PORTLAND – Today, in an effort to protect Oregon’s forests, wildlife, and waterways, environmental organizations came together to deliver 5,000 public comments and letters from Oregonians across the state, all calling for continued protections for Oregon’s O&C forest lands.
Representatives from Environment Oregon and Oregon Wild were joined by citizen activists in delivering the petitions form the two groups, as well as Eugene-based environmental organization Cascadia Wildlands, to Sen. Ron Wyden’s Portland office. In addition to the public comments, activists also delivered two 4’ X 6’ postcards to Sen. Wyden. The postcards have been signed by hundreds of Oregonians from Eugene.
The comments were collected to oppose Sen. Wyden’s controversial logging proposal, S. 1784, or the O&C Land Act of 2013. This bill would remove key environmental protections for approximately 1 million acres of Oregon’s public forests.
S. 1784 has been touted as a step backward by the environmental community, who cite decreased protections for wildlife and waterways and limited public participation as the most egregious attacks within the legislation. The delivery of the public comments came on the tail of a recent letter given to Sen. Wyden opposing his bill. The letter was signed by 25 local and national conservation organizations, representing tens of thousands of members and supporters in Oregon, and millions nationwide.
“It’s time for Sen. Wyden to recognize the overwhelming opposition that Oregonians feel toward his legislation. Oregonians agree that our public forests are far too special to be tossed aside for a shortsighted logging proposal,” said Rikki Seguin, conservation advocate with Environment Oregon.
“Our forests are home to wildlife like the marbled murrelet and provide clean drinking water for millions of Oregonians. We want the wildlife habitat and waterways that these forests provide to remain pristine for generations to come—not threatened by clear-cuts and parking lots," Seguin continued.
Sen. Wyden’s legislation is also the first of several pieces of legislation regarding forest management. “By proposing this legislation, Sen. Wyden has triggered a series of attacks on public forests across the country, most notably Sen. John Barrasso’s S. 1966, which endangers millions of acres of public forests across the West,” said Seguin.
The O&C Land Act of 2013 faces its first hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee this Thursday, 2/6. Sen. Wyden is the chair of this committee.