Oregon Democrats Are Using Public Money to Advance Trump’s Public Lands Agenda
County governments throughout Oregon are helping fund a radical timber lobby group
If you live in Oregon, there's a good chance that your county government is helping fund a lawsuit to overturn the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Southern Oregon.
As members of the Association of O&C Counties (AOCC), counties throughout western Oregon are supporting not only this lawsuit, but also a wide variety of other efforts to roll back our environmental laws and dramatically increase logging levels in our National Forests. The AOCC is a timber lobby group that claims to represent counties with “O&C lands” within their borders; however, in recent years the Association has become increasingly aligned with the timber industry. (To learn more about O&C lands go HERE).
In the past year, this anti-public lands Association has used county funds to lobby the Trump administration to shrink the Cascade-Siskiyou by executive order. The Trump administration is now targeting four Monuments nationwide, and largely due to the AOCC’s efforts the Oregon Monument is among them. President Trump has already shrunk the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah by 85% and 45% respectively, which constitutes the largest elimination of protected public land in American history.
Originally designated by President Clinton in 2000 and expanded by President Obama in 2017, the Cascade-Siskiyou is the first and only National Monument specifically established to protect biological diversity. It’s also home to a section of the famous Pacific Crest Trail and other outdoor opportunities such as hiking, horseback riding, skiing, and more. The Monument area is also an important wildlife corridor which enables species to migrate between three different mountain ranges; however, if the president takes executive action to shrink the Cascade-Siskiyou, this cherished landscape would be opened to logging, mining, and other types of destructive development.
In addition to lobbying the Trump administration to attack the Cascade-Siskiyou, the Association of O&C Counties has testified before Congress and lobbied in favor of various logging bills that would dramatically alter forest management in the Pacific Northwest. One such bill, the Resilient Federal Forests Act (HR 2936), would create numerous logging loopholes to our environmental laws and require that millions of acres of public forestland throughout Oregon be managed for the sole purpose of timber production.
Recently, Oregon Wild published a report that highlights the specific protected public lands throughout Oregon that would have been required to be logged if the original bill, which the AOCC supported, became law. These areas include: the Wild Rogue Wilderness, the Table Rock Wilderness, the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, parts of Silver Falls State Park, and nine Wild & Scenic Rivers.
At a time when just 10% of Oregon’s original old-growth remains standing, we can’t afford to lose any National Monuments, Wilderness areas, or other protected public lands. Put simply, to continue supporting this radical logging organization is to be complicit in these attacks on public lands. County Commissioners aligned with Democrats should not be devoting county funds to advance Trump’s public lands agenda, especially in a state like Oregon where the vast majority of the population opposes the president’s policies. A recent poll found that 74% of Oregonians want our members of Congress to show more leadership to expand protections for public lands, not eliminate them.
Recently, Oregon’s most populous county, Multnomah County, pulled out of the Association due to its radical anti-public land agenda, and other counties can do the same. We need our leaders on the local level to stand up for public lands by withdrawing from the Association of O&C Counties once and for all!
Photo 1: The Table Rock Wilderness in Clackamas County would have been logged if the AOCC-supported legislation became law.
Photo 2: The Rogue Wild & Scenic River in Southern Oregon would have also been logged according to the AOCC-supported bill.