Sen. Bob Morton, R-Orient, scored a win this week, when the Senate passed his SB 5461.
It sound like a little change: making permanent state timber officials' four-year-old authority to contract with crews to fell trees according to specific instructions, instead of the more common system of identifying timber stands to sell and letting companies bid for the right to cut and haul away the logs.
This matters, Morton and other proponents say, beause there are millions of acres of timber in Washington with high numbers of dead, defoliated, or insect-infested trees. Morton and other proponents say that being able to contract for cutting will help cut the risk of disease- and infection spreading, as well as fire danger. Thinning those stands will make the state some money, make loggers some money, and provide some more logs for local mills.
Without the bill, such contract harvests would have ended this year.