February 28, 2017 --
Salem, Ore. – Today, Representative Paul Holvey (D-Eugene) introduced HB 3226 to modernize Oregon’s Forest Practices Act (OFPA) in order to reverse decades of catastrophic damages to the State’s waters, fish, wildlife and soils from clearcutting and other industrial logging practices. The proposed legislation would make the OFPA consistent with best available science and best practices already in use by sustainable forestry leaders and mark the first substantial overhaul of the OFPA since it was enacted in 1972.
“For decades, Oregon law has permitted the timber industry to manage its lands at the expense of clean water, fish and wildlife, and the health and safety of Oregonians,” said Greg Haller, Conservation Director for Pacific Rivers. “This long overdue legislation would rebalance the equation and restore Oregon as a leader in sustainable forest management and conservation by protecting ecosystem values that benefit all Oregonians.”
The legislation targets well known weaknesses and omissions in the OFPA noted by scientists, conservation groups, and public agencies for decades by including provisions that:
Oregon has the most lax rules for protecting rivers, water, and human health from the impacts of private timberlands than any of its neighbors – California, Washington, and Idaho – all of which turn a profit in timber. The proposed legislation is based on best practices established by these other states, federal forestland managers, and sustainable foresters. Recently the efficacy of the OFPA has been called into question with leaks of DEQ reports linking clearcutting and chemical sprays to water quality issues in 50 coastal communities. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has withheld federal coastal zone management funding from Oregon because of the State’s failure to modernize its stream protection rules under OFPA.
According to Richard Chasm, a sustainable forester based in Douglas County, “This legislation is based on practices that responsible foresters have been using all their lives. Steady income streams result from including all of the values of a thriving forest and not externalizing the damage done. Competition from big timber companies who only know how to strip the land and cash out their holdings is undermining our way of life. This legislation will help level the playing field so we can effectively compete and prosper but the big winner will be future generations of Oregonians.”
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