In the News
Timber Sales Blocked
In January, a federal judge who
struck down a Bush administration decision
to ease logging restrictions last
summer issued an injunction blocking
as many as 144 timber sales in Washington,
Oregon and California. The decision
will cost the government $2.7
million in revenue.
The timber sales did not require the
U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land
Management to look for and protect
rare plants and animals before logging
on 5.5 million acres covered by the 1994
Northwest Forest Plan.
Last August when U.S. District
Judge Marsha Pechman struck down
the new rule, she didn’t state whether
she would allow the 144 timber sales,
which had been approved since the
rule's adoption. About half of those
sales included old-growth logging.
In her decision, she reinstated the
survey-and-manage rule, and made
clear that no timber sales would proceed
unless they met that standard.
The 144 timber sales were expected to
capture 289 million board feet.
Truss Plant Coming to
According to the Longview Daily
news, Lyman Lumber, a Minnesotabased
firm, has plans to start up a truss
plant this summer at Longview's Mint
Farm Industrial Park. The plant will
eventually employ 480 people and generate
$100 million annual revenue.
Although the plant is on schedule to
be up and running this summer, full
production isn’t expected until 2010.
This is good news for Longview residents,
also told less than a month earlier
that Simpson Timber Co.
purchased land for a sawmill at the
Port of Longview.
A Beetle Win
There is finally some positive “beetle”
news. According to the Vancouver
Sun newspaper, scientists, helped by
foresters and local residents, recently
won a small victory in their battle
against the mountain pine beetle infestation.
They attached to trees pouches
of a chemical emitted by the beetles in
the Lac Le Jeune area. The beetles
avoided the lodgepole pine trees in the
area because the odor sent a signal to
airborne beetles to travel elsewhere.
Eleven Activists Indicted
In January, 11 environmental and
animal rights activists were indicted in
a series of attacks.
The defendants, based in Portland,
Ore., and acting on behalf of the Animal
Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation
Front, were named in a
65-count indictment that included
charges of arson and destruction of an
energy facility. Property damage is estimated
at $100 million.
Seventeen incidents represented
four-and-a-half years of arson and vandalism
taking place in Oregon, Washington,
Wyoming, Colorado and
California. They included arsons or attempted
arsons on a variety of structures
such as U.S. Forest Service ranger
stations; animal holding facilities; lumber
companies and timber farms; the
Vail Ski Resort; and the Eugene, Ore.
Proposed Cutback of
Payments to Rural Counties
In February, the Bush administration
proposed phasing out a program
that put more than $2 billion into rural
states hurt by logging cutbacks on federal
The plan would cut in half
payments made to rural counties in 41
states for schools, roads and other infrastructure
needs. The program was
first put in place in 2000 to help offset
sharp declines in timber sales in western
Agriculture Undersecretary Mark
Rey called the proposal painful but
necessary in a tight budget year. Rey
said the 2000 law was never intended
to be permanent, but was designed to
help rural counties make the transition
from dependence on timber receipts to
a more broad-based economy.
The 2002 Biscuit wildfire is the center
of new debate after an Oregon State
University (OSU) graduate student,
Daniel Donato, led researchers in examining
Donato's team was surprised by the
results, which showed that in this particular
case logging slowed forest recovery.
They found that logging after
the Biscuit fire destroyed seedlings and
littered the ground with highly flammable
tinder. These findings contradicted
the research of several
professors in the OSU College of
The results appeared in the January
edition of the journal Science. Nine
OSU scientists and professors as well
as the U.S. Forest Service had asked the
Science editors to delay publication
until their criticism could be addressed
or, alternatively, to print a letter detailing
their concerns along with the study. Editor Donald Kennedy, the former
president of Stanford, said those who
disputed the findings could respond to
the study once it is published, instead
of using what he described as censorship.
"One has to notice and acknowledge
the courage of a graduate student to do
research and publish findings that run
against the norm," said Kathleen Dean
Moore, a professor of philosophy at
OSU, who teaches environmental
ethics. "The university isn't about secrecy,
it's about discussion."
Forest management and ecology experts,
government officials and U.S.
representatives convened on February
24, in Medford, Ore., in a congressional
field hearing to review the controversial
The House Subcommittee on
Forests and Forest Health heard testimony
from 11 speakers, including OSU
faculty and Donato.