Walden testifies in support of land exchange clarification act

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) spoke in favor of a bill on Friday that he co-authored to expedite a Mount Hood land exchange that was mandated by Congress in 2009.

The Mount Hood Cooper Spur Land Exchange Clarification Act, H.R. 3826, would spur the Forest Service’s Government Camp/Cooper Spur land exchange on Mount Hood.

Walden testified in favor of the bill before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands.

The bill would clarify congressional intent, address disagreements over a conservation easement, establish a transparent appraisal process and clarify other provisions of the land exchange mandated by Congress in 2009.

“Our bipartisan Mount Hood legislation clearly specified the intent of Congress to get the land exchange completed within 16 months,” Walden said. “Some 85 months later, the Forest Service still has not complied with the law we enacted. As unbelievable as it may seem, here we are having to pass another law telling the Forest Service to complete its work. And now, the agency says they might need another year or two even under this new bill to complete the land transfer specified in the law enacted in 2009. That’s simply unacceptable.” 

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who co-sponsored the Mount Hood Cooper Spur Land Exchange Clarification Act of 2009 with Walden, called the Forest Service’s inaction “embarrassing.”

“This exchange was approved nearly seven years ago and with tremendous bipartisan and regional support,” Blumenauer said. “It’s embarrassing that the Forest Service has yet to do what it should have already done. I hope we approve this legislation – and soon – to clarify any lingering questions and add an exclamation point to the fact that Congress wants the Forest Service to quickly finish the job we directed them to complete years ago.”

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