Supreme Court may take Ninth Circuit logging case

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The U.S. Supreme Court today signaled it may hear a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case that claims logging roads should be treated as industrial sites. The Ninth Circuit decision (which we last wrote about here) said that every stream culvert and drainage ditch on hundreds of thousands of miles of logging roads should require a permit. This would require … Read More

The rise of ‘Chain-saw Environmentalism’

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As momentum builds across the West for an increased timber harvest to better manage forests, a new term has emerged: “chain-saw environmentalism.” The Salt Lake Tribune, in an in-depth story, says the movement is picking up steam nationally, as well as locally in an attempt to save aspen groves in Colorado. Too late to head off a wave of climate-fueled … Read More

More timber harvest on the way?

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Sometimes it just takes time for elected officials to come around, and in the Northwest, federal and state leaders are beginning to understand the importance of working forests. Now it remains to be seen whether this will translate into more harvest of state and federal timberland — in order to improve the health of those forests and revitalize rural economies … Read More

Time for teamwork and new solutions in Washington state

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If there was a theme at the Washington Forest Protection Association’s annual meeting in Olympia this week, it was that innovative solutions will be a critical part of the timber industry’s future. Public money is scarce and the old timber battles are over. That the old rules no longer apply was evident with the presence on stage of Martha Kongsgaard, … Read More

Timber resurgence gets political support

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It’s been heartening to see support recently from Northwest elected officials for revitalizing rural economies and rebuilding the timber industry after environmental lawsuits and the spotted owl. As we wrote about in September, one of the most pressing issues is the loss of federal payments to timber-dependent counties in Oregon and Washington. Some county governments, like Skamania County in Southwest … Read More

Oregon governor makes a bold move

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Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber spoke to his state’s Board of Forestry this week and had some bold ideas that you don’t often hear from governors, especially on timber issues. His proposal is relevant not just for Oregon but every Western state. (Kitzhaber told the board) to step back from the “politically driven seesaw management” of the state’s timberland and adopt … Read More

Another biomass study is refuted

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This week Oregon State University released a study that claims using woody biomass for electricity isn’t carbon neutral. But like the Manomet study out of Massachusetts last year, the OSU study is not standing up well to scrutiny. So much so that some critics of the study are from Oregon State University itself. Paul Barnum, executive director of the (Oregon … Read More

Reframing the message on working forests

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Larry Selzer is the CEO of The Conservation Fund, a Washington, D.C-based group that doesn’t give environmental groups a bad name. He is also a two-term board member of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), and he gave the keynote address at the recent SFI Annual Conference. Selzer is a living example of how environmentalism and forestry are not mutually exclusive. … Read More

Forest decline can be fought with smart policies

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The New York Times recently painted a bleak picture of the future of our world’s forests. Driven by population growth, climate change and the continued emission of greenhouse gases, the world’s forests are being decimated by massive wildfires, drought, deforestation and beetles. The Times certainly did its research. The primary story is accompanied by an 8-minute video and blog post … Read More

Will Congress help timber-dependent counties?

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There’s a financial crisis afoot across the Pacific Northwest, but unfortunately a lot of people probably don’t know about it because it affects many of our rural counties. For years the federal government has given a share of the federal timber harvest to timber-dependent counties in Washington and Oregon as a way to make up for the loss of revenue … Read More