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Evergreen Forest Trust legislation approved

Legislation that would have allowed a conservation group to purchase the Weyerhaeuser Co.'s vast Snoqualmie Tree Farm was approved last week by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The measure, which still must be approved by the Senate and signed by President Bush, came too late for the Evergreen Forest Trust to use to acquire the 104,000-acre property. Earlier this month Weyerhaeuser sold the land to a Boston timber management company, Hancock Timber Resource Group.

That sale disappointed Northwest conservationists and members of the state's congressional delegation. They had worked for years to change federal law so that the trust could issue tax-exempt bonds to finance its $185-million purchase of the tree farm.

The measure passed by the House was sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Dunn.

Dunn said she was pleased that the House had finally approved the measure, despite the sale of the tree farm.

"While I had hoped for the approval of this legislation before Weyerhaeuser recently identified another buyer for the Snoqualmie Tree Farm, I believe it is important to continue this important legislation," she said in a statement.

Trust board member Gene Duvernoy agreed. He said the trust and the Cascade Land Conservancy, of which he is president, are delighted with the legislation and look forward to using it in many other conservation efforts.

For the complete story, pick up a copy of this week's Valley Record

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