The Rogue River BLM Unprotected Wild Area
Democratic Senator Wyden's O & C Lands Grant Act (S. 1784) is Much Worse Than Some Would Have Imagined!
Here is brief description pinpointing some of the most potentially damaging provisions of U.S. Senator Ron Wyden’s O & C Lands Grant Act released on November 26th, 2013.
"While upholding federal environmental laws, the bill would provide for a
streamlined approach to undertaking environmental analysis, providing for
two large scale environmental impact statements – one each for moist and
dry forests – that will study 10 years of work in the woods, rather than a
single project, as is the case now. Preparation of those documents
requires up front consultation among federal agencies."
This would mean 2 Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) for the entire 2.1 million acres. All timber sales would be covered by each EIS for 10 years. This would be a timber baron and timber planners fantasy come true.
"After the initial analysis, subsequent projects that are consistent with
the 10-year environmental review will not require further analysis, and
suits over individual projects will be limited."
This would mean no individual timber sales could be challenged by a lawsuit.
If one legally challenged the EIS and lost one would have no recourse to file a lawsuit against a future illegal timber sale.
"The legislation also eliminates the time-consuming and costly “survey and
manage” requirements for O&C lands."
Survey and Manage provisions are the back-bone of the Northwest Forest Plan. Survey and Manage provides minimal protections for hundreds of rare and sensitive endemic Pacific Northwest forest species. If the Wyden bill is fully implemented as it is it would eliminate all surveys and protections for these Pacific NW endemic and rare species currently afforded minimal protections. This would include the red tree vole. Non-native bullfrogs and turkeys would have more protections. No species except Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed species could stop the BLM from getting the cut out!
Speaking of ESA listed species, here are some highly questionable provisions in Senator Wyden’s O & C Legislative Framework regarding the ESA listed threatened Northern spotted owl and threatened marbled murrelet.
“Spotted owl nest trees cannot be cut unless the tree poses an substantial safety threat.”
“Limited timber can be harvested in marbled murrelet habitat if the sales
would provide forest ecosystem benefits and if the Secretary confers with
the US Fish and Wildlife Service in selecting their locations.”
If you want to read it yourself:
Please Consider Making Direct Inquiries to Senator Wyden and Merkley with a Call, Email, or Sending a Postcard Regarding the Billboard's Assertions. This is the best way to place pressure on Wyden and Merkley plus get the "biggest bang for the billboard buc".
Here is a link to Senator Wyden's Contact Info.
Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden Proposes to Gut the Northwest Forest Plan (as weak as it already is).
To appease the wealthy timber barons of Oregon and big timber "welfare" dependent Oregon counties (ie. Lane, Douglas, Jackson, Coos, and Josephine) U.S. Senator Ron Wyden has publicly proposed a legislative framework on November 26th 2013 that more the doubles the current logging levels upon 1 million plus acres of Oregon's BLM
O & C Lands by adopting the "Norm Johnson and Jerry Franklin Pilot Projects" as his preferred management scheme.
Hear this affirmed in Senator Wyden's own words in a August 21, 2013 Salem Statesman Journal interview starting at 44 minutes where he states "The Norm Johnson and Jerry Franklin Projects are the best opportunity to increase harvest levels on O & C lands and keep them there".
The "Norm Johnson and Jerry Franklin Pilot Projects" are regeneration harvests or a sloppy clear-cut. The Orwellian term they use to describe these sloppy clear-cuts is "variable retention harvest" or "VRH". Several Norm and Jerry Show Projects have already been auctioned and awarded to Oregon timber barons. To View pictures of a completed Norm and Jerry Pilot Project called the "Buck Rising" timber sale from May 2013.
Norm Johnson is a Oregon State University Forestry Department Economist and Jerry Franklin is a University of Washington Forestry Ecologists.
Another Norm and Jerry Show Pilot timber sale, White Castle Sale, has been auctioned to Roseburg Lumber, one of the largest tree fiber operations on the west coast that is solely owned by Allyn Ford. This timber sale is located in the headwaters of Myrtle Creek from which the town is named inside Douglas County south of Roseburg, Oregon. Since June 2013 the Cascadia Forest Defenders have initiated an citizens' injunction by installing a series of tree-sits throughout Unit 8.
However, Senator Wyden has never mentioned the fact that nearly 1 billion board feet of timber sales on public lands remain under contract and uncut. Nor does Senator Wyden or any Oregon Democrat Congress person or Governor mention the current rampant raw log exports by the big timber elite. See details below.
Oregon Democrats Congressman DeFazio and Governor John Kitzhaber Propose to Serve Up BLM Native Forests to Oregon's Timber Elite on a Gold Plated Platter!
In addition to the tens of thousands of log truck loads of BLM trees already auctioned to Oregon's timber barons, several key Democrats including Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio created legislation in 2012 to, in essence, privatize 1.6 million acres of O & C Lands for logging. Democrat Congressman DeFazio attached his O & C Trust, Conservation, and Jobs Act to the newly passed (8/13) House Resources Bill H.R. 1526. Democratic Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is also advocating for this federal legislation that would more or less privatize 1.6 million acres of these BLM lands in western Oregon. If their legislation ever became reality these lands would be managed under one of the nations weakest forest practices regulations called the Oregon Forest Practices Act.
