What I like about this issue (O&C bill) is that people are trying to work across political boundaries in a bipartisan way. It’s hard work, and we can see how little appreciated it is by observing what we read.
Having lived in Oregon in the 80’s and seeing some of the same political faces, it is fascinating to see what de Fazio and Wyden are up to. And because of the unique legal history of the O&C lands, what happens there cannot be readily exported. Nevertheless, it must be seen as threatening the current status quo by Pew and others because they are rising up with newspaper ads and probably other more subtle tools.
The sweeping bill would jeopardize salmon, spotted owls, old growth and watersheds — including those where most Oregonians draw their drinking water, said Sean Stevens, executive director of the Oregon Wild environmental group.
“It really is the worst attack on public lands across the country in a generation,” he said.
That’s pretty strong statement.. last I heard Idaho and Colorado Roadless were the “worst attack”-and the O&C land approach is not likely to work elsewhere due to the differing legal basis. So this seems like more of an ideological battle- with national groups coming in the fray with their newspaper ads.
We have discussed the spotted owl here on the blog.. in Oregon, where they shoot barred owls. Salmon.. well agriculture, urban development, and dams all have bad effects on salmon- and there are BMP’s for timber harvesting. Old growth…well, there seems to be plenty for many purposes, but we don’t know how much is “enough” do we? Drinking water.. well if Oregon’s state forest practices act doesn’t adequately protect water, that seems to be a greater problem than just with O&C lands. Which is related to the salmon issue as well.
If the Oregon Forest Practices Act is not strong enough to protect watersheds, then this is a problem far beyond the 2.4 million O&C lands, as can be seen by the white on this map. And if the green is the high-level FS quality protection..well then, how much is enough, or does it have to be all the green and how much more?