Oregon legislators are optimistic that they can reach a deal on western Oregon timber harvests, after a federal forest bill cleared a major congressional hurdle this week.
The controversial bill has been eagerly sought by rural Oregon counties hard-hit economically by the decline of logging over the last two decades, but denounced by environmentalists as a return to the days of massive clear-cuts on federal lands.
The House Natural Resources Committee approved the bill, which also calls for major increases in logging on federal lands throughout the country. It incorporates separate legislation sought by three Oregon congressmen -- Democrats Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader and Republican Greg Walden -- to increase timber production on lands once owned by the now-defunct Oregon & California Railroad.
Read more at OregonLive.com.