BLM Logging Bill Bad for Oregon

Western Oregon BLM old growth forest

In previous blog posts, we have highlighted concerns with legislation being floated by Oregon Congressmen Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrader and Greg Walden for the management of over 2 million acres of western Oregon BLM forest land.

The long awaited proposal was finally released as a ‘discussion draft’ on February 16. Nearly 1.5 million acres of federal lands, including significant forests between 80 and 125 years old, will be placed in quasi-private timber trusts with significantly weakened environmental protections and no environmental analysis or public comment on timber sales. The trusts will be managed by a board which includes representatives from the timber industry, and will be logged much like industrial forest lands with 120 acre clearcuts, heavy chemical use,  and minimal to no buffers for many streams.

Congressman DeFazio is now conducting a poll and accepting public comment on the draft on his website. Please visit his website and check the box to indicate that ‘you do not support the draft O & C Trust, Conservation and Jobs Plan as currently written.’ Please also enter specific comments on the draft bill and include the following key points:

  • Oppose the application of the Oregon Forest Practices Act to 1.5 million acres of public lands. The Oregon Forest Practices Act is inadequate to protect clean water, wild salmon, critical habitat for spotted owl and other endangered species, and recreational values. This is a dramatic weakening in environmental protections from current Northwest Forest Plan standards and is particularly harmful in forests between 80 and 125 years old, exposing these important forests to large-scale clearcuts, increased likelihood of dangerous landslides, and damage to clean water and salmon streams that could push some runs of wild fish and other species closer to extinction.
  • Protecting wilderness quality BLM forests and old growth trees and forests should happen only as stand alone legislation, not linked to reduced environmental protections on other public lands. Further, future legislation should also protect all mature native forests between 80 and 125 years old.
  • Linking county budgets to logging levels on federal land is a failed strategy. Congress should maintain a significant level of direct payments in lieu of taxes, and take steps to reduce log exports from private industrial forest lands in Oregon.

8 Responses to BLM Logging Bill Bad for Oregon

  1. Ivam H Hove says:

    Its a damn shame that the trees will be shipped out!!!!!!

  2. Bradford Crain says:

    It’s a damn shame the forests can’t just be left alone. We have to muck up everything.

  3. Janet Flaherty says:

    There needs to be a balanced forest management plan, where forests are managed without the use of chemicals that can get into water supplies, without clear cuts that damage streams and habitats and without cutting old growth unless the tree is unhealthy. Under growth should be cut back in a way that allows the forest to breath and be healthy, trees lower branches should be cut to encourage straight grain in the wood and the tree should be more than 40yrs old and less than 80yrs. At 40 the tree begins to increase the growth rate of wood volume. The less healthy trees should be the ones harvested to give the healthy ones the chance to grow and thrive in a better environment with more room. Then the trees that come from the healthy trees will more likely be healthy. If we leave the forest on its own it becomes overgrown and leaves more chance that when there is a fire, it wil burn too hot and kill the soil and the seeds and take much longer to revive. The forests have been left alone for a long time now with no real management. Trees need to be tended to, cared for and the forest habitats nurtured so that the critters living in the forest provide fertilization for the trees. It is really pretty simple. No clear cuts. We know that it is the worst thing we can do. Thinning, using machinery and helicopters to remove the logs that doesn’t destroy habitats. It makes sense. We need wood for building and we are importing from other countries that are clear cutting their forests and hurting the environment in Canada, Indonesia and South America, so what’s the difference? What happens when those places clearcut themselves out of wood? Where are we going to go? We have just transferred the damage to elsewhere out of our sight, like we transfer our garbage. South American forests are the prime place for trees to provide oxygen to the earth, to us. We need to develop practices that are healthy for the earth, provide resources we need including oxygen we breath and keep us responsible for our world. Our privately owned forests could be an example of good management and if they didn’t export the wood, we could have more stake in where our resources come from and how they are managed. There are private forest owners who are managing their land and forests well. Why not follow their example and set regulations for federal forest management. Doing nothing can have serious consequences long term. Fire has no boundaries as we have seen from the Yellowstone and Sounthern Oregon fires and both federal and private lands are susceptible, but if both are managed well, fire can be a healthy event for the forest not a destructive one.
    It sounds like this bill misses the mark because it doesn’t practice good management, does not leave the environment healthy and returns to clear cutting as a practice of really bad management as we have seen in the past. Please say no to this bill as it is written and fight to make the trusts work the forests in healthy ways and to keep the the logs here in this country.
    We have made mistakes in the past. Lets not repeat them.

  4. Tom Blackburn says:

    Yea, What Janet F. said!

  5. todd baldwin says:

    Blm bring us clear cuts and more local jobs!!

  6. No more cutting trees or “our air filters” – PLANT HEMP INSTEAD

  7. Here’s my comment on the DeFazio Bill.

    “Good idea basically but why only O&C lands and why only Oregon. The US Forest Service land is suffering from severe non-management problems and the problem is nationwide, not just in the Pacific Northwest. The proposal to transfer only the “surface estate” rather than the land is ingenious and I’ve stolen the idea for my webpage revision http://www.wvmcconnell.net/?page_id=591

    The page deals with the Trust approach as it applies to USFS land and suggests some variations on the basic Trust theme as outlined by DeFazio.

  8. tommy fuller says:

    how about thinning these forests of underbrush so the lighting storms want make such devastating forest fires durring dry conditions. some clear some clear cutting are good for the forest animals but the huge clear cuts of the past were not good for the forest ecosystems.

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