Lake County Commissioner Dan Shoun returned to the county from Washington, D.C. late last week after a few days’ worth of meetings that began Monday, May 16 through Thursday, May 19.
First on his agenda was participating on the Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC). The discussion surrounded restoring forest landscapes and the work in progress through committees across all lands in the United States. Topics included were about funding for fires on a federal level and scale of wildland fires, which effects water and air quality.
“As we get close to fire season,” said Commissioner Shoun, “I continue to emphasize that we have to restore the general land health if we want to get a handle on the large wildfire problem.”
On Tuesday, Commissioner Shoun met with Sen.Jeff Merkley and Congressman Walden to talk about a biomass legislation proposal and the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and Secure Rural Schools programs. Together, they discussed draft legislation through Sen. Ron Wyden’s office and parallel legislation from the house for a pilot area, which would include federally-managed land from Lake County and Klamath County to Deschutes and Modoc counties.
Commissioner Shoun explained that the legislation would include “slash areas” where biomass collected for fuel production is not yet considered a commercial product. If laws were passed it would impact Collins Pine company and Red Rock Biofuels to clean up wood debris on forest land, which would receive a tax credit for their work.
“We’re trying to emphasize that the new legislation would classify it under renewable energy, making financial sense as far as clean-up and utilization,” said Commissioner Shoun.
He also was in discussion about proper forest management, specifically getting back to multiple use, such as having a multi-storied stand that would be for sustainability of the forest. The theme that ran throughout was the biomass pilot proposal, and forest health artificial limits.
For the rest of this article, pick up this week's Lake County Examiner