An Oregon state representative has introduced a bill to try to curb the export of raw logs. A House committee held its first hearing on the bill today.
Last year, about 18 percent of the trees harvested in the Northwest were shipped as raw logs to mills in Asia.
Eugene Democrat Paul Holvey drafted his bill out of concern that those export sales are making it harder for Oregon sawmills to stay in business.
“I see these big barges going out of our ports with hundreds of thousands of board feet of raw logs," Holvey says. "And I think to myself, those look like jobs going out.”
State governments don’t have the power to impose trade tariffs. So Holvey's bill would provide a tax credit for land owners who sold their logs to local mills. It would fund that credit with a tax on all timber harvest, about $75 per loaded log truck.
Several lawmakers sounded skeptical of the tax proposal, and suggested allowing more logging in federal forests is a better way to support mills.
Copyright 2013 Oregon Public Broadcasting