BLM Defies Court and Moves To Abandon Scientific Plan and Rural Oregon
By American Forest Research Council
PORTLAND, OR—In an eleventh hour filing, Justices Department officials representing the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) filed a response in the Pacific Rivers vs. Salazar case asking the Court to grant judgment for the plaintiffs and to vacate all of the 2008 Resource Management Plans Records of Decision better known as the WOPR.
Tom Partin, President of the American Forest Resource Council said this action by BLM completely destroys any hope for the future of Oregon’s forest products industry and rural communities that depend on BLM timberlands. With this filing, five years of the best science and planning completed by the BLM in 2008 is destroyed and that agency has no clear direction going forward. This is a clear example of an Administration unfriendly to good forest management and rural America making a political decision to pull a good forest plan.
Earlier this year the American Forest Resource Council and the Carpenters Industrial Council prevailed in a suit in District Court in Washington DC challenging the Secretary of Interior’s illegal withdrawal of the WOPR without public comment and the required plan amendment. The court reinstated the WOPR and we believe this latest action is an end-run by BLM around the court decision directing it to follow the public participation procedures before it amends or withdraws the WOPR.
“At a time when our mills need this timber to survive, it is outrageous that the Obama Administration is directing the BLM not to sustainably harvest. Instead, these forests are being allowed to become overcrowded and prone to devastating forest fires that will destroy wildlife habitat and threaten water supplies. The situation our mills find themselves in is like starving to death in a refrigerator full of food,” said Tom Partin, AFRC President.
The American Forest Resource Council represents forest product manufacturers and landowners throughout the west and is based in Portland, Oregon. www.amforest.org
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