By Rex Storm
Associated Oregon Loggers
Equal Access or Lawsuit Access: Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) cosponsored a bill that would eliminate environmental groups abuse of the Equal Access to Justice Act. The EAJA was intended to help folks defend themselves against government actions; but, the provision to reimburse attorney fees for those suing the government has been abused by environmental groups—who have recovered millions during their recurrent environmental suits. Just 14 environmental groups, bringing 1,200 federal suits in 19 states, have collected over $37 million in taxpayer dollars through EAJA.
Associations Join Supreme Court Review: The American Forest Resources Council (AOL is a member) and Oregon Forest Industries Council joined a total of 35 natural resource associations nationwide that have filed amicus briefs with the US Supreme Court, requesting review of the lower court’s wrongheaded ruling on the logging road case. Since 1976, the EPA has exempted all forest silvicultural and logging activities nationwide from federal permitting. The original defendants in the case include Oregon’s State Forester, Board of Forestry, and four state timber sale purchasers.
States Seek Supreme Court Review of Forest Roads: Attorney’s General from 26 States signed onto an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court, urging the high court to overturn the federal 9th Circuit Curt of Appeals’ harmful 2010 decision that requires an EPA Clean Water Act permit for every forest logging road. This adds to the legal chorus opposing the 9th Circuit’s contrarian decision against forest roads, which overturned the 35 year-old “silvicultural exemption” that prevented federal interference with public and private logging roads.
WOPR Faulted by Court: US Magistrate James Hubel in September ruled that the BLM failed to complete consultation for endangered species, during its 2008 Western Oregon Plan Revision (WOPR). If Hubel’s recommendation is approved by another federal judge, BLM management would revert to the beleaguered 1994 Northwest Forest Plan. The WOPR, would have doubled harvest to about 500 million bdft/year from the 2.2 million acres of BLM forests. It’s time for Congress to legislate a BLM forest strategy that provides reliable timber volume and county funding.
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