For the past twenty years, Oregon’s lumber barons have been throwing stones at the Northwest Forest Plan. They’re mad because cheap federal timber is no longer available to feed their desire for profits. Because federal timber revenues are shared with counties, some county officials hurl stones at the NWFP for not cutting enough timber. They cry poor and blame the federal government.
It turns out the timber boys and their county puppets are living in glass houses. Lately, I have not heard the lumber barons and their county mouthpieces ranting so much about federal harvests. Why? One reason has to be the CRA’s attack against corporate forestry’s tax avoidance and lost log production.
A key goal of our Challenging Wall Street Forestry campaign was to expose the industry’s greed and hypocrisy for demanding more public timber. Almost alone, we took on Wall Street forestry and delivered a high impact response to the senseless cutting of the last native Northwest forests.
I write to report on our forest protection work and share details about future work. I ask you consider the information presented and then make a donation to sustain our important work.
Calling BS on Big Timber
As you know, I have traveled across Western Oregon delivering damning facts about the timber industry. Big corporate timber wastes quality wood production because its forestry is based ongrowing money not trees. The numbers are crazy, lost log production is in the range of 25% to 50%. Yet, to make up for their overcut lands, they have the gall to demand cutting more public forest.
Audiences from Astoria to Roseburg were shocked when I explained the timber industry’s Oregon tax deal. Between 1990, when Wall Street began its takeover of Oregon forests, and 2015, when ownership had fully changed, the timber industry’s total property and harvest taxes dropped 65%. For two years I spoke out in community after community about Oregon’s timberland tax scandal. Worse yet, the timber industry has reduced tax support to local government by over 75%. Nobody knew the depth of their free ride . While county officials yelled about federal timber revenue, they never mentioned the dry-up of local taxes orchestrated by their timber masters. County timber puppets aren’t dancing now.
The Next Level for Advocacy
We must take our advocacy to a much larger audience. In July we recorded the first program of Coast Range Radio at the studios of KEPW, 97.3FM, in Eugene. The one hour program reviewed our research on Oregon’s private corporate forests. Future programs will dig deeper into industrial forestry’s dirty secrets. All episodes of Coast Range Radio are available on our website and will be made available to community radio stations across Western Oregon. We will announce when Coast Range Radio is available to access from your favorite podcasting service.
Secondly, you may have noticed we are producing two monthly electronic newsletters: CRA News and Ocean News . Each newsletter is concise and timely and presents the latest information about climate, forests and the coastal ocean. If you don’t receive (via email) either newsletter, you may subscribe on the CRA website www.coastrange.org .
Next, we’ll begin producing videos. Our first goal is to capture my community talks on Wall Street forest management and the climate crisis. We also believe many grassroots voices across Western Oregon warrant being featured in our videos. We’ll load the videos to the CRA’s YouTube channel. We won’t be spending money on elaborate production, but we’ll make sure each video has clear audio and visual quality. Imagine the impact our work will have on younger voters who are trying to make sense of clearcut landscapes in this era of climate change.
With your help, the CRA’s powerful information will reach tens of thousands of new households. Please consider a donation for our expanded advocacy.
A Clear & Present Threat: The Climate Crisis
Donald Trump has tweeted over 5,000 times since becoming President. Not once has he mentioned climate. His administration is busy every day scrubbing any mention of climate change from federal websites and press releases. When scientists at theNational Center for Atmospheric Research recently released another ominous climate report–the press release was scrubbed of the phrases climate change and global warming . That is how childish things are in the Executive branch under Trump.
Here at the Coast Range Association we aren’t distracted by the antics of the president. We agree with Oregon representatives Blumenauer, Bonamici and De Fazio– global warming is an emergency . In January we began redefining our ocean and forest programs in light of the climate emergency.
How should one act in an emergency? That is the question I ask at every community talk. We aren’t facing a temporary emergency such as a forest fire or flood. The planet is warming and it won’t stop as long as radical change isn’t made. The nations of the world rely on US leadership. This is arguably the greatest tragedy of the Trump administration– his complete failure to lead on climate. The US looks to the West Coast to lead. So what is Oregon doing about forests as a solution to climate change? Almost nothing!
Oregon could be a model for forest management under the climate emergency. Instead, the last legislative session couldn’t even pass Governor Brown’s cap and trade bill (HB2020). Senate President, Peter Courtney, went so far as to amend the bill to kill any impact on corporate forest management. Can you believe that? Sadly, it’s true!
