DeFazio Leads Bipartisan Effort to Extend Secure Rural Schools Program
WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio today was joined by a bipartisan group of 72 members in a letter to House Leadership urging Congress to reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) Program for at least two years.
“Congress has an obligation to ensure counties with large swaths of federally-owned, tax-exempt forests and rangelands can adequately provide essential services for their residents said Rep. Peter DeFazio. “The Secure Rural Schools program is there as a critical safety net for Oregon’s rural communities. It’s imperative that members from both parties come together to reauthorize the SRS program to continue the payments that our communities rely on for education and safety.”
SRS has been a critical lifeline to over 775 counties in more than 40 states by helping fund over 4,400 schools, road maintenance, law enforcement, and search and rescue operations on federal lands. Historically, the federal government shared with county governments 25 percent of timber sales from federal forestlands and 50 percent of revenues from certain lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Due to declining timber sales and county revenues, Congress first passed SRS in 2000 to provide a measure of compensation for counties containing federal timberland. SRS expired at the end of fiscal year 2018, with the final payments distributed to county governments early in calendar year 2019.
A PDF version of the letter can be found here.