Today, Senator Ron Wyden introduced the O&C Land Grant Act of 2013, legislation that decreases critical environmental protections for over a million acres of Oregon’s public forests to promote increased logging. This bill comes on the tails of HR 1526, a controversial logging bill which passed the House of Representatives on September 20, 2013. In response to Sen. Wyden’s proposal, Rikki Seguin, Environment Oregon’s Conservation Advocate released the following statement:
“Environment Oregon opposes Senator Wyden’s decision to put over a million acres of Oregon’s treasured forests at risk to reckless logging.
“Oregon’s forests are what make Oregon so very special. Whether it’s the towering groves of old-growth, or the crystal clear rivers winding through the trees, Oregon’s forests are really what makes Oregon, Oregon.
“Sen. Wyden’s bill is a nightmare for Oregon’s forests:
- The legislation effectively guts the Northwest Forest Plan, which is the best framework for managing land and waterways in the Pacific Northwest.
- By decreasing protections for our waterways, Sen. Wyden’s bill puts the drinking water of 1.8 million Oregonians at risk. The bill significantly jeopardizes the health of our rivers, streams, and wildlife like the salmon which depend on them by allowing reckless logging closer to our rivers and streams, leading to runoff, pollution, and increased water temperature.
- Public input in management of lands and backyard forests is severely reduced, and individual environmental impact statements for timber sales are eliminated.
“We are happy to see the conservation efforts included in the bill including the creation of 87,000 miles of wilderness and protection for 165 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers. However, the conservation benefits of this bill are far outweighed by increased development and industrial logging.
“We have seen thousands of Oregonians stand up in opposition of these attacks on Oregon’s public forests. We hope to work with members of Congress here in Oregon and across the country to prevent this reckless proposal from moving forward.”
Senator Wyden's legislation can be found here.