Montana ‘Timber Partners’ Drop $30,000 on Ads Calling for Lawless Logging, No Public Appeals Process

Just in time for the “Forest Jobs Tour ”  (a series of one-sided presentations around Montana about Senator Tester’s mandated logging bill, the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act) “timber partners” RY Timber, Pyramid Mountain Lumber, Roseburg Forest Products and Sun Mountain Lumber took out this full-page advertisement today in at least six Montana newspapers, including the Helena Independent Record, Missoulian, Kalispell Daily Interlake, Great Falls Tribune, Montana Standard and Bozeman Chronicle  According to Ad reps I spoke with at two of the papers, the retail cost of the advertisements likely ran between $27,000 and $31,000.

The title of the Ad is “Out of Control Administrative Appeals and Frivolous Lawsuits Against the U.S. Forest Service Must be Stopped Now!!!

The full-page timber industry Ad is full of statements such as this:  “We believe the Forest Service is being held hostage by a small group of professional obstructionists.”  The Ad ends with these timber mills providing the following “solutions,” including suggesting that Congress could simply exempt many timber sales from judicial review, just as was done with the Wolf Rider from Senator Tester.  [note: all emphasis is as it appeared in the Ad]

“We see several options available to Congress to immediately rectify these abuses:

1) Amend the Equal Access to Justice Act by requiring a Cash Bond in these types of administrative appeals and lawsuits. Amend the Act further by implementing a Loser Pay System, where the loser is responsible for paying the attorneys’ fees and costs of the overall prevailing party.

2) In designated Timber Management Areas already established under the approved Forest Plans, Congress could exempt from judicial review those Timber Sales which deal with trees that have been killed or severely damaged by the Mountain Pine Beetle. The authority of Congress to limit court jurisdiction can be found under Article III Section 2 of United States Constitution. A similar limitation was recently enacted by Congress when they removed Gray Wolf from the Endangered Species List and barred the federal court from any further review.

3) Scrap the entire Forest Service Administrative Appeals Process and use the more streamlined approach that the Department of Interior – BLM uses for their timber projects.”

More about the timing of these Ads.   It must be pointed out that these same exact timber mills are sharing the stage this week and next week with their friends – or is the correct term ‘collaborators’ –  representing the Montana Wilderness Association, National Wildlife Federation, Montana Trout Unlimited and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition for the Forest Jobs Tour to support Senator Tester’s mandated logging bill, S. 268.   So, the timing of the timber industry’s $30,000 Ad ‘Blitzkrieg’ couldn’t be more transparent.

Honestly, having already attended a number of these one-sided FJRA dog-n-pony shows I doubt I’ll waste my time – and a perfectly good spring evening – attending any of the ‘Forest Jobs Tour.’  In the past, these events have been carefully scripted to limit any tough, substantive questions or dissent and I assume that tonight’s Tour stop in Missoula will be the same.   Heck, during a similar FJRA event – held in a public building at the University of Montana – a representative of Montana Wilderness Association even attempted to prevent one of our interns from passing out simple handbills announcing a “Forest Jobs and Recreation Act Study Club,” the sole purpose of which was to simply read the actual bill language, and then discuss what the language means.

However, I can’t help but wonder if during this so-called “Forest Jobs Tour” if these conservation groups will bother to express concern or speak out against their “timber partners'” wish list for more logging, less public and scientific over-sight and no judicial review of Forest Service timber sales? Or will these conservation groups give their consent through their public silence?  I have a hunch I know how the “collaborators” will roll.  And, if that hunch is correct, what does that truly say about the state of their collaboration with the timber industry?

Update: People may be interested to know that Montana Trout Unlimited and Pew’s Campaign for America’s Wilderness have deleted the following comments I made on their Facebook pages (here and here) and have blocked me from commenting ever again in the future. This tactic has also been recently used by Montana Wilderness Association (here and here) and Hellgate Hunters and Anglers, which is part of the National Wildlife Federation.  In fact, Hellgate Hunters and Anglers (a group I was once a member of) censored and removed my substantive comments regarding the FJRA, including the actual official testimony of the head of the Forest Service from their ironically named “Bully Pulpit” blog.  This has been a very common tactic used by the “collaborator” conservation groups supporting the FJRA and I believe the public should be aware of this tactic.

17 thoughts on “Montana ‘Timber Partners’ Drop $30,000 on Ads Calling for Lawless Logging, No Public Appeals Process”

  1. Apparently, these folks think their profits are more important than the law, the citizens of the United States and the earth itself! We will keep an eye on any politician who accomodates the demands in these ads and they will face the will of the people come election day.

  2. Considering the fact that American taxpayers have invested tens of $billions into ESA, $30,000 doesn’t seem like much — especially when shared between several established businesses. And, to get the most bang for the buck, it seems logical that the ads would be placed at a time when people were dealing with the issue. To present a newspaper ad as some kind of nefarious plot is absurd. Or “goofy”; take your pick.

    Now, regarding the content of the ads (which helps support the local economy, at the least), here’s what I think:

    1) Yes! This gravy train has traveled far enough. Time to make people responsible for their actions and assertions and stop expecting American taxpayers to pick up the tab.