A Green New Deal for the Rural Timber Economy
In the near term, our goal is to produce a proposal sketching out how House Resolution 109 (HR-1019), the Green New Deal, could apply to Western Oregon’s rural timber economy. On a per-acre basis, our forests have the greatest potential to store carbon of any forest on the planet . So how do we create carbon dense forests on Wall Street controlled forestland when investors consider the growth of money and not trees?
Additionally, how can a deep rural economic transition occur and yet be responsive to social justice–a long standing concern of the Coast Range Association? Rural families and timber workers aren’t responsible for the mess we are in. We have no intention of casting aside the rural economy. People matter and any transition to a new economy must protect people as well as nature. That is why we are embracing the Green New Deal (GND) as described in HR-109.
I have assembled a small team to work on an Oregon GND policy paper describing how a carbon storing economy might look for our mighty forested landscapes. Our paper must be completed and vetted before the 2020 election year. Five of the seven Oregon congressional members in principle support HR-109. The task we have chosen is to provide a rural economic, forest-centered proposal that conforms to HR-109! That’s the CRA’s job and your support today will make the work possible.
In Dark Times We All Must Lead
The CRA led the defense of the Northwest Forest Plan’s Aquatic Conservation Strategy . We currently lead the movement speaking truth-to-power about Wall Street controlled forests. And we intend to lead on Oregon’s forest response to the climate crisis with proposals equal to an emergency.
Future work to address climate and forests through a GND framework can’t wait. Yet, the work will not be funded by foundations. Our much needed work will only occur if you provide the funding. Our long track record defending watersheds, rivers and native salmon, defending the Northwest Forest Plan and challenging Wall Street forestry have laid the foundation for bold forest-based climate solutions.
We won’t offer half measures. We won’t be checking today’s political winds. We won’t be intimidated by big timber. Instead, we’ll offer regional GND solutions equal to an emergency. A new mission must be argued for federal and state lands equal to a climate emergency. The warrant for Wall Street’s control over vast tracts of Northwest private forestland must be called into question. And vulnerable people must be protected in the inevitable transition to will come.
The Clock is Ticking
Scientists tell us the world has ten years left before the remaining global CO2 budget of 450 new gigatons is used up. 450 additional gigatons of CO2 pushes the world past the tipping point of runaway warming and unknown disasters. We now know just reducing CO2 emissions won’t get the job done. The active removal of CO2 from the atmosphere is required . And that’s exactly what forests do–if they are allowed to grow.
Wall Street’s financial forestry can’t grow carbon dense forests because they aren’t growing forests–they’re growing money. It’s baked into the DNA of who they are. Growing larger forests through Cap & Trade payments to Wall Street owners is a slow motion solution. Such solutions should have been implemented in 1985 when the science was clear that global warming was a threat.
Due to the confounding propaganda of Exxon Mobile, the coal industry and the Koch brothers, we lost crucial decades. Now the choice is between Wall Street forest management and a livable future. I believe, based on our past work, that the Coast Range Association is best positioned to develop and argue for forest climate solutions.
I have two young grandchildren. Every day I think about the world’s climate and their future. We must do all we can to grow new carbon dense forests and yet protect the economically vulnerable. Please join in this work. A better world is possible!
PS. Jane Goodall says “ Don’t let forests be the forgotten solution ” to climate change. Your donation will help ensure that doesn’t happen in Oregon. Our proposal must be ready for the next president and Congress. Make a generous donation today!
July 2019: The warmest month ever recorded!
The Northwest was lucky to be one of the few regions to experience below average temperatures in July. The next roll of the climate dice may not be so favorable. Already, the coast is drier and warmer and the change shows in stressed and diseased coastal Sitka Spruce.
The Earth is rapidly warming due to the greenhouse effect of the atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). We are in an emergency situation. Forests are one third of the solution to the global warming. Oregon’s timber industry blocks any efforts to create carbon dense forests and lives in a glass house of hypocritical propaganda that creates more heat than light.
Oceans and Forests areConnected
Find Breaking News and Events for the Oregon Coast in the Age of Climate Change
Ocean News will range afield highlighting changing ocean conditions due to a warming climate and, more importantly, how a changing ocean will impact Oregon’s coastal communities. Additionally, Ocean News will report on research occurring within Oregon’s nearshore Marine Reserves and other news relevant to coastal communities. Everything from coastal fisheries to how home values will be impacted by changing ocean conditions.
In a tight, summary fashion – Ocean News will deliver news you won’t want to miss. This newsletter is sent to a different email list, and If you have not visited our website to signup you will not receive this important newsletter!