Here are some pictures of what happens to lands managed under the Oregon Forest Practices Act.
Roseburg Forest Products clearcut in Oregon's Elliot State Forest, 2006
Senator Wyden has stated numerous times that he could not support the DeFazio bill. However, he has proposed his own bill to more than double logging levels on the BLM O & C lands. Several of Oregon's veteran forest defenders believe the O & C Trust Act proposed by Oregon's Congressman DeFazio is a "bait and switch" tactic to create the illusion that the "kinder and gentler clear-cuts" being offered by Senator Wyden is the balanced approach to increase logging of native forests on BLM O & C lands.
Oregon's Big Timber Elite Are Holding over 800 Million Board Feet of Federal and State Land Timber Sales in Oregon
The number of acres of public lands timber sale contracts that Oregon's timber barons are "piggy banking" has likely doubled since 2008 while Oregon and national environmental groups have just sat back and turned a blind eye.
Data purchased and attained from Timber Data Inc. for fiscal year 2010:
In 2010 Timber Data Incorporated tallies show 500 million board feet of Oregon's Bureau of Land Management timber sold but uncut. Add this to nearly 400 million feet of uncut state managed public lands timber and 1,200 million feet of sold and uncut Forest Service timber sales. That's more than 2 billion board feet of uncut publicly owned timber (forests) held under contract in the Northwest!
In a Oregonian Opinion Editorial in 2011 written by a professional timber appraiser this amount of volume was estimated to be approximately 500,000 log-truckloads of public timber sold but uncut within hauling distance of Oregon's mills. Now how is it that Oregon wood mills are "starved for timber" as politicians and the Oregon timber industry claims?
Many So-Called "Oregon Environmental Groups" Seem Willing to Allow This Travesty to Occur If They Retain Access to Oregon Democrats, Big Foundation Dollars & New Wilderness Areas in Return.
Some Oregon environmental groups ( Pacific Rivers Council, Wild Salmon Center, Eco Trust, etc.) many of which are funded by the Pew Foundation and other large corporate foundations will likely trip over themselves accepting the Norm Johnson and Jerry Franklin "kinder and gentler clearcut" management scheme. Here is one such new Pew Foundation funded entity called the Coalition for O & C Lands.
For some groups like Pacific Rivers and Wild Salmon Center their silence or quid pro quo complicity is likely to take the form of new "permanent" stream/riparian buffers on BLM lands. For other groups in southwest Oregon their quid pro quo complicity may take the form of a 57,000 acre Rogue River Wilderness addition, a new 97,000 acre Rogue River National Recreation Area, and other "special area" protections. If these groups "go along to get along" they will subsequently attempt to drown out their critics by calling this "deal" a "victory" and broadcast it as such to their members and media. In turn they will give the Democrats who created and passed such a corrupt debacle awards and rewards (in the form of campaign cash and volunteers) in the next election.
Why Are Oregon Democrats Pushing to Increase the Logging of the Last Intact Ancient Forest Ecosystems on Earth?
Oregon counties that contain these BLM O & C lands by law recieve 50 percent of the revenues from the logging of BLM forests which are located within that county. This is what makes the BLM Oregon and California Revested Lands (O & C Lands) a very special case. To learn much more about this go to this wikipedia site. However, because of the low demand for timber products the Oregon BLM is auctioning these new timber sales at prices nearly 4 times less per thousand board feet than they were selling timber sales 10 years ago. Thus this BLM mismanagement is actually throwing away future revenues for O & C dependent counties by virtually giving the trees to the timber barons for pennies on the dollar for what they might be worth in the future. Read a Professional Timber Appraiser's expose' of this gross mismanagement by the BLM.
Longterm Solutions for Oregon Counties and Rural Economies
A real and long-term solution would be to make Oregon's wealthiest as well as largest land owners pay their fair share of Oregon taxes to support essential services for counties and schools for which they have dodged for decades. In the Oregon 2013-2015 Tax Expenditure Report the Oregon Department of Revenue estimates that Oregon and counties will lose more than $285 million per year in tax revenues because of tax exemptions and tax deductions directly at the big timber elite (those who own more than 5,000 acres). If you want to know more about how Oregon's big timber elite achieved this decades long "tax holiday" as well as which Democrats enacted these tax loopholes go to our Big Timber Elite Tax Dodgers page.
Another solution to attaining some forest products as well as long-term jobs while protecting the fragile forest ecosystems would be to enact a stricter form of "Option 1" or Alternative 1 from the Environmental Impact Statement for Old Growth Forest Related Species Within the Range of the Northern Spotted Owl which is the product of the "Forest Ecosystem Management Assessment Team" Report. The FEMAT Report was created by hundreds of the leading Northwest forest ecosystem scientists in 1993.
