July-August 2018

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Policy at Play Greg Walden is Champion of Forest Management & Small Business in Oregon By Patrick Atagi, Vice President of Advocacy & External Affairs 10 PalletCentral • July-August 2018 CAPITOL HILL CORNER U .S. Rep. Greg Walden is known as a friend of the forest and that is good news for the wood pallet industry. Walden represents Oregon's 2nd Congressional District which is a sprawling 20 counties and nearly 70,000 square miles stretching east from the Cascade Mountains, north to the Washington border, east to Idaho and south to Nevada. The district population is just more than 770,000. "It is primarily rural, wide open, and enormous," Walden said. "It's the 7th largest congressional district in the country." And from that open land, which is also where he was born an ºd raised, Walden has culled some of his most important concerns for which he advocates in Congress. In particular interest to the wood pallet industry, Walden is a strong proponent of active forest management. "Our forestry economy has lost a lot of its jobs over the last 20 years," Walden added. "About 55 percent of my district is federal land and that is where most of the timber harvest comes from. But so much of it burns every year. Last year in Oregon alone 712,000 acres were lost to fires." That forest management, for Walden, includes being a firm believer in thinning forests to help prevent catastrophic fires which burn in overstocked forests. And one of the successful pieces of federal legislation he supported in 2018 was how firefighters are paid when they are fighting these fires – they are now treated as disasters which allows for better funding. The United States experiences up to 10,000 wildfires each year. Active forest management includes the removal of flammable brush and forest thinning to prevent the spread of fire from tree to tree. Hazardous fuels removal is incentivized by forest product sectors which affixes new value to previously low-value thinned wood fiber. Wood energy is often sourced from wood fiber that is underutilized or has no other market in that region. Walden's efforts towards forest management have been recognized nationally, including by the NWPCA, which named the congressman an inaugural recipient of the association's Champion of the Wood Pallet and Container Industry award which is given to members of Congress who are advocates for the industry. Rep. Walden was given this award for his forest management efforts, funding to fight wildfires, and overall stewardship of our forests. "He fights for small business, sustainable, healthy forests, and is a good friend of the wood pallet and container industry," stated Brent McClendon, NWPCA's President and CEO. Walden, his wife Mylene, and their son Anthony reside in Hood River, Oregon. Walden first won election to Congress in 1998 and has won reelection nine times. This November he will face democratic candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner in the general election. Walden currently serves as chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which is the oldest standing committee in Congress having been established in December 1795. Previously Walden served on several of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's subcommittees. And prior to his congressional election, Walden served in the Oregon State Senate Oregon Forest Resources Institute

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