Reading the Tea Leaves

With Trump agriculture secretary nominee Sonny Perdue still awaiting a confirmation hearing, which has not been scheduled because the dog appears to have eaten Perdue’s financial disclosure homework, the Forest Service has been trying to figure out what message will best protect its budget from the new boss’ meat cleaver. The first clue to the …

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U.S. Depends on Forest Products Trade

Several comments on this blog argue that the U.S. depends on forest products imports to satisfy its consumption. That’s half correct and misses the point. In 2014, the U.S. bought forest products from other countries to the tune of $42 billion. We buy wood products from Canada, China, and the EU. But, wait, there’s more! …

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Should the Public Have a Seat at the Firefighting Table?

Today the Seattle Times reports on a lawsuit FSEEE filed challenging the Forest Service’s failure to comply with NEPA before logging old-growth forests during the Wolverine Fire. Happy to answer questions readers may have. I recommend reading the complaint, especially Exhibit A, which is an affidavit by a recently-retired Forest Service employee who lives in …

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Firefighting Run Amok

Today’s Seattle Times reports on a 5 million board foot timber sale conceived and consummated as a part of fighting the Wolverine Fire near Lake Chelan in Washington State. The sale, which cut a 50-mile long, 300-foot wide “community protection line” through spotted owl critical habitat and over streams, was logged primarily after rain had …

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Does the U.S. Forest Service Have a Dog in the Forest Certification Fight?

Last week, Forest Service Chief Tidwell issued a press release lauding the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) “new opportunities to advance environmentally responsible forest management and help reduce the use of illegally-sourced wood through their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system.” Let’s spend a moment unpacking the Chief’s press release. …

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Timber Industry Fails to Convince Judges that Logging Levels Linked to Wildfires

In a decision dismissing three lawsuits intended to compel more federal land logging in western Oregon, DC federal district court judge Richard Leon found that the timber industry failed to show that less logging means more wildfires (see page 7’s footnote). Judge Leon had ruled earlier in favor of the industry plaintiffs in one of …

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Anti-Logging Activists Cause Catastrophic Forest Fires . . .

Today, NASA posted this image of forest fires burning around Siberia’s Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake in the world. A drought has gripped the region throughout 2015. As in Alaska this year, these boreal forest fires are burning unchecked. Question for our readers. Would fuels treatment, thinning or other logging have prevented these fires?

“Koch Brothers’ Mouthpiece” Slams Forest Service Firefighting Spending

Every now and then, Cato Institute senior fellow Randal O’Toole returns to his public land policy roots. Today he plays a familiar riff on firefighting spending. Twenty years ago, one could have imagined a congressional coalition of Blue Dog Democrats and sensible Republicans working together to come up with a new fire policy. No longer. …

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