Over 500 Rally in Portland to End Commercial Logging on Public Lands
WHO: Cascadia Forest Alliance, Oregon Sierra Club, BARK, Oregon
Wildlife Federation, Native Forest Network, Rainforest Action Network, National
Forest Protection Alliance and others
Portland, OR: Today over 500 forest protection supporters gathered at
noon in downtown Portland to rally for an end to commercial logging on
public lands, celebrate the Eagle Creek timber sale cancellation, and draw
attention to the one hundred new timber sales on the two national
forests closest to Portland. Several representative from environmental, labor
and faith groups spoke in support of ending commercial logging on public
lands as the answer to the Bush Administrationıs misguided federal forest
³Itıs hard to tell where the timber industry stops and the Bush
Administration begins,² said Ivan Maluski with the Native Forest
Network. He pointed to former timber industry lobbyist Mark Rey being appointed to oversee the Forest Service and the record breaking soft-money
contributions George W. Bush received from some of the largest loggers of public lands in the region during the presidential campaign of 2000.
After the rally, about 300 people marched to the Regional Headquarters
of the US Forest Service and Oregon office of the Bureau of Land
Management to submit a petition with a list of policy changes that would help protect and restore public lands for future generations. The policy changes were also written on a large 50 foot banner which was filled with signatures over the course of the day. The petition to the Bush Administrationıs federal
land management agencies read as follows:
We support the following steps for the protection and restoration of
our public lands:
1) Immediately end commercial logging, roadbuilding and all commercial
extraction on all Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and other
publicly owned lands.
2) Redirect all annual federal logging subsidies to create family-wage,
long-term, sustainable jobs in scientifically sound ecological
3) Restore natural fire regimes, bringing fire back to its natural,
healthy role in our forests. End expensive and ineffective public lands
wildfire suppression and focus resources on helping those living in the
wildlands interface zone protect their homes and property.
4) Forever keep timber corporations off our public lands to preserve
our remaining native forests, safeguard our drinking water, protect fish
and wildlife habitat and to leave a legacy of protected public lands for
Activists pointed out that the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in
Washington and Mt. Hood National Forest in Oregon, the two national
forests closest to Portland, together are facing 100 new timber sales,
threatening thousands of acres of mature native and old growth forests. But these two national forests merely represent a microcosm of whatıs happening all
over the region and on federal forest lands across the nation.
³We need to end commercial logging on our public lands to protect our
remaining native forests and drinking water from the corporations that
profit from their destruction,² said Sarah Wald of the Cascadia Forest
Alliance. She pointed out that timber corporations benefit from a huge
taxpayer subsidy of roughly $1.2 billion each year to log public lands,
while less than four percent of the nationıs wood consumption comes
from those same public forests, amounting to a huge corporate welfare
³Some of the same timber barons who gave $1.1 million in 'soft money'
to George W. Bush in 2000 will benefit from the $1.2 billion logging
subsidy and will likely be trying to log the one hundred timber sales in our
nearest national forests this summer,² she added.
Rally organizers also pointed out that a bill in Congress with 110
co-sponsors, named the National Forest Protection and Restoration Act,
would end the federal commercial logging program and redirect subsidies to
create jobs in rural communities in ecologically sound restoration.