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News, notes, trip reports, and the lighter side (of the wilder side) of the Oregon environmental and conservation movement.

Showing blog entries tagged as: WOPR
A not so public meeting

A not so public meeting

Posted by Sean Stevens at Jan 25, 2010 11:00 AM |

How the AOCC continues to flout the Lane County Board of Commissioners (and citizens who want a better deal for their taxpayer dollars).

Last spring, Oregon Wild spent quite a bit of time talking to the members of the Lane County Board of Commissioners trying to convince them they were wasting their money.

See, there are 18 Oregon counties that contain the so-called "O&C Lands" -- Bureau of Land Management held forest that many in the timber industry (and local government) view as their own private piggy bank. Of course, this land is owned by all Americans and the 1937 law that put them into BLM ownership mandated a whole host of uses. Here's the language:

"...shall be managed...for permanent forest production, and the timber thereon shall be sold, cut and removed in conformity with the principal of sustained yield for the purpose of providing a permanent source of timber supply, protecting watersheds, regulating stream flow, and contributing to the economic stability of local communities and industries, and providing recreational facilities."

Well, the Association of O&C Counties (AOCC) has for years attempted to ensure that the only part of that mandate that gets traction is the cutting down trees part. For decades, they have taken taxpayer dollars (in the form of dues from member counties) and spent them lobbying for bad ideas like the WOPR and selling off public land.

Last year, Oregon Wild and others urged Lane County to disassociate themselves from the Association. And we won.

Read More…

Good idea that could be better

Good idea that could be better

Posted by Chandra LeGue at Oct 14, 2009 04:47 PM |

An announcement by the Interior Secretary on the future of western Oregon BLM lands holds promise, but isn't perfect.

When Interior Secretary Salazar announced in July that the Obama administration was withdrawing the controversial WOPR (Western Oregon Plan Revision for BLM lands), we couldn't have been happier. At the time, the Secretary stated that the BLM would move towards producing "ecologically sound" forest management projects. We thought we knew what he meant - the type of diversity-enhancing thinning of young managed stands we've been promoting for years. Unfortunately, some of the projects the BLM thought made the grade... didn't. Oregon Wild sent a report card to Interior showing the need for a few more classes in non-controversial, "ecologically sound" forest management.

Today, officials from the BLM and Department of Fish & Wildlife, Senator Wyden, and Rep. DeFazio got together to announce a new workplan for western Oregon's forests. While the intentions of the announcement seem pretty good - to move forward with non-controversial timber sales that comply with the Endangered Species Act, help restore degraded forests, and provide local jobs - the fine print isn't as encouraging.

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Both sides of their mouth

Both sides of their mouth

Posted by Sean Stevens at Sep 25, 2009 03:05 PM |
Filed under: BLM Old Growth WOPR Government

A Glendale based logging company uses one hand to take money from the feds and the other to file a lawsuit against them

The saga of the Western Oregon Plan Revisions (WOPR) has been pretty well documented. It goes something like this:

  1. Oregon's timber industry logs too much for 100 years.
  2. The Northwest Forest Plan stems the tide with science-based protections for critical species, watersheds, salmon, etc.
  3. The logging industry, and the old-growth hungry Association of O&C Counties (AOCC) want a higher cut.
  4. The Bush administration takes power and vows to help their political allies (and major campaign donors) in the timber industry.
  5. AOCC and the American Forest Resources Council sue the government and get an out-of-court sweetheart deal.
  6. The WOPR is born from this deal - a plan that would drastically increase clear-cut old-growth logging on western Oregon BLM forests.
  7. The WOPR is found to be so darn illegal by the new administration that they throw it out as indefensible.

In July, when the WOPR was rightfully tossed out, conservationists celebrated. As the lead plaintiff in the court challenge to the legality of the WOPR, Oregon Wild was relieved to avoid a long and drawn out court battle - especially when we know there is a common sense alternative that could end much of the timber war debates of the past two decades.

But, we knew the fight wouldn't be over...

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Daily Kos GreenRoots

Daily Kos GreenRoots

Regna Merritt interviewed on the new political scene and the implications for the environment.

Late last week, our Executive Director Regna Merritt received an e-mail request to answer some questions about how the new Obama administration was doing on the environment (review: mixed). The questions ranged from appointments to campaign promises.

See the whole interview here.

And read a few excerpts after the jump.

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Of counties and clear-cuts

Of counties and clear-cuts

Will Lane County’s move away from old-growth logging advocates signal a changing landscape in local government policy?

For a century, when the Forest Service sold the trees on public forestlands to a private firm for the purpose of logging (aka: a timber sale), local counties have gotten a cut of the proceeds. On 2.2 million acres of Bureau of Land Management forest in western Oregon the take for Oregon counties can be as high as 75 percent.

Historically, the direct funneling of money from timber sales to county coffers has made elected officials in Oregon counties big cheerleaders for big timber and the old-growth logging that has marked much of Oregon’s history. In fact, the Josephine County Sheriff’s Department logo sports the image of a three-log truck heading down the road—as if the job of local law enforcement was solely tied to protecting timber profits.

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Duking it out with the AOCC

Duking it out with the AOCC

Posted by Sean Stevens at May 21, 2009 11:45 AM |
Filed under: BLM Government WOPR Eugene

Where should Lane County spend their precious resources? I'm gonna say, not on old-growth logging.

Every year, Lane County has to set a budget.  And for the last two decades, there has been a line item in that budget to pay dues to the Association of O&C Counties (AOCC). Many of you might be asking the same question right now.

