15 Oct 2009, 11:10am
Federal forest policy Politics and politicians
by admin

Mullah Salazar Tampers Some More

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar yesterday announced [here] an allowable cut target for 2010 for Oregon O&C lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The new cut target is 200 million board feet, approximately the same quantity offered annually from 2005 through 2008.

Salazar’s announcement follows his July bombshell when he withdrew the Western Oregon Plan Revision (WOPR) for those same lands.

In July Salazar vacated the WOPR and the Northern Spotted Owl Recovery Plan (NSORP) for political reasons. Both plans had been adopted in 2008 after years of effort, including thousands of man-hours, millions of dollars, and full and comprehensive public review and comment.

According to a July 12 press release [here], Salazar nixed those plans because Bush Administration officials allegedly “tampered” with the NSORP:

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.

However, Salazar’s withdrawal of those plans was politically motivated and represents the most egregious political tampering imaginable.

Some background. The northern spotted owl was listed as endangered species in 1990. Finally, 18 years later, a recovery plan was presented in May 2008 after the USFWS was forced to do so by court order. The reason given by the USFWS for NOT creating a recovery plan in all those years, something required within 3 years of listing under the Endangered Species Act, was that the Northwest Forest Plan satisfied that requirement. From the USFWS Press Release that accompanied the 2008 The Northern Spotted Owl Recovery Plan (NSORP):

A draft recovery plan for the northern spotted owl was completed in 1992 but not finalized due to the development of the Northwest Forest Plan, which amended 26 land and resource management plans (LRMPs) of the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. These LRMPs serve as the basis of conservation for a wide variety of species, including the northern spotted owl. The draft recovery plan released today builds on the Forest Plan and solely addresses the recovery needs of the northern spotted owl.

The Northwest Forest Plan has been a catastrophic failure. Spotted owl populations have declined 60 percent or more, old-growth habitat has been incinerated in megafires, and the economy of the region, especially the rural economy, has been decimated. Absolutely no good has come from the Northwest Forest Plan. The years of suffering and tragedy associated have been a monumental waste.

A draft spotted owl recovery plan was proposed by the USFWS over a year ago, but withdrawn after wide criticisms. The draft plan promoted “wildland fire use” (whoofoos) in spotted owl forests. The final plan, the NSORP, threw out all the whoofoo language.

It seems the USFWS, on second thought, decided it was better for spotted owls to use restoration forestry treatments and not Let It Burn fires in Oregon old-growth. They were encouraged in that regard by owl biologists and forest ecologists such as Jerry Franklin, who testified before Congress a year ago [here] that catastrophic fire in Oregon old-growth forests is often fatal to all the trees, including the old-growth:

We will lose these forests to catastrophic disturbance events unless we undertake aggressive active management programs… Without action, we are at high risk of losing these stands–and the residual old-growth trees that they contain–to fire and insects… Inaction is a much more risky option for a variety of ecological values, including preservation of Northern Spotted Owls and other old-growth related species. We need to learn as we go, but we need to take action now. Furthermore, it is critical for stakeholders to understand that active management is necessary in stands with existing old-growth trees in order to reduce the risk that those trees will be lost.

The USFWS got that message. In the final NSORP they okayed the use of judicious thinning to save owl forests from destruction by holocaust. The final WOPR followed.

Those plans were created with full compliance to NEPA, APA, and other applicable federal laws. Years of public involvement, public hearings, and public comments were considered, as well as years of scientific investigation and analysis. The procedures followed in creating the rules were exhaustive, comprehensive, and rigorous in the extreme.

Ken Salazar flushed all that effort down the toilet in July. He lifted his hind leg and peed all over the extensive public involvement and collaboration.

The spotted owl controversy is 25 years old. The O&C lands controversy is nearly 100 years old. Ken Salazar has had zero participation in those controversies. He is a politician from Colorado. He has no clue about Oregon forests or the issues we face here.