The Natural Selection Alternative (NSA) would also be appropriate on federal lands where roads are deemed absolutely necessary. This allows one to remove a percentage of the dead or dying trees for fiber needs where no new roads would be built. The Medford BLM officially agreed to implement the Natural Selection Alternative for 501 acres of the South Deer Creek Project in 2005 and in doing so agreed that the NSA met the BLM's "Purpose and Need" under NEPA. However, the Medford BLM would not drop the proposed logging of native and old growth forest as part of the South Deer Project. Subsequently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife would not approve the South Deer Project because it did not protect endangered species adequately and stopped the project from being implemented.
Protect and Restore Endangered Salmon Runs throughout Oregon with Salmon Recovery Jobs
Another solution that will create jobs as well as help struggling salmonid runs is the replacement or removal of fish killing culverts throughout the Pacific Northwest that act as thousands of mini dams across the PNW. In this 2001 GAO report the U.S. Forest Service and Oregon BLM estimate that there were more than 5,000 fish passage blocking culverts on Federal lands in the Pacific Northwest. The report also stated that there are over 122,000 miles of logging roads on federal public land alone. However, this GAO report did not estimate how many thousands of miles of logging roads should be permanently re-contoured and abandoned all together. Most of these logging roads need to be obliterated before the era of cheap fossil fuels ends. If we do not accomplish this before fuel rationing then we will pass on the heritage of the great era of Pacific Northwest mudslides, destruction and extinction that future generations will curse us for decades to come.
We do not need to destroy one of the world's most important and still functioning but fragmented ancient forest ecosystems that are the last and best places to mitigate the extinction of salmon runs, northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet and countless other species including our own.
The destruction from logging in the Pacific Northwest over the last 20 years on federal public lands has diminished because of the adoption of the Northwest Forest Plan in 1994 to save the northern spotted owl and thousands of other at risk species. However, on Oregon's BLM O & C ( Oregon and California Railroad Revested ) lands they have already clear-cut approximately 1 million acres, most of which were the oldest fire resistant trees and forest ecosystems that had survived for thousands of years. The remaining stands and species within are barely recovering from the continuing and past logging. Now only 5% of the native forests on ancient soils remains and Oregon's timber barons want it all. They have been exporting their own trees from their private lands to China and Japan for decades. On top of this, Oregon's O & C timber revenue dependent counties especially Douglas, Lane, Josephine, Jackson and Coos which contain the greatest amount of O & C lands want to keep suckling off old growth logging welfare checks to keep paving new roads to accommodate real estate development as well as to maintain their bloated bureaucracies.
With most of its ire focused on the clear-cutting being committed by the U.S. Forest Service in the 1980's and 1990's, the environmental movement in the Northwest has let the Oregon Bureau of Land Management, or B.L.M., that manages 2.6 million acres of publicly owned federal native forests in western Oregon fly under its radar for too long. The truth is the BLM is responsible for some of the most atrocious public forest clear-cutting in the continental U.S., the bulk of which happened in the unique and fragile forests of southern Oregon. Back in 2008 at least 24,000 acres (nearly 39 square miles!) of BLM forests were on the "auction block", under the
Below is a wikipedia map of Oregon's BLM O & C Lands as well a breakdown of acres of O & C lands per county:
BLM: Oregon & California
BLM: Public domain
U.S. Forest Service
Other Federal agency
State or local government
Private or unknown
Northwest Forest Plan boundary
BLM administrative boundary
The Oregon and California Railroad Revested Lands (commonly known as O&C Lands), are approximately 2,600,000
"Boom, Bust and the BLM" intreactive DVD and Citizen Action Tool Kit
The Western Oregon Plan Revision , also known as the "Whopper," was proposed in 2006-07 by the BLM under the GW Bush Administration, which would have returned the Oregon BLM to the "good ol' days" of logging without laws on 2.6 million acres of public land in western Oregon. The BLM's WOPR would have increased old-growth clearcutting by a staggering 700%!
~In 2007, with filmmakers Tim Lewis ("Pickaxe") and Trip Jennings ("Fire Scars"), Eco Advocates NW co-produced "Boom, Bust & the B.L.M.!," a DVD project designed to defeat the W.O.P.R. "Boom, Bust & the B.L.M.!" exposes the B.L.M.'s backroom sweetheart settlement with the timber industry to log some of the nation's last 5% native forests, highlights the voices of ornery rural Oregonians who want to see their forests alive and standing for future generations, and contains a unique Citizen's Action Toolkit to help concerned citizens organize in opposition to the B.L.M.'s plans.
In July 2009 the new Head of the Department of the Interior Ken Salazer canceled the Western Oregon Plan Revision (WOPR). He stated that the Oregon BLM plan would not be legally defensible. We had a short lived celebration because new old growth sales in southern Oregon were also announced in the same Salazar press release.
~Since early 2007, Eco Advocates NW has played a leading role in educating the public on the WOPR, airing radio spots urging Senator Wyden and Representative DeFazio to oppose the WOPR, encouraging and facilitating citizen comment-writing in opposition to the B.L.M., collecting signatures to pressure elected officials (particularly Sen. Wyden and Rep. DeFazio) to oppose the plan, creating lobbying coalitions, co-organizing rallies, and leading hikes to forests that are threatened by the W.O.P.R.