"Who?"

Besides being an alphabet soup of a name, the AOCC is a group of 18 counties that all contain land managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management but formerly (100 years ago) deeded to a railroad company. The details are too minute to get into here (a good run down of the history of the O&C Lands can be found here) but suffice it to say, the O&C Lands are lands that we all own. They are public forests.

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Coastal wilderness wonderland

Coastal wilderness wonderland

A report on a trek into the proposed Devil's Staircase Wilderness.

On Saturday morning, a group of 18 intrepid forest lovers from Eugene, Roseburg, and Coos Bay met outside Bob's Market in Scottsburg - on the Umpqua River not far from Reedsport. I think we were all very happy it wasn't raining, and that we were about to be led into one of the most inaccessible and wild places left in the Coast Range: the proposed Devil's Staircase Wilderness.

The hike was led by Cascadia Wildlands Project, one of Oregon Wild's partners in a coaltion working to protect the Devil's Staircase area. The hikes into the area are notoriously difficult, but this was billed as the "easiest" of possible hikes. Ok - no problem!

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Another day, another WOPR project

Another day, another WOPR project

Posted by Chandra LeGue at Feb 12, 2009 03:21 PM |
Filed under: BLM Wildlife WOPR

Writing comments on the first BLM project planned under WOPR - another day in the Eugene office.

We knew it was coming of course. We've received three scoping notices (scoping is the first opportunity for the public to weigh in on public lands projects) for new timber sales being planned under WOPR. We've looked at them a little - especially the Edson Regen project - but none of the comment due dates have come up yet. Until today. Today I had to sit down and actually hammer out some way to tell the BLM what I think about their WOPR plans. Without swearing. Tough.

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WOPR JR: Bush can't have it his way

WOPR JR: Bush can't have it his way

The BLM releases the final version of their old-growth logging plan. This blogger's task: distill 2,000 pages into one post.

Okay, so I am not going to try to give you ALL of the details of the new FEIS WOPR. Mostly because that would be, a) boring, and b) I haven't read the whole thing. (It is 2,000 pages long, after all).

What I can tell you is this thing is a stinker. Just a little bit of background if you aren't already in the WOPR loop. WOPR stands for Western Oregon Plan Revision and it's a plan drawn up by the Bush administration and the BLM outlining management for 2.6 million acres of Oregon's forest. I know what you're thinking: letting the Bush administration draw up a plan for forests? Sounds like a bad idea.

Well, with their track record it is a bad idea. Especially when these forests already had the imperfect but science-based management outlined in the Northwest Forest Plan. However, the Bushies and the timber industry used a sue-and-settle scheme to force the BLM to rewrite their plan.

And thus we have the lump of coal that is the WOPR.

Here are a few details about the plan, courtesy of our forest expert Doug Heiken, that just might blow your mind:

  • 375% increase in timber harvest compared to current logging levels
  • timber harvest equivalent to 100,400 log trucks per year, or 1 million log trucks over a decade
  • 27% of the remaining old growth on BLM land would be clear-cut over the next 100 years (that's almost 100,000 acres for those of you keeping track at home)
  • protection for rivers and streams would be slashed in half compared to the existing plan
  • Over the next 100 years, the plan will result in 180 million tons more carbon in the atmosphere compared to a "no harvest" alternative, equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions from 1 million cars driven for 132 years
  • the so-called "regeneration" harvests in the plan (some 70% of the volume comes from regen harvest) are real clear-cuts with NO green tree retention
  • almost 1300 miles of new roads
Frankly, my head hurts.
 
Like I said, this baby is 2,000 pages long, so we are still unraveling it. Once we have it fully digested we'll be pulling out all stops to make sure that this disaster of a plan gets no where close to implementation.
 
In the mean time, feel free to go hug a tree and commiserate.

DeFazio on the war path

DeFazio on the war path

Posted by Sean Stevens at Mar 31, 2008 02:10 PM |
Filed under: Old Growth WOPR

It's not often you get to see the word lambaste in a press release from a government official. But when you're dealing in the upside-down world of the BLM's WOPR, anything goes.

It's not often you get to see the word lambaste in a press release from a government official. But when you're dealing in the upside-down world of the BLM's WOPR, anything goes.

Today's lambaster, Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) who uncovered the fact that the Bureau of Land Management had buried the scientific review of the Western Oregon Plan Revisions deep in it's website for the past few weeks. From the press release:

"I am shocked that the BLM appears to have quietly sat on the findings from its own Science Team,” Congressman DeFazio said.  “This doesn’t pass any credible attempt to fully disseminate this report and make the public aware that the Team’s findings were even available. Given the Science Team took issue with much of the findings in the WOPR, the BLM leaves the impression that it didn’t want this report to be widely known anytime soon."

Wait. A Bush administration agency doesn't want science to see the light of day? I won't hear of it. Obviously a conspiracy theory. Who would believe that a government agency would completely disregard their own scientists?

So much for all those claims by BLM officials that the agency was consulting with the best scientists and making sure that their plan met endangered species and clean water guidelines. Of course, the "Science Team" isn't the first group of lab coat wearing, field experimenting folks to get there hands on the WOPR and tear it to pieces. The EPA, federal fisheries managers and the Oregon DEQ have all found serious flaws in the plan that would boost clear-cut logging in Oregon.

Now, the question is: What will DeFazio do to stop the WOPR and protect the forest values that these scientists have identified?

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