Shoun voices county matters in D.C.

County Commissioner Dan Shoun (middle) is joined for a picture by Under Secretary Robert Bonnie (left) and US Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell at the Eisenhower Administration Building when the local representative traveled to Washington, D.C. for a couple of day’s worth of collaboration.

Lake County Commissioner Dan Shoun recently visited the nation’s capital late in November and the beginning of December, rubbing shoulders with state and federal officials while making issues known that affect the county’s public lands. 

As a representative of Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC), Shoun attended its winter meeting. He had the opportunity to speak with such dignitaries like senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, Congressman Ron Walden and Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Robert Bonnie and US Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. 

One of the main points of talk surrounded land mining permit withdrawal on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) managed lands for sage-grouse protection. Shoun wanted to ensure that any type of withdrawal would allow for mitigation small footprints over vast millions of acres. 

He also chatted about the appointment for the state and national director for the BLM, the biomass issue on federal lands and forest health. “To wind the clock back, the original purpose of why these lands are there and how they should be managed,” said Shoun, “and it’s for multiple uses on a sustainable basis. It’s as simple as that.” He continued that if lands were used with that mindset then it would affect a wide range of other issues. 

Other topics included payment to counties for managing public lands, Shoun saying that a solution needs to be made so it is not revisited. He addressed that there is not a fair equitable payment for Lake County, which receives 31 cents per acre while counties in Oregon and in the west receive $2.62 per acre. Shoun recognized that it isn’t realistic to get to that price, but if they would get away from revenue sharing off of public lands as it relates to timber and use those dollars in the treasury and to make those payments. He advocated to using the “slash” material that would reduce the $2 billion suppression bill on a national and annual basis, reducing it by 50 percent. 

For the rest of this article, pick up this week's Lake County Examiner.

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