Today Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a reversal of a major Bush-era logging plan (the much-discussed Western Oregon Plan Revisions or WOPR). It intended to triple the amount of logging on 2.6 million of acres of federal land in western Oregon, specifically in Salem, Eugene, Roseburg, Medford, Coos Bay Districts, and the Klamath Falls Resource Area.
Salazar said the Bush plan violated federal law:
We have carefully reviewed the lawsuits filed against the WOPR and it is clear that as a result of the previous Administration’s late actions, the plan cannot stand up in court and, if defended, could lead to years of fruitless litigation and inaction.
The Obama administration’s decision aims to protect endangered species like the spotted owl. This, of course, has environmentalists rejoicing. But in Salazar’s announcement he also paid particular attention to the economic impact this decision may have on rural communities in western Oregon. He said:
Now, at a time when western Oregon communities are already struggling, we face the fallout of the previous Administration’s skirting of the law and efforts to taint scientific outcomes. It is important that we act swiftly to restore certainty to timber harvests on BLM lands and to protect vital timber infrastructure in these tough economic times.
This is one of many Obama roll-backs of Bush-era natural resource plans.
Are you a logger who was hoping for more work? Are you an environmentalist who is happy about this decision? Are you in a county that was hoping for more federal timber sales? What’s your reaction to the end of the WOPR? What do you want to see happen next?
- Jodie Weil: director of communications for the Bureau of Land Management for Oregon and Washington
- Tom Partin: president of the American Forest Resource Council
- Sean Stevens: conservation director for Oregon Wild
- Rocky McVay: executive director for the Association of Oregon and California Counties and former Curry County commissioner