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(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today, House Republicans rejected Senator Patty Murray’s forestry conservation bond amendment during final negotiations of the corporate tax bill currently moving through Congress. The Murray amendment, adopted previously by the Senate four times, was offered in the House/Senate conference committee meeting on H.R. 4520, the Jumpstart our Business Strength (JOBS) Act by Senator Max Baucus (D-MT).



The Murray amendment would have allowed local governments and non-profit community groups to issue tax-exempt bonds to finance the acquisition of private timberland. The land must be managed for conservation, but timber harvesting would be allowed, as long as it is done in a way that is consistent with the overriding conservation purpose of the land.



The amendment was offered today at the request of Senator Murray and Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR). Both Republican and Democratic Senate members of the conference voted to accept the forestry bonds amendment. All four House Republican conferees voted against the language resulting in the amendment’s defeat.



"Once again, the House leadership has acted to defeat the forestry conservation bond proposal," Senator Murray said. "I'll continue to fight for forestry bonds to help local communities protect forest land and preserve timber jobs for Washington families."



The Murray forestry conservation bond legislation would allow local governments to issue community forestry bonds on behalf of non-profit organizations to purchase working forestland. The non-profit organization would then service the bond debt through continued harvest of the land under a sustainable management plan that protects sensitive areas. An independent third party would hold a permanent conservation easement on the property.



Murray worked for five years to successfully pass her community forestry legislation in the last two Congresses.



"I want to commend the bipartisan coalition of Senators and everyone else from the labor, environmental, and forestry communities who worked so hard to get us to this point. Unfortunately, House Republicans again rejected our efforts to protect open space, curb suburban sprawl, maintain forest jobs, and help fish and wildlife. We lost a real opportunity to make a real difference for both our economy and our environment," Murray said.