Ron Wyden

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

An Idaho and Oregon senator are considering changes to how rural schools are funded.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

As catastrophic wildfires have become more common in the West, they’ve also become more expensive. That’s forced the Forest Service to raid money set aside for fire prevention and instead use it to pay suppression costs.

inciweb.gov

Three U.S. Senators were in Boise Monday to restate their support of legislation that would overhaul the way the nation pays for its biggest wildfires.

Senators Mike Crapo, R-ID, Jim Risch, R-ID, and Ron Wyden, D-OR, visited the National Interagency Fire Center for the third time in support of the proposal. 

Washington DNR

Lawmakers from Idaho and Oregon say they are renewing efforts to change the way the country pays to fight catastrophic wildfires, arguing that agencies should be using natural disaster dollars rather than money set aside for fire prevention.

Republican Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch of Idaho and Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon announced Wednesday that they are getting ready to pitch bipartisan legislation to Congress this fall.

Mike Crapo
U.S. Senate

A bill to renew federal subsidies to timber counties has been filed in the Senate.

The Secure Rural Schools program made up for federal timber revenues that declined as environmental protections reduced national forest logging, but it expired last year. Efforts to renew it failed in the lame-duck session of Congress.

The latest version was filed Thursday by Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden and Idaho Republican Mike Crapo.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

A bipartisan effort is underway in Congress to create a new way to pay for battling wildfires that prevents the diversion of money intended to reduce the size of such fires.

Lawmakers from Oregon and Idaho met with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Monday to discuss the budget reform.

President Obama's proposed budget seeks a change in the long-standing method of funding the fight against the most catastrophic wildfires.

Oregon U.S. Senator Ron Wyden says his latest proposal to increase logging on Oregon forest land will also respect environmental concerns. 

U.S. Senate

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden had bad news Thursday for farmers, fishermen, and tribes who signed on to a water rights settlement in the Klamath Basin in 2010. The senator told the groups their plan for resolving the water crisis is too expensive.

The Klamath tribes hold senior water rights to the headwaters of the Klamath river. In the settlement, called they KBRA, the tribes agreed provide a steady supply of water to farmers in exchange for big investments in habitat restoration and fisheries management.

Advocates For Klamath Dams Removal Rally In Portland

May 31, 2013

Groups from Southern Oregon and Northern California rallied outside Senator Ron Wyden’s office in Portland Thursday.

They came to show support for a bill proposing a restoration project along the Klamath River. It would spend $800 million to restore fish habitat and remove four dams.

Toni Peters is a member of the Yurok Tribe, which supports the project.  “We’re here protesting the dams and the water rights and the fish. Keep our rivers clean for our kids, younger generations, the elders. Keep the river alive. Keep people healthy and safe.”

Katie Campbell / EarthFix

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden was recently named Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. And one of his first moves was asking the administration to investigate the royalties it receives for coal mined on public land. 

The Bureau of Land Management owns vast reserves of coal in Wyoming and Montana. Companies like Arch Coal and Peabody Energy mine it, sell it, and pay the government its cut.