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Greedy logging at Monument timber sale begins!

Logging just began at the massive Monument Timber Sale in the Malheur National Forest in remote Eastern Oregon. In a greedy and opportunitistic move, the Forest Service and DR Johnson Logging Co. is attempting to destroy as much of this forest as possible before a June 3rd lawsuit that is expected to shut down this controversial and illegal timber sale is implemented.
Logging just began at the massive Monument Timber Sale in the Malheur National Forest in remote Eastern Oregon. In a greedy and opportunitistic move, the Forest Service and DR Johnson Logging Co. is attempting to destroy as much of this forest as possible before a June 3rd lawsuit that is expected to shut down this controversial and illegal timber sale is implemented.

If you have experience in forest action and have or can take the next week off please contact us ASAP!!!

Cascadia RiSiNG! EcoDefense

homepage: homepage: http://www.cascadiarising.org
phone: phone: 503.493.7495

more information 24.May.2004 13:20

spiral prowl@cascadiarising.org

I invite folks to post any updates they have about the situation here, but I wanted to pass along my current understanding of the situation with Monument. From my understanding, logging COULD begin at any minute because the the motion to get a preliminary injunction on the logging was denied. The Monument lawsuit was filed a couple of weeks ago in Portland. Unfortunately, the way the legal system works, logging can occur after a lawsuite is filed unless plaintiffs file a motion for a preliminary injunction AND the judge grants that injunction. In this case, the judge felt that he was limited in his ability to grant the preliminary injunction because the Forest Service is using the "emergency status" provision of the (un)Healthy Forests "Restoration" Act for this timber sale. The emergency status, which dramatically reduces opportunities for public involvement in the process, can be granted to timber sales in burns--the justification for "emergency" being that if they don't log it soon enough, the decay process will render the wood unmerchantable.

The Monument Fire burned in a mosaic across the landscape, and fire has been a key component of the ecosystem for
thousands of years. Many of the trees marked to cut in the sale are huge green trees that survivived the fire This is not to imply at all that dead trees are worthless--in many ways the dead trees are even more ecologically valuable because they provide crucial nesting and foraging areas for scores of creatures. Rather, it's important to point out that the real "emergency" felt by the DR Johnson Lumber Company is the need to liquidate the old growth at Monument before activists have the chance to use what little legal recourse they have left at this time.

On June 3rd, there will be another hearing and it will be up to the judge whether to grant a temporary restraing order (TRO) to halt logging until the lawsuit goes to court. While there is a good chance that a TRO will be granted, this will do the ecosystem little good if the logging has already happened by then...

Here's a press release by the groups suing to stop the timber sale:

Post-Fire Salvage Logging Lawsuit Filed This Week

Home : Member Center : Press Releases : One Item

Asante Riverwind, Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project, 520.824.3201
Susan Jane Brown, Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center, 503.768.6823
Chris Winter, Cascade Resources Advocacy Group, 503.525.2725

Conservation Groups File Lawsuit Challenging
Monument Post-Fire Logging Project

Portland, Oregon - Four conservation organizations filed a federal lawsuit this week in Portland challenging the Monument Fire Recovery Project located on the Malheur National Forest. The plaintiffs in the suit are Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project, Cascadia Wildlands Project, Northwest Environmental Defense Center, and Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center.

The Malheur National Forest announced plans to log 26.5 million board feet of timber from more than 3,300 acres of National Forest land. The Forest Service has been strongly criticized by scientists, agency personnel, and conservation groups for many years because post-fire salvage logging causes extreme damage to the natural resources. The Monument Project is no different, and the plaintiffs cite impacts to both terrestrial and aquatic species as a result of the industrial logging plans.

"We're starting to see a pattern of practice on the Malheur National Forest," said Susan Jane Brown, staff attorney for the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center who is representing the plaintiffs. "The Forest Service prioritizes logging over all other concerns. Forest fires leave behind a very sensitive landscape and also create unique habitat for certain types of species. Post-fire salvage logging devastates these areas, destroying habitat, causing incredible sedimentation and generally disrupting the natural system."

The groups are also challenging the Forest Service's assessment of how the Monument Fire and the planned salvage logging will affect water quality and fish. "The Forest Service has completely ignored Oregon's water quality standards" says Chris Winter, an attorney with the Cascade Resources Advocacy Group who is also representing the plaintiffs. "The Forest Service is only going to make a bad situation worse by logging in these watersheds. These rivers already fail to meet the most basic requirements for stream health directly threatening the rare redband trout and other important aquatic species. Intensive salvage logging operations will devastate these waters in violation of several federal laws."

