Timber Payments Dropped from Energy Bill; Arkansas has Gotten Money in Past

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate has removed a provision from the energy bill that would have extended for four years payments to rural counties that once depended on federal timber money to pay for schools and libraries.

The money cut by the Senate yesterday has gone mostly to counties in states in the South and West, and many counties in Arkansas have benefitted.  The Ozark-St. Francis and Ouachita National Forests in Arkansas put a lot of land in federal ownership in which private owners would have paid property taxes.  The sharing of timber revenue by the U.S. Forest Service was intended as a way to compensate for the absence of revenue that would have been generated by private ownership of the land.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)