BLM holds back part of timber county payments

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — A federal agency is holding back 10 percent of a special payment to timber counties in Oregon in case federal budget cuts known as sequestration go through.

The money administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is part of a one-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools Act that was supposed to distribute $38 million to 18 counties in Western Oregon to make up for reduced logging receipts.

Members of Oregon’s congressional delegation and the counties are outraged that the BLM held back $4 million, especially when the U.S. Forest Service gave out its full share.

An official of a group that represents the counties, Rocky McVea, says they will have to lay off sheriff’s deputies, prosecutors and health care workers if the cuts stand up.

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