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forest defense | save the biscuit

Mike's Gulch Roadless Logging: Scorned, Sold and Sued

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June 9 - Medford, OR - Two major victories were scored today for Mike's Gulch, a threatened forest in Oregon's largest roadless area, the South Kalmiopsis. The area's Congressman clearly stated his opposition to logging and the State's Governor announced he is filing a lawsuit in Federal Court to block the sale.

Only one week ago the Bush Administration announced they were selling timber in a roadless forest for the first time since overturning the Clinton-era rule protecting 59 million acres of roadless forests from logging. People across the country quickly moved to be heard and to convince the two public officials to take serious action in favor of wildland protections.

Forest lovers are celebrating today because it worked.

In announcing his decision to seek a temporary restraining oorder to halt logging, Governor Kulongoski said, "this timber sale, coming four years after the Biscuit Fire occurred, is unneeded and unwise. Opening this particular roadless area to salvage logging now ? when we are in the process of preparing a petition to the federal government on the proper management of those areas- contradicts the assurances the Bush Administration has made that the governors' opinions on such issues will be respected."

Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), representative for the district that includes Mike's Gulch, sent a letter this week to Mark Rey, the former timber lobbyist, now Undersecretary who runs Bush's Forest Service. The letter says in part:

"I do not believe you should be auctioning any timber sales in inventoried roadless areas until you have given Governor Kulongoski the courtesy of making a final decision on his petition, and given the courts a chance to make a decision on the merits of his case.

"You stated in a letter to the editor of the New York Times that 'we are providing interim protection to roadless areas, pending the development of state-specific rules provided for in our 2005 rulemaking.' I note, in the event that you are not aware, that you have not yet developed a state-specific rule for Oregon.

"You asked for the governor's input in managing roadless areas. Governor Kulongowski is giving you his. Given the circumstances, it is disingenuous of you to conduct this auction while giving lip service to the inclusion of the governors through the petition process and to protecting roadless areas in the interim."

Earlier this year, Oregon and three other states filed suit in federal court over the repeal of the 2001 roadless rule and the adoption of the 2005 Bush rule. Briefs have been filed and the case is slated for oral arguments in Federal District Court on August 1, 2006. A temporary restraining order to be sought by the Governor next week would preserve the status quo during the court proceedings and prevent any irreparable harm that would result from the logging.

Nonetheless, the Forest Service auctioned off the area today. The high bidder was Silver Creek Timber Company, a previous Biscuit Project front organization for Portland's Columbia Helicopters and banking mogul and timber baron Allyn Ford's private company, Roseburg Forest Products.

Additionally, Silver Creek is the same company that illegally logged in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area in 2004 and the Babyfoot Lake Botanical Area in 2005, both under contract for previous Biscuit Project timber sales. The Forest Service must decide next week, whether to award the sale to a company with such a record.

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Mike's Gulch sold for less than half of the already ridiculously low average price for Biscuit project timber sales: $32 for a thousand board-feet or about $150 for a loaded log truck. All the tress chopped and hauled will be old-growth trees greater than 30" in diameter.

What's Next

This has been one of those weeks where thousands of people with nothing more than their phones could make a difference because they were organized and dedicated. Our influence is growing daily and now is the time to increase the pressure. We've got the ball rolling. Now we aim for a strike!

Please (please!) make at least TWO of the following calls each day this week (making all of them probably takes five to ten minutes total!):

Everyone:

First take a moment to call either Governor Ted Kulongoski [Phone: (503) 378-4582, Fax: (503) 378-6827] or Congressman Peter DeFazio [Phone: (541) 465-6732, Fax:(541) 465-6732 (in DC):(202) 225-0032 Toll free in Oregon: 1-800-944-9603] and thank one or both for the actions that they have taken. That kind of phone call is a nice change of pace and can have real impacts.

Across the country:

Call Dale Bosworth, Chief of the Forest Service [Phone: 202/205-1661; Fax: 202/205-1765].

Tell him that Mike's Gulch should not be awarded to Silver Creek Timber Company due to past contract and legal violations.


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Oregonians:

Call Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) [Phone:(503) 326-7525, Fax:(541) 431-0610 (in DC):(202) 228-2717]

Ask him to immediately fax Chief Bosworth and request the sale remain unawarded due to past contract and legal violations by Silver Creek Timber Company.


Willamette Valley residents:
Call at least one of the following Members of Congress:

Earl Blumenauer [Voice: 503-231-2300 FAX: 503-230-5413 DC Phone: 202-225-4811 DC Fax: 202-225-8941]

David Wu [Voice: 800-422-4003 FAX: 503-326-5066 DC Phone: 202-225-0855 DC Fax: 202-225-9497]

Darlene Hooley [ Voice: 503-588-9100 FAX: 503-588-5517 DC Phone 202-225-5711 DC Fax: 202-225-5699]

Ask them to support the strong positions taken by Governor Kulongoski and Representative DeFazio.

Great thanks goes to all of you who picked up a phone or otherwise got involved!

Stay tuned to http://o2collective.org for on-going updates.

homepage: homepage: http://o2collective.org


cool 11.Jun.2006 11:43

HI there

So some good news for a change , and why is "Bush" such a nut ?

Thanks but we need Senator Wyden to commit... 11.Jun.2006 22:28

elderberry

thanks to folks in Portland and Eugene and South Oregon for putting some needed and appropriate pressure on DeFazio and the Governor ( he wants those endorsements from the big Oregon greens). They (Governor and DeFazio) deserve to be thanked for answering their constituents calls and requests for action to stop this attack on Oregon's roadless areas. However, we still have not stopped this assault by Bush's henchmen on the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. Now we need to get SENATOR RON WYDEN OFF THE FENCE. The Senator has yet to state he is willing to do anything to stop these timber sales in OREGON'S LARGEST ROADLESS AREAS. He needs to do this is if he truly represents Oregon's interests. Thanks and keep it up to all who have worked on this for months and even years.

Solidarity 12.Jun.2006 18:27

Takota

Just wanted to send my love and compassion to all the forest folk far away. People back east left their hearts in the forest there, and it kills us to be away. I'm so happy to hear a bit of good news. Hope everyone has some morale left in them...your fight is shared by more than you know.

Keep calling 16.Jun.2006 17:00

Not one mo black stick.

Now is the time to keep bugging Wyden, call his offices and encourage him to intervene any way he can to stop logging in roadless areas and the Biscuit in particular.

Call Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) [Phone:(503) 326-7525, Fax:(541) 431-0610 (in DC):(202) 228-2717]