Logging roads bill needs push over the top

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The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June to take the Ninth Circuit logging roads case was great news, but it wasn’t the whole story. Even if the Supreme Court knocks down the Ninth Circuit ruling, the high court’s decision won’t come until sometime next year. In the meantime, a temporary stay on the Ninth Circuit ruling, approved by Congress last … Read More

New study shows forest thinning helps the spotted owl

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The spotted owl has caused untold economic suffering over the last 20 years, as the Northwest timber harvest was cut down to a fraction of its former self and rural communities across Washington, Oregon and California lost jobs and livelihoods. Now a new study by Oregon State University and Michigan State University is saying well, never mind all that. According … Read More

Timber counties struggle for sustainable solutions

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Timber counties in the West got some good news earlier this month when Northwest legislators announced they had secured a one-year extension of timber payments. But it was a Pyrrhic victory. The money barely made a dent in the counties’ financial problems and it did nothing to answer the larger question: how do rural counties historically dependent on timber payments … Read More

Impact of forest fires felt across the West

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Forest fire season is upon us in Washington State. Experts say the season will probably start off mild because of a wet June but rest assured, the fires will happen, especially in Eastern Washington, which is experiencing hot and dry weather. Also adding to the urgency: State Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark recently said that several Eastern Washington counties should be … Read More

Rural counties need a long-term solution on timber payments

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Congress just approved a one-year extension of timber payments to rural counties, but you’ll have to excuse local residents for not cheering. The timber payments ran out back in September, so in the Northwest, the massive budget cuts have already happened and a one-year extension won’t help matters much. In Lane County, Ore., the sheriff has already had to watch … Read More

Supreme Court will take logging roads case, but questions remain

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For advocates of working forests, the big news out of the Supreme Court this week wasn’t its ruling on health care reform – it was the court’s decision to take the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals logging roads case. For months, the timber industry has been asking the high court to take the case, in which the Ninth Circuit ruled … Read More

The thick of thinning our forests

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With the advent of wildfire season upon us, discussion is turning to the importance of forest thinning to protect rural communities and forest health. This time last year, the Wallow Fire in Arizona caused state and local officials to decry the inaction of the U.S. Forest Service to allow more thinning. Now it feels like there are more thinning projects … Read More

Can this forest coalition succeed?

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Will a new collaboration between government, the timber industry and environmentalists in Northeast Oregon succeed where others appear to have failed? All those parties are on the verge of forming coalitions that “would work out differences that might otherwise hold up work on timber projects” in the Umatilla National Forest and the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, according to the La Grande … Read More

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There is a lot of anger right now in rural communities across the Northwest. Local governments are out of money, and unemployment is rampant because of massive declines in the timber harvest, and yet the federal government seems to want to only make things worse. A proposed spotted owl habitat designation would double the amount of critical owl habitat and … Read More

EPA weighs in on logging roads case, but more steps remain

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Good news this week on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision on logging roads, but it’s likely just another chapter in a longer battle. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency just announced it will regulate runoff from logging roads with state-managed best management pratices instead of the heavy-handed federal regulation suggested by the Ninth Circuit decision. The court’s decision last … Read More