In the CBS News series “Eye on Earth,” “CBS This Morning: Saturday” co-host Jeff Glor looked at the debate over what to do with America’s ancient forests. You can watch the entire segment here.
I thought the following part of the news feature was particularly interesting, especially in the context of many discussions on this blog.
When asked why clear-cutting, Payne said, “We’re mimicking what Mother Nature’s done for billions of years.”
“But this looks traumatic for a lot of people when they see something like this,” Glor said.
“I actually look at it quite different,” said Payne. “I think it’s somewhat aesthetically pleasing.”
“You think that looks aesthetically pleasing?”
“I do. Maybe I’m somewhat biased, but when I look out, I see sustainability and rejuvenation,” he said.
“Not every company like yours is willing to talk about their story or take us to places like this. Why do you do it?”
“I think we as an industry have not done a very good job historically of telling our story,” Payne replied.
Timber companies have also traditionally used a practice called aerial spraying, in which chemicals are dropped by helicopter to kill any vegetation other than trees used for lumber.
Glor said, “A lot of people are concerned about spraying.”
“Well, I think people are just not informed well on that subject,” Payne replied. “We use it once or twice in a 50-year cycle.”
“It ultimately flows somewhere, though?”
“No, it doesn’t. No, a lot of times this stuff doesn’t flow off the landscape. The product will adhere to the vegetation that it’s targeted for, and stay there.”
Nancy Webster, who lives up the coast in Rockaway Beach, Oregon, is worried those chemicals seep into her drinking water: “This affects the fish, the wildlife, and we are up against large corporations. To even counter it, we need science and legal help, and it’s really difficult for small communities.”
Today, the situation may be reaching a critical point, because the federal government wants to suspend a public review process, which logging companies say needlessly ties them up in court.
Glor asked Payne, “Should there be a public review process when logging takes place on public lands?”
“Well, we have professionals in place in our federal agencies that are managing these lands, and I think we need to let them do that work,” Payne said.
In other words, he wants groups like Oregon Wild to stay away.