Success! Obama Administration Stops Bush-Era Clearcut Plan

More than 8,000 Care2 members sent letters in the last two weeks to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, urging him to take action to stop a Bush-era plan to open up old-growth forests in Oregon to clearcutting.

And today, he announced his intention to do just that!

From an Interior Department press release:

Because the previous Administration failed to follow established administrative procedure before leaving office, its plan to intensify logging in western Oregon — known as the Western Oregon Plan Revisions (WOPR) — is legally indefensible and must be withdrawn, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said today.

Moreover, Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks Thomas Strickland said that the federal government will ask the District Court to vacate the Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2008 revision of the critical habitat for the spotted owl, on which the WOPR was in part based, because Interior’s Inspector General determined that the decisionmaking process for the owl’s recovery plan was potentially jeopardized by improper political influence.

In other words, not only is this a huge victory for Oregon’s forests, but it also means that if the court agrees, the 2008 Spotted Owl Recovery Plan — which reduced the habitat for these endangered owls — would revert instead to the original, 1992 plan — which protected 6.9 million acres of spotted owl habitat.

Oregonians and conservationists are celebrating. From an Oregon Wild press release:

“President Obama has pulled the plug on the most cynical attack on Oregon’s old-growth forests in decades,” said Doug Heiken with the conservation group Oregon Wild, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit challenging the WOPR. “This is a victory for salmon, clean water and future Oregonians, and one that we now need to make permanent.”

29 comments

Evelina Avotina
Evelina A3 years ago

I always thought it would be great to have a rule that you can only cut down trees younger than you. So if you grow to be 100, you can cut down the 100 year old tree. In this way we could always preserve the old trees that give such luscious fruit to make new baby trees for us. With good education in mind, we should find a wise way to preserve our lands while still sustaining ourselves as well. C'mon people, we are so smart, we flew to the moon! Why can't we find a sustainable way to live on the planet we inhabit?

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Nancy G.
Nancy G9 years ago

Sonja H. may be from Oregon, but has absolutely no education when it comes to forest ecology or the environmental impacts to both the land and the species which inhabit it, obviously, or she would NEVER be in favor of clearcutting. Just another sad example of someone buying into the propaganda behind the logging industry. As a former resident of Oregon, I'm not sure that instantly qualifies her as an expert we should "trust." As an college educator with a degree in environmental biology, I can assure anyone that clearcutting is synonymous to nothing more than ecological rape. I won't ask you to trust me, but to investigate the reality for yourself through your own continued education. Selective cutting, which is an entirely different method, can indeed be helpful in certain situations in preventing disease. As far as fire control goes, there is nothing more effective than natural periodic fires to reduce the surface litter on the forest floor. It is when the smaller fires are suppressed, that forest litter builds up and creates a potential for devastating crown fires. There is no form of logging or tree removal or harvest that will do anything to help prevent erosion; the reality is in fact, just the opposite. Remove that which holds the soil in place (vegetation, trees and all root systems) and the soil will begin to erode immediately under the actions of wind and water, and that's exactly what clearcutting is, the removal of ALL trees and vegetation from an area.

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Sonja H.
Sonja H9 years ago

This Is BS those forest are improved with Clear Cut, they are on the Third since the start, saves forest from fire,disease, and keeps erosion at bay.
As A former resident of central Oregon, Please DO NOT Sign This Petition!
Signing this petition is signing the Death Warrant on thousands of endangered wildlife such as the spotted owl that moved to new growth for food.
I know Oregon, and Loved Oregon, the State does not deserve a bunch people that do not understand that clear cutting prevents erosion in an area that can get as much as 100 inches of rain per year, reduces termite colonies, reduces Nutria (rodent ) populations and helps the native wild life. Elk need clear cutting for more healthy range lands, Mountain lions and Coyote need places to range that are open for browsing deer and elk.
Trust Me Do NOT SIGN this Petition!

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Rachel Contreras
Rachel Contreras9 years ago

Who in there right mind would want to destroy the majestic beauty our country has left. Thank you President Obama for saving our forest!!!!!!!!!!!

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Brandon H.
Brandon H.9 years ago

For some reason the link to my blog didn't work. Here it is! http://www.ascentadventure.com/2009/08/forests-in-oregon-protected-by-obama-and-preserved-from-clear-cutting/

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Brandon H.
Brandon H.9 years ago

This is great news! I'm excited that we will be able to enjoy these forests for year's to come. I wrote about it and quoted you on my blog too: Climbing High Blog

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Dana C.
Dana C9 years ago

Nancy H., I would appreciate it if you would keep your comments to the issues and not personally attack people with opposing opionions or make vulgar descriptions on this forum. I don't think it adds anything to the discussion except to dump your frustration and lower the overall tenor of the dialogue. Additionally, there are children who follow this website and I don't think it sets a good example for them. I fully understand being extremely frustrated about something. Believe me, I sometimes have murderous thoughts I am so outraged by some of what is going on in the world. But personally attacking people rather than addressing their position is unproductive and only serves to shut down dialog. There is already so much rancor and nastiness in the world, do we have to have it on this site too? I thought your point that loggers have to make a living too was a valid one and important to address. The references to stupid people and their anatomical parts unnecessary to your point.

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stephanie v.
stephanie v9 years ago

It feels good to actually know I and my fellow care2 members struck a victory! One that all can share in for generations to come! I love the BIG tress! (and little ones too!)

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Graham S.
Graham S9 years ago

That is so GREAT to hear!

Old growth should never be touched....EVER!

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B. M.
Bette M9 years ago

Plant trees for life......On Earth........

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