Oregonian newspaper: Board of Forestry ‘dominated by timber interests’

tillamook_treesThe Oregonian newspaper gets it right this morning with its editorial ‘A fork in the forest road.’ After warning of the negative consequences of putting timber production above all other values, the editorial states:

“Marvin Brown, the state forester, keeps saying that there is no reason for concern and that board has no intention of moving away from its broad definition of forest values. But here is a state board dominated by timber interests and labor representatives, feeling pressure from coastal counties desperate for jobs and county revenue, preparing to set in motion not only more logging, but also a redefinition of the highest value of public forests.

That’s not where Oregon should go.”

The Oregonian newspaper is also blogging from today’s Board of Forestry meeting: Oregon forestry board moving forward with Tillamook logging plan.

On top of this, the Department of Forestry’s own ‘issue scan’ has found the Board of Forestry lacks credibility with the public. Ouch. Here’s the press release from conservation groups on today’s meeting:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

PRESS ADVISORY – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Oregon Board of Forestry to Adopt Contentious State Forest Logging Plan
Department Report: Board has Credibility Problems
Fishing and Conservation Groups Call for Reversal of June 3 Logging Decision

Silverton, OR: As the Oregon Board of Forestry readies itself for a contentious meeting in Silverton on Wednesday, September 9, fish protection and conservation groups are calling for the Board to reverse its decision to increase clearcut logging in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests near the Oregon coast.

The meeting is a follow up to the Board’s June 3 meeting, where, in a controversial split decision, the Board moved to prioritize timber production at the expense of environmental protection on 500,000 acres of state-owned forest between Portland and the Coast popular with recreationists and fishermen.

“The Board lost its balance last June when, despite warnings from their own scientists, they prioritized timber harvest over some of our last strong runs of salmon and steelhead in the Tillamook and Clatsop state forests,” said Bob Van Dyk with the Wild Salmon Center. “State forests can produce timber while also producing great habitat for fish and wildlife, but science needs to be the driver, not a casualty along the side of the road.”

“As stated in their own issue scan report, this timber-biased Board of Forestry lacks credibility. The failure to rely on good science was a trademark of the Bush/Cheney era, and it’s not how we should do things in Oregon,” said Donald Fontenot, Tillamook Coordinator for the Oregon Sierra Club. “These forests not only produce clean water and provide recreation, but can also play a key role in Oregon’s strategy to fight global warming. Knowing this, why is Governor Kulongoski failing to protect these public lands?”

The Board is also facing criticism over a Department of Forestry report which notes that the Board lacks credibility with the public due to its close connection to the timber industry as well as its failure to prioritize environmental protection.

“With major timber and mill owners as members, the Board of Forestry is obviously controlled by private interests and in no way represents the public interests of Oregonians,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species program director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s no surprise that the Board has put protecting watersheds and wildlife far behind timber.”

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