JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service plans to take a portion of the timber payments it has promised or paid out to 22 states.
Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell sent a letter Monday to Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell, saying the state will see its share reduced by nearly $1 million, or nearly half of its allotment. Oregon would be the hardest hit by the move, with nearly $4 million in reductions.
Forest Service spokesman Larry Chambers said by email that 20 other states also received collection letters.
The federal agency in March asked Alaska to return more than $800,000, but the state has refused, saying there was no basis in law for the request.
It wasn't immediately clear why the agency is now taking more than $930,000 from Alaska's funds for habitat improvement and other national forest projects that put people to work.