O&C "Timber Trust" - A Bad Deal for Forests & Counties
A description and critique of Rep. DeFazio, Schrader, and Walden's "O&C Trust, Conservation, and Jobs Act"
For months, Congressmen Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrader, and Republican Greg Walden, have been talking about and promoting a concept that would increase logging on a million acres of BLM O&C lands to prop-up county funding. The proposal, entitled the "O&C Trust, Conservation, and Jobs Act" (we'll call it OCTCJA or the Trust Act), was released February 15, 2012.
Conservation groups like Oregon Wild have publicly disagreed with this proposal.
What does it do?
The draft legislation would:
- Place 1.5 million acres of forest stands up to 125 years old on
O&C lands in a “trust” that would be managed to maximize
logging revenues for the benefit of counties. Additional land would be transferred to Coos County to provide revenue.
order to meet the monetary demands of cash-strapped counties, logging
on these "trust" lands would at least double from the 15 year average. (See a "Clear-cut Calculator" *coming soon* showing how much would have to be logged to produce revenue for counties.)
these "trust" lands as private industrial timberlands under the
Oregon Forest Practices Act.
- Transfer remaining older forests to the Forest Service to be either protected or managed under the Northwest Forest Plan rules.
O&C Trust Act: by the numbers
|BLM lands currently designated as Late Successional Reserve||418,000 acres (+ unknown number of Forest Service lands)
|BLM forests predominantly over 80 years old
||346,000 acres (+ unknown number of Forest Service lands)|
|BLM forests with dominant trees over 125 years old (old-growth)
||117,000 acres (+ unknown number of Forest Service lands)|
|Designated Critical Habitat for the Northern spotted owl
|Streams with diminished logging buffers
|Lands currently designated as Riparian Reserves
|Total transferred to O&C Timber Trusts
|Total O&C forests transferred to Forest Service||612,000 acres|
Key problems with the proposal
- Effectively dismantles the Northwest Forest Plan.
- Removal of federal protections currently afforded to these public lands under the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Federal Lands Policy and Management Act, National Environmental Policy Act and other federal laws.
- Management under the weak state Forest Practices Act. (See a comparison of BLM vs private land practices.)
- Failure to protect all remaining old-growth, though it promises to do so. OCTCJA fails to protect older, natural forests (between 80 and 125 years old) totaling more than 350,000 acres. And at least 120,000 acres of "young" stands have a second component of old-growth trees that won't be protected. (See a slideshow of old-growth trees in the "timber trust")
- Setting back a decade of restoration work on these forests and watersheds.
View a map of how this proposal would divide up the land. More detailed maps are available upon request.
Where's this going?
The Congressmen are collecting public comment on the proposal, after pressure from conservation groups insisting on public process. It is unknown whether the bill will have a hearing in Congress anytime soon.
Click here to send a letter to Rep. DeFazio on this proposal.
- A brief fact sheet about the bill
- A 4-page summary of the bill
- Myths and facts about the bill
- Oregon Wild's in-depth white paper addressing problems with the bill