Thursday, August 5, 2021


A new study says current federal limits for exposure to wireless radiation should be hundreds of times lower for children, and President Biden calls out the governors of Texas, Florida for "bad health policy."


Analysts warn the Delta variant could dampen economic recovery, former president Trump attempts to keep his federal tax returns away from Congress after a court ruling, and Mexico sues several U.S. gun makers.

WA's "Timber Counties" Ponder Their Budgets, Futures


Monday, October 10, 2011   

STEVENSON, Wash. - The Secure Rural Schools Act has provided money to Washington's timber counties to make up for tax revenue they can't collect on their National Forest acreage. But the program expired last month, and the last county payments will be made in January unless it is reauthorized.

A new proposal is being introduced this week in the U.S. Senate to reinstate the county payments for five more years, reducing the payment amounts by five percent a year.

In places like Skamania County, where 90 percent of the land is federal, County Commission Chair Paul Pearce says the federal government is getting a great deal for its county payment dollars.

"We receive really pennies on the acre, when you think about it. I mean, the $5 million that my county was getting from that nearly million-acre forest, is $5 an acre. That's pennies."

Pearce says the payments to his county have fluctuated over the years from $8 million to less than $2 million. He says counties need to know what they can count on from the government, adding that the Senate bill would offer that stability as they try to diversify their economies.

Conservation groups are encouraged by the bill, which is co-sponsored by Washington's U.S. Senators, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, as well as the entire Oregon congressional delegation. Peter Dykstra, Pacific Northwest regional director for The Wilderness Society, says one hitch could be how quickly Congress can reach an agreement.

"The way the delegation in Oregon and the delegation in Washington are coming together across party lines, and the governors are starting to step up and support this concept, gives me a lot of hope that this will pass."

There may not be many people in rural counties, but Pearce says they still have schools, roads and public safety to pay for, and counties across the West face huge budget deficits if the program goes away.

"Certainly we're concerned with the gridlock you see right now, and we're also concerned that, in this climate of 'cut everything,' these 700 national forest counties could end up getting cut without anybody even noticing."

An alternate plan in the U.S. House takes a different approach. It would keep the program, but restructure it to ease environmental regulations and allow more logging and mining activity on public land.

get more stories like this via email

In the United States, home-care workers, mostly women and people of color, earn on average only $12 an hour. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Advocates for people with disabilities in New York are pushing for the federal budget resolution to include $400 billion in Medicaid …


ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Freshwater mussels are key to keeping the Chesapeake Bay watershed clean, and with more than half of all species now facing …

Social Issues

BUFFALO, Wyo. -- The doors of five historic community halls across Johnson and Sheridan counties were opened this past weekend for 15 people curious …

Over the past six decades, there has been a steady increase in the number of fires in the western United States, according to NASA. (Adobe Stock)


RALEIGH, N.C. -- Massive wildfires in the Western U.S. and Canada have triggered poor air quality in North Carolina over the past few weeks, and …


OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Farmworkers are in Olympia today, calling for stronger protections from extreme heat. The farmworkers union Familias Unidas por la …

A video from July shows sockeye salmon with red lesions and fungus because of the Columbia River's hot water. (Conrad Gowell/Columbia Riverkeeper)


BOISE, Idaho -- Rallies are taking place across the Northwest to support salmon, which face dire conditions in the Columbia River Basin. Saturday…


IXONIA, Wis. -- The public comment period has ended, but opponents of proposed natural gas storage facilities in southeastern Wisconsin still hope to …


HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Pennsylvanians are growing worried about the environmental consequences of natural-gas drilling in the state, according to a new …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021