Oregon lawmakers OK field burning phaseout

Oregon lawmakers OK field burning phaseout

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — As the Oregon Legislature heads toward adjournment, lawmakers have completed action on a bill to phase out most field burning by Willamette Valley grass seed farmers.

Monday's 31-29 vote by the House sends the measure to Gov. Ted Kulongoski.

The grass seed industry says field burning is needed to kill pests to help produce the purest grass seed possible. But critics say the smoke created each summer is bad for people's health - especially those suffering from asthma.

The measure would phase out field burning by 2010, meaning grass seed farmers could not burn fields next summer. But it would allow burning to continue on as many as 15,000 acres of steep terrain.

Kulongoski's office says the governor likely will sign it.

(Copyright 2009 The Associated Press)