By American Forest Resource Council President
American Forest Resource Council President (AFRC) Travis Joseph had the following to say regarding the D.C. Circuit’s opinion on the Obama-era expansion of the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument (CSNM) and the 2016 Resource Management Plans for Western Oregon O&C Lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM):
“Our litigation regarding Western Oregon O&C Lands have sought to answer fundamental questions that are not only important to federal land management and natural resources, but to all laws and regulations affecting the American public: Does the law mean what it says? And who makes the laws impacting our federal lands, the Congress, a President, or unelected agency officials? Today’s D.C. Circuit opinion did not answer these questions that have national implications.
“We continue to believe the federal O&C Act means what it says, that O&C timberlands ‘shall be managed for permanent forest production, and the timber thereon shall be sold, cut, and removed in conformity with the principle of sustained yield.’
“Eighteen counties in Western Oregon depend on the revenues generated by O&C timber receipts to sustain essential public services including Sheriff’s patrols, public and mental health services, libraries, and more. Timber communities in this region depend on O&C lands for family wage jobs and local economic activity. Our industry depends on O&C lands for the manufacture of climate-friendly wood products that meet the country’s need for affordable housing.
“Today’s D.C. Circuit does not alleviate nearly four decades of uncertainty for our counties, communities, and industry. In the Ninth Circuit, Judge Tallman’s dissent in April rightly pointed out the dangerous precedent moving forward of giving the President unfettered authority to indefinitely suspend or cancel the operation of federal law established by Congress. For these reasons, we will continue moving forward until these fundamental questions are answered.”
The federal O&C Act requires the BLM to manage Western Oregon O&C lands on the basis of sustained yield forestry– meaning harvesting a consistent amount in perpetuity that will not exceed harvesting more timber than what is grown by the forest every year. Revenues from the O&C lands are shared with Oregon counties to support essential public services including law enforcement, search and rescue, public health, and youth and senior services.
In 2019, D.C. District Court Judge Richard Leon invalidated President Obama’s proclamation expanding the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument on O&C lands, finding no President has the unilateral authority to override Federal law and an Act of Congress. Specifically, the court found that the O&C Act mandate to manage the lands for permanent forest production “cannot be rescinded by Presidential Proclamation.”
About the American Forest Resource Council
AFRC is a regional trade association representing over 50 forest product businesses and forest landowners whose purpose is to advocate for sustained yield timber harvests on public timberlands throughout the West to enhance forest health and resistance to fire, insects, and disease. We do this by promoting active management to attain productive public forests, protect adjoining private forests, and assure community stability. We work to improve federal and state laws, regulations, policies, and decisions regarding access to and management of public forest lands and protection of all forest lands. AFRC strongly believes that healthy managed forests are essential to the integrity of both ecosystems and communities. For more information, visit amforest.org
Disclaimer: Articles featured on Oregon Report are the creation, responsibility and opinion of the authoring individual or organization which is featured at the top of every article.