Timber law becomes vast entitlement for some states

Law to help logging communities after the spotted owl-induced logging reductions now pours money into areas where there have never been spotted owls-

Timber law becomes vast entitlement. By Matthew Daly and Shannon Dinninny. Associated Press Writers







  1. JW Avatar

    We have long talked about welfare ranching on this blog; now we can add welfare logging to the discussion. Man, I’ve got to get into that line of business…

  2. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    I have a tree out in the yard I have been meaning to cut down. Guess I better it my livestock/timber welfare card.

  3. Maska Avatar

    From the article: “Here in Catron County, the part of western New Mexico where Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch gang once holed up, the program distributes the highest per capita payment in the nation – $1,883 per person.”

    Ah, the delicious irony. This is the same Catron County that has been railing against the federal government since before Pluto was a pup.

  4. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    ….the rugged individualists……

  5. Carl Avatar

    Under this program it is the counties that are getting the money from the Federal Government not the logging industry. This money than goes to the schools and for county roads and services. The US Forest Service does not pay any property taxes on the the National Forest lands. In place of this a certain amount of the receipts from timber sales would go to the counties in which there our National Forest Lands. The money each county gets is based on the number of acres of national forest lands and a percent of the timber volume sold. As timber sale volumes have declined money going to the counties declined impacting schools, roads and county services. The travesty of this change is that counties that were not impacted by reduced logging volumes because of the spotted owl are getting federal tax dollars. We cannot criticize the timber industry on this because they aren’t getting anything from it the counties are!!!!!!! When the counties were getting less dollars from the Federal Government they called for selling off National Forest Lands. Bush was in favor of doing it.

  6. Mike Avatar

    ++Ah, the delicious irony. This is the same Catron County that has been railing against the federal government since before Pluto was a pup.++

    haha…strange how that works! 😉

  7. Tilly Avatar

    The payments do seem excessive and not necessarily tied to need or merit.

    However, it was GOOD to decouple the county payments from logging. That relationship was unhealthy and led to the Forest Service constantly waving that “county payments” flag to justify excessive logging. (Now they have had to find new, different excuses!)

  8. Ryan Avatar

    “++Ah, the delicious irony. This is the same Catron County that has been railing against the federal government since before Pluto was a pup.++

    haha…strange how that works! ”

    Maska, Jeff, Mike,

    This would also be the same Carton County majority that didn’t vote for the Senators or Congressmen that sponsored/enacted this legislation, or the president that signed it.


  9. Tilly Avatar

    Ryan, the posted article clearly states that Republicans support the payments, too.

    In fact, “New Mexico’s two senators served as chairman and ranking Republican on the Senate committee that rewrote the timber payments formula.”

    It’s not a partisan thing.

  10. Maska Avatar

    It would, indeed. But those elected officials dutifully represent them, all the same. Incidentally, New Mexico, like most of the states in the Intermountain West, receives considerably more in money coming back from Washington than we send there in taxes. States like New York, on the other hand, receive less back than they pay into the federal treasury.

  11. Maska Avatar

    By the way, Tilly…I don’t mean to suggest that counties like Catron can’t use all the additional funds they can get, especially for their schools, which have severe funding issues. I just find it interesting that county government holds out its hands to the feds, while at the same time bashing them every chance they get. No doubt that’s just human nature.

    Also, I believe this law was enacted during the time that New Mexico’s last Republican Senator, Pete Domenici, was in the Senate. He retired and was replaced by Tom Udall in 2008. I can’t imagine that Udall, or any of our three Democratic congress critters would fail to support these payments. There are undoubtedly counties in every one of their districts that benefit.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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