Bill To Force Forest Service To Finish Cooper Spur Exchange Heads To House Floor

A bill authored by Oregon Second District Congressman Greg Walden to force the U.S. Forest Service to complete a land exchange on Mt. Hood that was approved by Congress seven years ago has taken a major step forward.   The Mount Hood Cooper Spur Land Exchange Clarification Act was approved unanimously by the House Natural Resources Committee Wednesday, and is headed to the full House.  Walden says the bill co-sponsored by fellow Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer would force the Forest Service to complete its work in a timely manner.  A 2009 law authorizes a land exchange to allow development of 120 acres of federal land in Government Camp in exchange for 770 acres of non-federal land at Cooper Spur, and called for the Forest Service to complete the exchange within 16 months.   But it still has not occurred, and the new bill would restate Congress’ intent that the Forest Service move quickly to complete the exchange, addresses disagreements over a conservation easement, and allows for a more transparent appraisal process.  Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have introduced similar legislation awaiting consideration by the full Senate.

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