In the last year, Cascadia Forest Defenders protested BLM timber sales such as John’s Last Stand, which even the BLM thought better of auctioning, possibly because those sales broke their own rules. The Northwest Forest Plan has set the minimum bar for forest health since 1994. Now the BLM, without so much as a legislative mandate, has tossed even that out the window in favor of a new set of rules founded on greed and dirty politics not science and common sense.
We’d see more wasteful clear cuts under the BLM’s Revised Management Plan for Western Oregon. Calling for massive logging increases in 80- to 150-year-old forests, the plan would guarantee that Oregon would never have more ancient forest than it does today.
By cutting stream buffers in half to log the larger timber from riparian zones, the plan lowers protection for the drinking water of 1.8 million Oregonians while putting valuable fisheries at risk. The plan further fails to protect threatened and endangered species by dropping the scientific mandate to survey and manage.
The plan also fails to adequately consider the climate crisis. Instead, while the BLM acknowledges that the trees are worth more sequestering carbon, it commits to meeting the mandates of the 1937 O&C Act that everyone agrees is out of date.
While the plan benefits the Oregon timber industry and politicians they subsidize, the majority of Oregon’s citizens will lose more forest recreation, water, fisheries, and wildlife. Rather than see our forests cut to pad corporate pockets further, Cascadia Forest Defenders is calling for a moratorium on logging on public land. Reformation of the timber taxes on the largest Oregon timber corporations could easily fund western county services while retaining jobs in the forest.
If this lawless raid on our public forest makes you afraid, angry, and/or tearful, turn that energy into action! Your public officials actually need to hear from you that you want your air clean, your water present, and your ancient forests standing. Weird, huh? So, write your congressmen and senators and your president. And, perhaps you’d like to attend Congressman Defazio’s campaign kick-off on August 16 (6pm, 155 Blair, Eugene). He definitely needs reminding that passing bills in Congress that call for increased logging does not serve the people of Oregon. Remind him and other politicians that without a new law to protect this proposed BLM plan revision, the plan will not stand up in the courts. When they talk about how to fund public services, remind them of all those tax cuts they have given big timber since the 1990s, and tell them to stop the corporate welfare.
If that sounds too heady, just get out in the woods and start holding them down. That is what we mean by a moratorium on logging on public land. Our next Public Hike will be to some Old Growth near Eugene on August 27 to see what Nature can do when we stop interfering. Carpool leaves Sequential on McVay at 10 am. Bring a lunch and some water. See you in the trees!