Wyden O&C Bill: Private Landowner Actions on Federal Land

Sen. Ron Wyden has succeeded in pushing his O&C lands act through committee. There are lots of points in the act to discuss, but this one is interesting. I haven’t been paying close attention to the bill since last year. This provision for Private Landowner Actions on Federal Land was included in the Dec. 2013 version of the bill, but the amended bill just approved by the committee adds one key change — see Section F below….

‘‘(B) PRIVATE LANDOWNER ACTIONS ON FEDERAL LAND.—

‘‘(1) IN GENERAL
.—Without a permit from the
Secretary, a person may enter and treat adjacent
Federal land in a Dry or Moist Forestry Emphasis
Area that is located within 100 feet of the residence
of that person if—

‘‘(A) the residence is in existence on the
date of enactment of the Oregon and California
Land Grant Act of 2014;

‘‘(B) the treatment is carried out at the
expense of the person;

‘‘(C) the person notifies the Secretary of
the intent to treat that land; and

‘‘(D) the Secretary has adequate super-
visory, monitoring, and enforcement resources
to ensure that the person carries out the treat-
ment activities in accordance with paragraph (3).

‘‘(A) No dead tree, nest tree, legacy tree,
or tree greater than 16 inches in diameter shall
be cut.

‘‘(B) No herbicide or insecticide applica18
tion shall be used.

‘‘(C) Vegetation shall be cut so that—
‘‘(i) less flammable species are favored
for retention; and
‘‘(ii) the adequate height and spacing
between bushes and trees are maintained.

‘‘(D) Any residual trees shall be pruned…

‘‘(F) Any material of commercial value
generated by the activity authorized in paragraph (1)
is the property of the United States.

5 Comments

  1. I do not trust Wyden and his O&C bill not to sellout the interests of rural Oregon. It might be like another Northwest forest plan that no one really understands, never really gets implemented, and the ones with the most money get what they want.
    And I wonder if you don’t treat it the land next to you, or your own for that matter, will you be held responsible if you knew it needed treatment, and catches on fire?
    And what is the point if you can’t cut down that dead snag,( legacy trees, what a bunch of ,,,,) that is over 16 inch in diameter? 16″ isn’t very big and are probably the most hazardous. And if you don’t want the public cutting them down then why ever bother putting anything in?
    And notice it doesn’t shall not be cut without permission, but that it shall not be cut. I am afraid that Wyden’s bill is full of such language throughout.

  2. Conservation groups in Oregon supported Senator Wyden’s logging plans for years, perhaps in hopes of him coming through for them on the big stuff. Though many warned the groups that this was not an effective approach, they pressed on…and this was their reward.

    Conservation groups would do well to stick to their principles and only support a politician when they do good, while critiquing them when they don’t. What happened, in this case, it seems, is that Wyden took conservation group support for granted and is basically saying: “Hey, I’m a Democrat, suck it up. What, are you gonna vote for a Republican now?”

    Conservation groups might want to rethink their strategy of directly aligning with a political party.

  3. Josh- that’s a good observation. I spent a quarter reading books on Society and Christianity and there were many interesting writers that talk about Christians allying with parties. There are some similarities:

    You think that you will move the ball down the field if you ally with one
    You have to go with things you don’t agree with
    And at the end of the day they’re using you for their own purposes (maintaining power)

    You have lost the capacity to make good deals across parties because (in this case) the D’s would see this as disloyal and you have been swallowed in the swamp of enemizing the other.

    It’s even worse for Christians, though, they have to be mean to others, because people get mean when they are involved in partisan politics. But Christians are not supposed to be mean to other people-that’s one of the basic premises :).

    For those interested, here is a very worthy book IMHO by James Hunter called To Change the World. He describes how society actually changes, based on his research, which I think is worthwhile for any folks attempting to change the world.
    Below is an excerpt of an interview.

    Hunter: The primary ways of thinking about the world and how it changes in our society are mainly incorrect. There is an answer to the question of how to change the world, but how it actually changes is different from how most people think.
    Most people believe that politics is a large part of the answer to the problems that we face in the world, and so a second insight would be the limitations of politics. Political strategies are not only counter-productive to the ends that faith communities have in mind, but are antithetical to the ends that they seek to achieve.

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