Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.


Preventing natural forest fires (and logging) not the greenest idea

The Dalles Chronicle June 18, 2009 editorial

     In the name of the spotted owl and “save the [insert wilderness name here]” campaigns, environmental groups conducted a highly successful lobbying effort in previous decades to reduce logging in the Northwest. It worked. For the past 25 years, we’ve carried story after story on mills shutting down, lumber companies going bankrupt and a way of life disappearing. Now some environmentalists, at least, are regretting their zeal. Why? Because it turns out to be a bad idea, environmentally, to both prevent naturally occurring forest fires, which, would periodically clear out the underbrush, and prevent selective logging, which can accomplish much the same thing. Preventing both leads to overgrown, bug infested forests — tinderboxes just waiting for a spark. “The biggest threat to our social, economic and ecological communities is cata   strophic fire.”

   That’s what Curtis Qual, the Forest Service’s partnership and stewardship coordinator for the Malheur National Forest, told The Oregonian..

   “Not only are we going to have fires, we’ll have bigger fires that are not just going to take out our environment, but maybe a town, too.”

   Reporter Amy Hsuan also talked with Diane Vosick, restoration program director for The Nature Conservancy, which is working to save Malheur Lumber, which operates the last lumber mill in Grant County.

   Vosick said she had worked in Arizona to actually bring mills back to life after they had shut down. That’s because maintaining forests is prohibitively expensive for the Forest Service without a mill nearby to process the logs, and wood waste goes to landfills.

   That’s right, landfills — and that’s waste, pure and simple, no matter what side of the political spectrum you’re on.

   Not only has the closing of the mills been an economic disaster for Oregon, it’s also been a waste of human potential and   knowledge. At some point, there won’t be people with the skills and experience to operate the mills or to cut the timber safely, nor will there be the physical infrastructure — the buildings and equipment — needed to turn the timber into usable lumber. At last count, 261 mills have been fully or partially closed in the state of Oregon since 1990. Rep. Greg Walden has been urging a winwin-win proposal.

   Clean up the dangerous underbrush in national forests,

   Use contractors to put Oregonians back to work in the woods, and

   Use the harvested material as biomass to generate electricity... Unfortunately, some environmental groups, notably the Natural Resource Defense Council, have been adamantly opposed to classifying biomass as a renewable energy resource. You’d think it grew on trees or something.





























Home Contact


              Page Updated: Sunday June 28, 2009 03:11 AM  Pacific

             Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2009, All Rights Reserved