    2) Of course. These snags should be removed — at least in large part — ASAP, before the next wildfire goes through and creates even further damage. Plus, rural jobs (and tax revenues).

    3) I have no idea. Maybe the USDI approach is more “streamlined,” but they still seem to have a lot of difficulty getting anything done, too. Personally, I favor the BIA approach of requiring bonds for all appeals of forest management plans.

  3. Bob wrote: “To present a newspaper ad as some kind of nefarious plot is absurd. Or “goofy”; take your pick.”

    So, Bob, you’re saying the fact that these timber industry ads run all across Montana the same day as these very same timber mills share the stage with ‘collaborator’ conservation groups for their co-hosted Forest Jobs Tour in Missoula and right before the same tour hits Helena and Townsend is just a pure coincidence? Furthermore, these same timber industry folks and same conservation groups lobby together, write opeds together, write legislation together, send out press releases together….but, according to you, clearly this $30,000 state-wide Ad buy the very day their Jobs Tour launches is just pure coincidence? Honestly?

    If I had to “take a pick” I’d say you’re sitting over there in Oregon, haven’t been privy to what we’ve witnessed weekly in Montana for the past four years from these ‘timber partners’ and ‘collaborators’ and therefore you really don’t know what your talking about. Thanks.

    • No, Matt, once again, that is NOT what I said, or even close. Just the opposite. I said the timing was obviously on purpose for obvious reasons. How does “logical” and “most bang for the buck” somehow translate to “coincidence” in your world?

      They ran the ad when it would do the most good, in their opinion. Just like Sears or Dairy Queen — or CBD, for Gore’s sake, as somebody else had to point out to you. Or most anybody who’s going to invest $30,000 into an ad. Purposeful timing is NOT “coincidence,” or even close.

      I guess if you put words in my mouth and then argue against yourself posing as me, then it is reasonable to state that “I really don’t know what I’m talking about.” But since you’re the one doing the talking for me, I’m not sure what that means — but it sure does seem like you’re still using that mirror to disadvantage and would do well to pay attention to what you are saying about “my” statements before getting too worked up.

      I’m telling you, Matt, some good old critical reading skills would do you a world of good. In my opinion.

  4. Coincidence as in the CBD releasing their much vaunted ESA report just before the Congressional hearing in Oregon last week on the failure of the Northwest Forest Plan and ESA ????

  5. Nice try JZ…but the fact of the matter is that the CBD ESA report was issued on May 17th…which just happens to one day before May 18th…which just happens to be designated as “Endangered Species Day.” I’ll bet you a beverage that the May 18th Endangered Species Day was the reason for the reports’ May 17th release, not some Congressional Field Hearing taking place on May 21. Having been part of Congressional hearings in the past, and have gotten 10 days and 14 days notice for each of them, I’m pretty sure CBD didn’t slap together their quite extensive ESA Report for the hearing.

    Better luck next time.

  6. Then why didn’t they release the report on the 18th, if that is “endangered species day”?

    Whatever, I’ll buy you a beverage next time I’m over there anyway.

    • JZ: They couldn’t release the report on May 18 because that’s “Mt. St. Helens Day,” too, and too many people would be out celebrating and not have enough time to consider the CBD propaganda on that date. It’s all in the timing.

      • JZ and Bob: It’s a common practice to release a report to the media the day before an anniversary so that the media has a day to write the story and the story appears on the anniversary, or in this case on Endangered Species Day. I myself have used this timeline dozens of times over the years, as I’m sure other media and communication people have as well. Honestly, who knows or who really cares in this case. I’m just pointing out that it’s very doubtful that CBD quickly put together this very detailed, comprehensive report in the few week’s time notice they likely had for a small, provincial Congressional field hearing.

        P.S. Bob, speaking of Mt. St. Helens, you’ll like a new post I’m about to put up.

  7. I am tiring of your posts Matthew. It seems your trying to keep the controversy alive, and always present the the so called “green” perspective for lack of a better word. It is mostly one sided opinion, advocacy, and politics.

  8. Tire of my posts all you want Michael D. I could certainly say the same thing about your comments, or comments from others or other people’s posts. I will not apologize for presenting a “green” perspective, as that is, in fact, my perspective. If you don’t like my posts, don’t read em. Funny that you have nothing of substance to say about the issues at hand in this particular post. Thanks.

    • It’s always loudest on the fringe,
      Hyping their propaganda binge,
      The voice of reason may be lost,
      No compromise at any cost,
      I don’t know but I’ve been told,
      You just can’t stand in the middle of the road.

  9. Yes, I think a “Wolf rider” that guarentees timber harvest should get all three Montana projects through a Republican dominated House, Senate, and presidency very nicely.And I got a feelin the “Big Green” groups won’t object-“to strenuously.” It’s about the economy stupid.And no president gets elected running as a liberal. I was worried that Obama would “move to right” like Clinton did during HIS reelection-instead Obama moves to the left. Socialist Europe is teetering-so the direction Obama wants to lead us is instead dragging us down.And then when Obama is booted out-the Tri-lateral commission will allow the economy to grow again. Oh, by the way, we can thank the AWR for giving the Wolf Rider another nice 9th circut precedent shot in the arm.


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