News Releases

Murray Forestry Bill Moves Forward

Jun 18 2002

Bill would help protect more than 100,000 acres in east King County

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today, the Senate Finance Committee approved the Charity Aid Recovery and Empowerment Act of 2002. The charitable-giving tax legislation, a high priority for President Bush, includes legislation by Sen. Patty Murray to protect private forestland from development.

"We need a tax code that encourages conservation of our private forest lands," said Murray. "By passing my bill, the Finance Committee has taken an inexpensive but effective step in that direction. This is great news for the people of King County and Washington state."

Last year, Sen. Murray reintroduced legislation, S. 822, the Community Forestry and Agriculture Conservation Act. This bill would clarify current law to ensure that tax-exempt bonds could be issued to purchase private forestland and that timber could then be harvested to pay off the bond debt.

The land would be subject to a permanent conservation easement monitored by an independent third party. Rep. Jennifer Dunn has introduced companion legislation in the House.

In January, the Evergreen Forest Trust and the Weyerhaeuser Company announced the first forest transaction using this conservation model. In order for the deal to move forward, the Internal Revenue Service must approve this specific transaction, or Congress must pass broader legislation to permit this type of conservation tool.