Timber Industry tied to proposal shifting wildfire protection costs from landowners to public

Alex Baumhardt, Oregon Capital Chronicle, Jan 11, 2024 in RV-Times, Jan 16, 2024

Suspicion that the timber industry is buying politicians and legislation is difficult too avoid.

Several timber companies participated in a workgroup and proposal that would cut the fees they pay to the state for fire protection

Timber companies appear to have played an influential role in a new Oregon legislative proposal to find sustainable funding for fighting wildfires. If passed during the upcoming legislative session beginning in February, it could save the industry millions of dollars in fees they now pay to the state for fire protection and shift more of the cost to all Oregon property owners.

Sen. Elizabeth Steiner, D-Portland, was scheduled to present the proposal on Wednesday morning to the Senate Natural Resources and Wildfire Committee for consideration during the session. It would impose a $10 fee on all property holders in Oregon to pay for fighting wildfires, raising an estimated $20 million a year, about 15% of the projected total cost for wildfire protection in 2024. The proposal would reduce the per-acre fees that private and public forest and range landowners now pay to the Oregon Department of Forestry for protection.

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