The Watchdog

In about two months the Obama administration will become a reality. Emotionally exhausted voters are trying to keep up with transition news, bailout updates, and Senate recounts and runoffs. In the meantime, the current administration is very very busy passing legislation, changing rules, and shifting political appointees to the ranks of career employees in a process called “burrowing. How cute. We thought it would be a good idea to at least try to keep track of a few last minute moves that aren’t making headlines. A threat to Oregon’s public old growth forests is outlined in the following letter provided by The Wilderness Society.

“The public forests of western Oregon provide enormous benefits to the American people. They are the sources of clean drinking water for many communities, provide hiking, fishing, camping, rafting, and other recreational opportunities not often found on private lands, and provide key habitat for a wide range of wildlife and fish species, especially wildlife that are threatened with extinction such as marbled murrelets, northern spotted owls, and wild Pacific salmon.
The plan proposed by BLM for western Oregon public forests will seriously reduce streamside protections, increase clearcuts, and diminish the careful balance of wildlife protections developed through the Northwest Forest Plan. Ancient Forests are scheduled to eventually be logged. The plan unrealistically includes a 43% increase in BLM’s budget, and also depends on the construction of over 1,300 miles of logging roads. The erroneous purpose of the plan is to dramatically increase logging levels. Logging should be focused on restoration projects, and in areas that would benefit by reducing fire threats to homes and property.”