-wires report. (Read more)

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