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.
http://o2collective.org/archives/IMGP2109.jpgMike'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.
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!):
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.
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.