Bipartisan O&C Lands Solution Takes Important Step Forward in the U.S. House


House Natural Resources Committee approves Walden-DeFazio-Schrader plan to change federal forest policy in Oregon, setting up bill for passage by full House


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The long-term, O&C lands proposal that U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) developed with his Oregon colleagues Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader took an important step forward today as it was approved by the House Natural Resources Committee. The next step in the process is consideration and approval in the full U.S. House.

“Today, we move one step closer to making federal forest policy work for Oregon’s rural communities. It’s clear that the status quo isn’t working. There’s a better way. We need to manage our forests so we can put people back to work in the woods, create healthy forests and communities, and provide essential local services like schools and law enforcement. The bipartisan plan I developed with my Oregon colleagues does just that, and I am pleased it has taken an important step forward today,” Walden said.

“I am hopeful that the full House will take up this common-sense plan as soon as possible so that we can begin negotiations with the Senate. Now is the time to finally get this done for Oregon,” Walden said.

Last February, Walden, DeFazio, and Schrader offered a realistic, bipartisan legislative proposal to help solve the O&C problems. Their proposal would create jobs, provide revenues to failing Oregon counties, help sustain the local manufacturing base, save the federal government hundreds of millions of dollars, and protect water, fish, and old growth.

Specifically, the O&C Trust, Conservation, and Jobs Act:

  • Turns over management responsibility for roughly half of the O&C lands to be guided by Oregon forest law and a committee of Oregonians representing a variety of backgrounds.
  • The other half of the O&C lands, including old growth forests, would be preserved, with select thinning or other work needed to keep forests health.
  • Puts people back to work in the woods by creating or protecting 3,000+ forest sector jobs, according to the Oregon Forests Resources Institute.
  • Generates millions per year in county revenue to provide essential services like schools and law enforcement.
  • Allows for small portions of wilderness and wild and scenic rivers, but if the Trust is ever invalidated, so are the wilderness designations

The proposal secured broad support across the state, including from the Oregon State House, Oregon State Senate, fifteen Oregon county boards of commissioners, the Oregon State Sheriffs Association, and labor and industry groups.

The bill was included as Title III of the “Restoring Health Forests for Communities Act” (H.R. 1526), sponsored by Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.). Both the bipartisan O&C plan and Chairman Hastings’ bill aim to put people back to work in the woods across the country, and Walden is strongly supportive of both efforts.


About Author

Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

Leave A Reply