Mark Haggerty, an independent researcher with Headwaters Economics, said that the forest trust proposed in the bill addresses a systematic problem with the current arrangement.
“Rural communities with natural resource economies are especially vulnerable, both to volatility in markets and uncertainty of policy coming from Washington, D.C.,” Haggerty said. “This bill, and the trust concept in general, is a piece of a much bigger effort to help rural communities capture the wealth they generate in the economy, whether that be from forest products, agriculture, recreation or manufacturing.”
Haggerty described how such a forest trust could work in a report for Headwaters. According to the report, county payments totaling $750 million were made to nearly 2,000 local governments in 2018 in 52 U.S. states and territories. Included in that total are Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT), the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRS) and National Wildlife Refuge Revenue Sharing Payments (RRS).