Plaintiffs believe that logging these steep slopes will overwhelm the watersheds with sedimentation. "I, along with volunteers, have personally witnessed and documented, piles of sediment and rocks moving across the roads towards the creek even before any logging in the area," says Karen Coulter, co-director of the Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project. "This indicates unstable and erosive slopes. If the Forest Service logs the area it would contribute significant amounts of sediment to the streams."

The Monument Fire burned approximately 24,525 acres in July 2002, including portions of the Monument Rock Wilderness Area, the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, and private land. The fire burned portions of the Camp, Hunter, and Spring Creeks subwatersheds of the Little Malheur River Watershed. Approximately 3,344 acres are proposed for salvage logging on the Malheur National Forest portions of the burn, resulting in 26.5 million board feet of timber.

The Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center (PEAC) is the environmental law clinic at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. PEAC's goals are to advance efforts to protect the environment by serving as a resource for public interest organizations that need legal representation, and to train and educate law students through direct involvement in complex environmental and natural resource issues. www.lclark.edu/org/peac/about.html.

Cascade Resources Advocacy Group (CRAG) is a non-profit law firm based in Portland, Oregon. CRAG is working to protect and defend our natural heritage by representing conservation groups throughout the Pacific Northwest. You can find out more about CRAG's work at www.crag.org.

Contributed by Mark Riskedahl.

greedy to whom? 02.Jun.2004 17:52

Annette Jennings

I could not help but question the motive behind the title of the opening comment regarding the Monument timber sale. In July of 2002, the Malheur National Forest experienced a stand replacing fire aptly named the Monument fire, due to its partial location in the Monumnet Rock Wilderness. This fire was caused naturally by a lightening strike. The burning intensity of the fire, however, was not natural. Due to the many years of drought, and fire supression, and the absence of logging fuel moistures and loading were at the minimum and maximum for disaster. Beautiful land is now charred, but will not stay that way forever. There is a chance to improve upon current situation by logging. Logging will allow for new trees to be able to sprout, without the overpowering competition of large dead trees. There was a assesment made in a link posted with the comment previous to this one that made me wonder about the source. It was stated that there are "huge green trees that survived the fire" and that these trees are marked for harvesting. Have you been there? Did you see them with your own eyes? Did you take into consideration that even though they may have green boughs, the fragile inner layers and root sytem may be damaged to the point of mortality? Did you know that since these trees are so large and old that the duff layer that surrounds their base is very deep and burned with such an intensity and duration that quite possibly these trees have been so severely affected that even if today they are still alive they most likely will be dead within the next two to five years? Have you chopped into the bark yourself at least three times on different sides of the base of the tree to determine the exact extent to which they have been damaged? Have you in fact seen this with your own eyes, or are you just reapeating something that you have heard or been told through various sources. Please try and think rationally for a minute if you can. Try and see things in another light. I have done all these things that I have stated, in fact maybe I marked these trees that you are saying are green. I live here in "remote Eastern Oregon" every day. It is a life that I am sure you have not experienced, maybe you don't want to? Thats your choice. I will say one thing though, until you and your supporters come here and carry out the work neccessary to determine whether or not a tree is dead and try to live the life that I do every day of the year, do not make the mistake of pointing at me, telling me that the greedy logging at the Monument timber sale is beginning. We are not the greedy ones, we are trying to survive. In fact, by logging this fire we are actually improving the quality of the forest and environment. The next time you start pointing your finger at an agency or logging company that you think is greedy, make sure that you take the time to see three of your own fingers pointing back at you, letting you know exactly how greedy you and your organaizations are being by trying to stop and sabotage logging operations thus actaully harming the the land that you are so dead set on preserving.

Malheur out of control 12.Aug.2004 17:47

Dan Becker

27 years of working on the Malheur in fire gives me a different perspective here. Many of the trees in the fire area were indeed dead. However I see many green trees going into the mill every day. Trees that are over 400 years old that will never grow here again. I have seen the effects of salvage logging. A little of it turned out well, but most of it turned out badly. This could have turned out well. But the Forest Service chose to "get the boards out". As a employee I am ashamed.