Congress must act on O&C lands

Editor’s note:  An editorial from Eugene, Oregon’s REGISTER GUARD, published today, June 12, 2016.

OandClands

Western Oregon’s timber-dependent counties have grown accustomed to being promised 10 cookies and receiving only five. It’s entirely rational that they now discount promises in a new plan for forests overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, mostly on lands that once belonged to the defunct Oregon & California Railroad. The plan says the counties will get six cookies, and calls it an increase over what they’re getting now. Bitter experience tells the counties to get ready for three.

The 10-cookie promise is contained in the Northwest Forest Plan of 1994, adopted by the Clinton administration to ensure environmental and economic stability in the wake of lawsuits to stop logging that threatened the habitat of the northern spotted owl and other species. The plan projected an annual timber harvest of 400 million board feet on the BLM lands, down from previous yearly volumes of more than 1 billion board feet. Employment in Western Oregon’s wood products industry was projected to decline to 10,000 from more than 30,000.

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