The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Kristen Boyles, Earthjustice, (206) 343-7340 x 33
Doug Heiken, Oregon Wild, (541) 344-0675
Joseph Vaile, KS Wild, (541) 488-5789
Glen Spain, PCFFA, (541) 689-2000
Scott Greacen, EPIC, (707) 834-6257

Obama Administration Cancels Bush-Era Plan to Clearcut Oregon Forests

Salmon, Clean Water, and Old-growth Forests Big Winners


People throughout the West are celebrating an Obama administration decision to cancel a Bush-era plan that would have nearly quadrupled current logging on public lands in western Oregon. The Bush plan, called the Western Oregon Plan Revision, rezoned 2.6 million acres of federal public forests in Oregon managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The announcement came in response to a lawsuit filed by 13 conservation and fisheries-protection organizations challenging the Bush logging plan.

The Obama administration decision to cancel the massive timber giveaway conforms with numerous scientific studies concluding that dramatic increases in logging would have harmed clean water and healthy streams, pushed wildlife toward extinction, contributed to global warming, and destroyed much of Oregon's remaining old-growth forests.

The Bush timber plan would have sold out 500 million board feet of timber per year at the expense of salmon spawning streams, healthy old-growth forests, and habitat for rare birds such as the northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet. The plan would also have ignored and exacerbated the effects of climate change.

"It's a good day for the wildlife and wild places that make Oregon so special," said Doug Heiken of Oregon Wild. "It's also a good day for all the businesses up and down the Oregon coast that depend on visitors from all over the world who come here to catch a salmon or see what a real Northwest forest is supposed to look like."

"The Obama administration finally listened to what our best scientists have been desperately trying to say about the need to protect our irreplaceable natural resources," said Joseph Vaile of the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center based in southwest Oregon.

Today's announcement aligns the Obama administration squarely with the wishes of the public, which opposed the Bush clearcutting plan by more than 90 percent.

"This is a victory of science, sound economics, and common sense over political deals," said Kristen Boyles, an attorney with Earthjustice. "Finally we have a government that is willing to listen to the people and follow America's environmental laws."

"Today's announcement means many important salmon protections will be preserved in what are the last, best spawning and rearing areas for salmon on public lands," commented Glen Spain, for the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, one of the co-plaintiffs and a major commercial fishing organization. "This announcement is good news for hardworking commercial-fishing families struggling to survive on salmon runs nearly ruined by decades of excessive logging."

"The forests and species of northwestern California are connected to the rest of our regional old-growth forests through BLM land in southern Oregon," said Scott Greacen of EPIC. "Today's announcement basically restores the southern half of the Northwest Forest Plan."

The announcement comes in response to a lawsuit filed by Earthjustice challenging the now discredited Bush logging plan. Earthjustice represents Oregon Wild, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, The Wilderness Society, Cascadia Wildlands, Center for Biological Diversity, EPIC, Umpqua Watersheds, American Lands Alliance, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, Institute for Fisheries Resources, Greenpeace, Coast Range Association, and Sierra Club.