Oregon Wild Employee Resigns In Protest Over "Historic Agreement" With Timber Corporations

"I resigned from Oregon Wild on Friday. For for those of you who did not not know, I've been waiting to say something until they made this announcement.

I have strong disagreements with many aspects of this deal, and was committed to taking this fight to the ballot box with the incredibly strong initiative we had been working on. Oregon Wild and I came to a point where I could no longer be involved in trying to improve this process.

This is all very stressful, and I want the folks who I've been organizing with around this issue for so many years to know that I'm doing a lot of thinking right now and I'm not sure what to tell you yet about so many things.

Oregon Wild and others see this as a huge victory, and I think it's in their right to do so, I know many folks will support this decision and I think that's fair enough. It's hard to have hope that we can make the changes we need and not the changes the powerful will give us, but some of us still cling to that idea and I just can't let it go.

I had considered staying and fighting to improve this process, and I want you to know that while the environmental protections in this agreement were a big problem, the specific thing that caused me to so suddenly resign is what I call the "protest penalty" being agreed to. I think it's inappropriate to have this in this environmental law and for the non-profits to agree to it, and when it wasn't removed, I resigned immediately. The provision on "presuming" the intent of me and my neighbors was added after I resigned, and I'm incredibly sad to read today that Oregon Wild and others agreed to that.

That rule is as follows, copied from the link in the article - this is insane, and completely unacceptable:

" Penalties for Interfering with Helicopter Pesticide Applications

10) Any person who intentionally interferes with a helicopter pesticide application may be ticketed for a violation with a presumptive fine of $1,000 for the first offense, and $5,000 for any additional offense within a five-year period, and may be liable to the operator for any actual damages resulting from the interference or other remedies available at law. Any interference by a Nearby Recipient shall be deemed to be intentional. There shall be a rebuttable a presumption that any interference is intentional if caused by a Recipient or a Water User Recipient who registers a Flagged Parcel or Flagged Water Source pursuant to Section 1 above. "


The Eugene Weekly Published An Abbreviated Version and Description of the "Historic Agreement" in the "Slant" Section on February 13, 2020.


https://www.eugeneweekly.com/2020/02/13/slant-112/


• Eugene-based Cascadia Wildlands and Beyond Toxics, together with Oregon Wild, Oregon League of Conservation Voters and nine other groups, worked out a Memorandum of Understanding with 13 timber companies, including Weyerhaeuser and Seneca timber, to update Oregon's outdated forest practices and address pesticide sprays. There was at least one fly in the celebratory ointment of the historic agreement. Forest and Watershed Campaign Organizer Jason Gonzales resigned from Oregon Wild in protest of the agreement. He says in a public Facebook post that "Oregon Wild and others see this as a huge victory, and I think it's in their right to do so," but he says he is deeply concerned by what he calls the "protest penalty" in which the MOU states, "any person who intentionally interferes with a helicopter pesticide application may be ticketed for a violation with a presumptive fine of $1,000 for the first offense." Gonzales cites as an example the possibility of someone videotaping a spray and being fined because the pilot, who may not want to be documented, says he couldn't spray and was thus interfered with.

 

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