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Salazar restores old-growth forest protections in Oregon


In one of the most important reversals of Bush administration forest policy yet, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has reversed plans to double logging on old-growth forest in a 2.8-million-acre region of western Oregon.

The Interior Department also is backing away from plans to open up for logging about 1.8 million acres of protected critical habitat for the disappearling Northern spotted owl across Oregon, Washington and Northern California.

But Salazar is pledging to quickly deliver as many environmentally sustainable timber tracts as possible to the struggling logging communities of western Oregon, where unemployment in many cases tops 20%.

Salazar said the Bureau of Land Management's massive new plan for managing western Oregon forests, known as the Western Oregon Plan Revisions (Whopper is what most call it) was pushed through under the political influence of former Bush administration Interior official Julie MacDonald and failed to meet standards for scientific review.

The plan, as a result, was "based on a legally indefensible process," Salazar said. "It will not stand up in court, and if we attempted to defend it in court, it could lead to fruitless years of uncertainty and inaction."

Conservation groups applauded the decision, which will restore protections for old-growth forest critical to the survival of threatened species such as salmon, steelhead, marbled murrelets and the spotted owl, whose numbers have dwindled to less than 5,000 across the Pacific Northwest.

"If we return to the scientifically tested Northwest Forest Plan instead of a sea of stumps with a return to the 1970s-type clearcut logging, that gives western Oregon a shot at keeping its healthy forests, its healthy salmon runs, its clean water and having its economy rebound by having the jobs in the woods that make sense in a 21st century economy," said Kristen Boyles, an attorney for Earthjustice, which filed suit against the Bush administration plans on behalf of several conservation groups.

We'll have the full story soon.

— Kim Murphy

Photo: The Northern spotted owl relies on the old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest. Credit: Don Ryan, Associated Press.

Comments () | Archives (3)

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By accelerating old growth clearcutting and reducing protection for streams, the WOPR would have destroyed much of what we love about Oregon's forests. If properly protected our federal forests can help stabilize our climate, provide clean drinking water, recover endangered species, and provide diverse recreation opportunities.

The Obama administration seeks to embrace sound science and move beyond the divisive proposals of the prior administration.

Now is the time to build on the success of the Northwest Forest Plan and focus on broadly supported solutions for our forests. It's time to take mature & old-growth forests and roadless areas off the table and focus our efforts on watershed restoration and thinning dense young stands. This will create jobs, restore the forest, and produce a modest supply of wood products.

wile saving the trees is important so is thinning and taking care of the forest letting them over grow and letting the undergrowth get bad could be a disaster for the trees and the wildlife also for those who put there lives on the line to fight the fire if you look at some of the worst fires it was because of not thinning and keeping the undergrowth in check

Thank God.

I am very sick and tired of Godless people destroying what God created and then claiming they are Christian, eg, Bush and Palin. A brand of Godless deceivers of the lowest level.

Save and replenish what has been given us; Share with others, and there will be plenty for all.

God made it that way.


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