February 14, 2008
Press Release

Walden will also speak to military officers organization in Grants Pass

February 14, 2008 - WASHINGTON, D.C. - After completing his 329th round trip between Oregon and the nation’s capital, Congressman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) will be in Grants Pass on Saturday to meet with a military officers group (Noon) and attend the ribbon cutting ceremony for Rough and Ready’s new Cogeneration Facility in Cave Junction (2:30 p.m.). This is Walden’s first official visit to Josephine County this year and his 30th since taking office. The schedule of events is below:

GRANTS PASS, Noon - 2 p.m.
Location: Wild River Pub, 533 NE F Street, Grants Pass:
Congressman Walden has been invited to give a legislative update at the Southern Oregon Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) luncheon. See below for a snapshot on what Congress is doing on Veterans’ issues. The southern Oregon MOAA is one of two chapters in the state; the other is located in Bend. Founded in 1929, MOAA is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan association of about 360,000 active duty, retired, National Guard, reserve and former officers of the seven uniformed services (Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and US Public Health Service).
CAVE JUNCTION, 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: 30365 Redwood Highway, Cave Junction:
In his ongoing effort to promote the importance of fuel produced from woody biomass, Congressman Walden will participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremonies of Rough and Ready’s new cogeneration facility. Last week, Walden and Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD) introduced H.R. 5236, a bill that would include woody biomass from public and private lands in the country’s new mandate to annually produce 36 billion gallons of biofuels. As a member of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, Walden has been leading the effort in Congress to promote forest health projects on public lands, not only to create woody biomass for energy, but also reduce the heavy fuels in our forests that lead to catastrophic wildfire.
That very concept of promoting energy independence and forest health simultaneously is at the core of the inspiration for Rough and Ready’s new cogeneration plant. When 500,000 acres went up in smoke in the Biscuit Fire, it was more evident than ever to Rough and Ready’s operators that the neighboring forests were choked with fuel. The mill is well-situated to help treat forest lands and also take advantage of biomass opportunities. Fifty percent of the fuel for the new plant will come from sawmill waste; the other half will be from logging refuse and fuel reduction. The plant will create two new jobs at Rough and Ready and seven to ten jobs in the woods.
ü       In the past seven years, funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has increased by over 80 percent, including record increases last year, yet more remains to be done to care for the men and women who put everything on the line for our freedom.
ü       The VA’s approved 2008 budget allows them to hire more than 1,000 new employees to help reduce the backlog of claims and appeals. An approved claim is the gateway to our veterans’ healthcare services. This includes healthcare services to rural veterans, an issue of tremendous importance to Oregon’s veterans, especially those living in the Second District.
ü       Congressman Walden is a cosponsor of the Retired Pay Restoration Act (H.R. 303), which would allow veterans who receive over 50 percent service-connected disability pay to receive their retirement pay at the same time. Currently, those veterans must wait for one of those payments to be phased in at 10 percent each year until they receive full benefits.
ü       The House last year approved with Congressman Walden’s support a bill directing the VA to establish an Advisory Committee on Rural Veterans.
ü       The VA has increased the rate of reimbursement for veterans traveling to and from treatment from 11 cents per mile to 28.5 cents per mile. Congressman Walden has joined with others in the House to support the Wounded Warriors Act, which increases the reimbursement to 48.5 cents per mile, which matches the current reimbursement rate for federal employees.
ü       The Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics (SORCC) in White City (formerly known as the White City Dom) recently opened a small clinic in Lakeview. In 2004, Congressman Walden joined hundreds of veterans to rally to keep the SORCC open and continued to lobby to keep treatment available to the 13,100 outpatients and over 500 inpatients it serves. In July 2006, the decision to close the facility was reversed and a long-term funding commitment made, keeping the roughly 500 full-time staff jobs in southern Oregon. It remains the leader in comprehensive bio-psycho-social rehabilitation in the VA system.
ü       Last year, Congress provided major funding increases for research into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.
Congressman Greg Walden represents the Oregon’s Second Congressional District, which is comprised of 20 counties in eastern, southern, and Central Oregon. He is a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and a member of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

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