But that did not stop Ken Salazar from tampering with fully vetted and approved plans that impact the lives and landscapes of millions of people he has never met. One thing is clear: Ken Salazar could care less about the efforts of those millions of people to resolve longstanding problems.

Yesterday Salazar also called for a new “study” of O&C lands:

Secretary Salazar also announced today that he has asked BLM Director Bob Abbey and FWS Director Sam Hamilton to establish a special interdisciplinary task force to take a fresh look at processes that have guided the management of BLM forests in western Oregon. The task force will make recommendations to the Secretary on a process for finding a long-term strategy for forest management so that the O&C lands can reasonably, predictably and sustainably provide economic, social and ecological benefits. The special task force, which will include professionals from BLM, FWS, and other federal agencies including the U.S. Forest Service, will look at issues such as opportunities for public involvement, building consensus, scale of planning, and interagency coordination. The task force will provide its report to Secretary Salazar by spring, 2010.

As if these lands had not been studied to death for decades!!!! The BLM just completed a “long-term strategy” (the WOPR) that a venial and remote politician (Salazar) flushed away at his first opportunity.

The “hope and change” touted by the Obama Administration has been revealed to be hopelessness and reversion to past failed policies.

Ken Salazar boldly stepped into the quicksand of spotted owls and Oregon forests and got sucked under. Now he is floundering and gasping for breath.

He offers nothing new, just the same old No Touch, Let It Burn, Watch It Rot, pro-holocaust, anti-human, dead end policies that have failed utterly and miserably for decades.

In the July DOI press release Salazar stated:

“Local and tribal communities, stakeholders, and the dedicated men and women of the BLM and the FWS in the Pacific Northwest have worked very hard on these issues for many years,” said Secretary Salazar. “Their expertise and experience will be essential as we work to craft a timber program that can ensure a sustainable economic and environmental future for the Pacific Northwest.”

Yet that dedicated expertise and experience is exactly what Salazar flushed down the toilet.

Salazar has no expertise or experience in Oregon forest issues. Yet he cavalierly substituted his own profound ignorance and politically monkey-wrenched the exhaustive work of all the actual stakeholders.

Now we get more confusion, equivocation, and disorientation from the Obama Administration, as ignorant outsiders with new-found dictatorial power bring their hammer down again and again on the citizens and landscapes of the West.

There is something truly evil stirring in Washington DC these days. Power-mad holocausters plot devastation thousands of miles away. The Obama Administration is the American Taliban, and Ken Salazar is our own, homegrown Mullah Omar.

15 Oct 2009, 9:19pm
by Larry H.

For some perspective, in the years from 1989 through 1993, we cut 300 million board feet of dead and dying timber on just one relatively small Ranger District on the Eldorado National Forest. Their yearly ASQ was 45-65 million board feet of green timber. It is currently 5 million.

15 Oct 2009, 11:49pm
by Bob Z.


That’s a lot of firewood building up every year! My guess is that not only is 5 million feet a whole lot less than what is growing there annually, it’s probably a lot less than what is dying there, too. Most years, anyway, is my guess.

What a waste. Timber, talent, clean air, rural jobs, soil, water, energy, wildlife. Money and beauty. All frittered and burned away because of academic egos, agency “science”, goofy enviros, and ambulance chasers. And probably a few crafty businessmen and politicians lurking in the shadows somewhere.

What a bunch of losers we are. These losses have all taken place on our watch. Our grandchildren should be pissed, and rightfully so.

16 Oct 2009, 12:50am
by Mike

There are 2.1 million O&C acres. Average growth across all acres is in the neighborhood of 400 board feet per acre per year, or 840 million bf. Mullah Salazar’s peace offering is less than 25% of annual growth, the remainder of which will remain and add to the fuel load.

However, the cut will come from less than half the acres, since the other half are in set-asides (set aside to burn in catastrophic fires that spread immediately to private land since the O&C lands are checkerboarded).

So the cut will remove half the growth from half the land, and no growth from the other half, meaning the fuel load will increase at different rates. And all the land (except treated acres) will experience growth of other vegetation besides timber, such as brush, for instance.

