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Federal logging money disputed

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High Five
Thursday, December 10, 2009

A federal payment program meant to support suffering logging communities has gotten a four-year renewal.

But part of that renewal allows states with no history of logging to get a share of the payments, Nevada being the biggest winner.

A four-year renewal of the law, passed last year, authorizes an additional $1.6 billion for the program through 2011 and shifts substantial sums to states where the spotted owl never flew. While money initially was based on past logging levels, now any state with federal forests -- even without a history of logging -- is eligible for millions in Forest Service dollars.

Doling out all that taxpayer money is based less on logging losses than on the powerful reality of political clout. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is among the program's strongest backers.

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

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