<<A federal program that began as a safety net for Pacific Northwest logging communities hard-hit by battles over the spotted owl in the 1990s has morphed into a sprawling entitlement - one that ships vast amounts of money to states with little or no historic connection to timber, an analysis by The Associated Press shows.Nicknamed "county payments," the timber program was supposed to assist counties shortchanged when national forests limited logging to protect the northern spotted owl and other endangered species.Since becoming law in 2000, the program has distributed more than $3 billion to 700 counties in 41 states with national forests and helped fund everything from schools to libraries to jails.The federal largesse initially focused on a handful of Western states, with Oregon alone receiving nearly $2 billion.>>http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/201....html
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