This is your Northwest report for Wednesday, March 1 I'm David Sparks and with all of the land grabbing that went on in the Obama administration, all the rankor between states, Forest Service and BLM, a bill authored by U.S. Reps. Greg Walden and Earl Blumenauer to force the U.S. Forest Service to complete a land exchange on Mt. Hood has passed the House of Representatives in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, 415-1. This sets a precedent for all states in the Northwest. The Mount Hood Cooper Spur Land Exchange Clarification Act directs the Forest Service to move forward with the underlying land exchange -- first approved by Congress in 2009 -- which would help protect the local water source and grow family wage jobs in the community. “The Forest Service was directed to do this transfer and do it in 16 months. That is what the law said. We are nearly eight years later, and this is still languishing. Unfortunately, we're back trying again -- because we're never going to quit until we're done -- and we're getting much closer.” said Walden. “In fact, Section 1206 (F) of the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-11) deals with the ‘Deadline for Completion of Land Exchange” and reads as follows: ‘It is the intent of the Congress that the land exchange under this subsection shall be completed not later than 16 months after the date of enactment of this Act.’ “It's important to protect this water shed. It is important that, where development occurs, it occurs in the right places -- we've always felt that way in Oregon. Indeed, facilitating this exchange resolves a decades long controversy and puts development where it belongs, protects a special area in the Upper Hood River Valley that needs protection, and finally brings certainty and resolution to the local communities.”
Elsewhere according to agri-pulse.com, Ray Starling, a key aide to Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, has been named as President Trump’s special assistant for Agriculture, Trade and Food Assistance. Starling has been serving as Tillis’ chief of staff.
Finally, U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts has worked on crafting seven farm bills. But it is with some trepidation that the work begins to draft new legislation amid daunting challenges confronting farmers in the era of President Donald Trump. Roberts, was in Kansas last Thursday for his group’s first field hearing for the 2018 Farm Bill.