Grants Pass, OR -

The U.S. Forest Service has held firm on its demand that Oregon and 40 other states pay back a portion of their last payment under a federal subsidy for timber counties known as Secure Rural Schools, due to the requirements of the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration.

But Oregon's timber counties won't have to write a check, because the $4 million being demanded from Oregon is being deducted from a fund known as Title II, which pays for fish and wildlife habitat improvement projects on national forests.

Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell made it official in an Aug. 19 letter to Gov. John Kitzhaber.

The Forest Service set off a storm of outrage last March when it demanded 41 states repay a total of $17.9 million due to sequestration.