Forest management bill proposed

Oregon representatives say the bill is needed to save forests and suffering rural economies.

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Oregon Reps. Greg Walden and Kurt Schrader proposed legislation to thin woodland areas and use the material to meet renewable fuel demand.

The bill is aimed at boosting rural economies and protecting natural forests, which are threatened by wildfires and bug infestations.

The package of bills were also sponsored by Democratic Reps. Brian Baird of Washington and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South Dakota and Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers, would update the current forest management law passed in 2003.

Since that time, the bipartisan group said more than 40 million acres of forest have burned and more have been blighted by disease and pests. The local economies have been ravaged too, with many currently experiencing 15 percent (or higher) unemployment. The current law, they said, it not muscular enough to deal with those conditions.

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