PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Crook County Court unanimously approved a controversial Natural Resources Plan, Wednesday, following two days of public testimony.
Many of those opposed to the new policy were frustrated the latest draft wasn’t released until Friday, giving them little time to review the large document before the first hearing. Judge Seth Crawford disagrees, "The plan’s been out there pretty much in its current form for at least a year, so I don’t agree with the fact that they didn’t have time. The changes that we made were very minimal; it just was changing some slight wording and legalese." He acknowledges some people were against the policy, but he tells KBND News it’s necessary. "The biggest thing I heard [at the public hearings] was that we were ‘taking over federal lands.’ And that’s not accurate at all; that’s not something that we’re trying to do. All we’re trying to do is work with the federal government and try and get to a place where we have healthier, more robust forests."
Judge Crawford has supported the Natural Resources Plan since it first came to a vote, last year. It was voted down by the previous County Court; Crawford was the only "yes" vote. He says it's now time to move forward. "We’re going to work to find a coordinator that would be in charge of a committee that will review information and give ideas to the Court of which direction to head. There are a lot of questions about what’s that going to cost? And, what we need to figure out is, can we find somebody in a volunteer position that’s willing to do that? Or do we have to pay them? I’d like to spend the least amount of money as possible, but we also need to have a good product." He says that committee will then oversee the plan's implementation and develop priorities for future discussions with the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.