Protect Oregon’s Forests from Logging Road Pollution

A stand of trees proposed for clearcutting this year in the Clatsop State Forest near the Oregon Coast.

Logging roads are a major source of pollution in Oregon’s rivers and streams. They push sediment into water, suffocating salmon and sullying drinking water sources when they are constructed, but they also divert sediment into clean water sources, particularly when being actively used by logging trucks. In a recent court ruling stemming from extensive logging road pollution in the Tillamook State Forest, judges agreed with conservation groups that logging road pollution needs to be regulated under the Clean Water Act. Now, the timber industry is mounting an aggressive campaign to convince Congress to overturn this ruling and exempt logging road pollution from the nation’s most effective water protection law.

Please take a moment to contact Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, as well as your member of Congress, and urge them to take a stand in defense of Oregon’s clean water, and resist efforts by the timber industry to secure a broad exemption for logging road pollution from the Clean Water Act.

This issue affects logging roads across private and federal lands, but importantly, it also affects the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests, which are already crisscrossed by logging roads, and where plans call for roughly 100,000 acres of new clearcutting in coming years, and extensive new logging road construction. Recently, these plans were criticized by an independent science review team from Oregon State University because they are not based on the best available science.

In Oregon, based on information the state submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency in 2006, sediment was the second leading cause of pollution in rivers and streams, accounting for almost 12,000 miles of streams threatened or impaired. More than 80,000 acres of lakes, reservoirs and ponds were threatened or impaired by sediments. Sediments were the third leading cause of lake pollution. While not all of this sediment was generated by logging roads, the roads are a major contributor, particularly in the places like the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests.

Its time for the Oregon Department of Forestry and timber industry to face up to the fact that logging road pollution harms our rivers and streams. Please contact Senators Wyden and Merkley today to ensure that the timber industry isn’t successful in getting an exemption from the Clean Water Act.

5 Responses to Protect Oregon’s Forests from Logging Road Pollution

  1. […] check out the excellent blog post written by Bethanie Walder from Wildlands CPR and this well written piece by the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club. Share this […]

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