It’s a burn by wildfire plan, basically.

16 Oct 2009, 11:37am
by Larry H.

Oops, those years were actually 1989 through the end of 1992. In early 1993, I went to Chiloquin to salvage the Lone Pine fire. “Preservationism” simply isn’t “sustainable”, as growth and mortality will continue to add to the already massive fuel loadings. The general public needs to learn that dead trees and branches don’t return to the soil as nutrients in our dry western forests. They BURN!

16 Oct 2009, 12:47pm
by bear bait

The real issue is that surgeons, historians, MBAs, lawyers, all have a say on how to run forests and the foresters have been fenced out of the deal.

So, it would only be fair to have at least one forester, or more, on the tissue committee at the local hospital, having a vote on the competency of surgeons. A forester should be on the history faculty. A forester should be on board of the Federal Reserve bank in each district. A forester should be on the Governing committee of the National Bar Association.

In reality, the pubic is an ass, and is in denial or ignorance of 99.9% of the forest issues in terms of reality and possible solutions. They don’t know sour owl poop from apple butter. That is a hell of a way to run a railroad. and how we do it.

16 Oct 2009, 1:00pm
by Bob Z.


I think the public already knows that firewood burns. It’s just those goofy Enviros and their opportunistic lawyers and politicians that don’t seem to understand this fact. Worse, they think it is their perspective that is needed to “educate” the rest of us that refuse to accept their baloney.

That’s what too much electric heat and fossil fuel energy will do to you. So how did these nitwits ever get into power in the first place? That’s what I’d like to know.

16 Oct 2009, 11:31pm
by Bob Z.

Part 2.

Mike: A new study really is needed for the O&C Lands, despite your accurate assertion that it’s been “studied to death.” What is the argument there? Old-growth? Trees maybe 200 to 500 years old? How were those trees managed 200 to 500 years ago?

That is what we need to study, and what BLM has never bothered to find out. Instead, they take some over-priced, half-baked theories straight from an ivory tower someplace, run it through some techie-gamer’s “model,” and come out with all kinds of pseudo-scientific “fire return intervals,” “naturally functioning ecosystems,” and other modern myths.

If they found out how the lands were really managed, and the true role of bipeds in “naturally functioning” environments seriously considered, our actual planning and management options would be increased dramatically, our rural economies stabilized, and our forests made safer, more attractive, and more productive.

The Northwest Plan, ESA, ETC., have been exploited by lawyers hiding behind “non-profit” organizations pretending to “work” for the betterment of the environment. Our forests and grasslands and rural communities are being systematically degraded and destroyed as a result.

Here is how this is happening:

Here is what some Tribes are doing about it:

We need to full light of day on these weasels and the laws and regulations they are exploiting.The Hopis and Navajos have taken action. Maybe it’s time Oregonians followed their lead.

16 Oct 2009, 11:57pm
by Mike

Bob — the Oregon BLM Districts are slowly figuring it out, but they definitely could use some expert help in that regard. Unfortunately, they have not been given a clear mandate to engage in restoration (other than on a few valley acres).

The O&C lands are trust lands, and have a unique purpose specified in the trust agreement - to fund rural schools through timber sales. The arrangement is quite different from other BLM lands and USFS lands. That (more recent) history must be considered, too.

But I do agree that the residents of the landscape should own and control the landscape. This whole problem started when DC pols commandeered the land and gave it away to cronies in the Oregon-and-California Railroad. DC has interfered in land management ever since, too.

The people who live here should not be oppressed by outside interests, absentee landlords, DC wheeler-dealers, or anybody who does not live in the watershed. Proximity counts. The people most affected by land management decisions should be the ones who make those decisions.

Not crooks posing as religious mullahs from the most corrupt city on Earth some 3,000 miles away.

18 Oct 2009, 10:51pm
by Mike

Technical correction:

Neither President Shirley nor the Navajo Nation has banned environmentalists from Navajo land. He did, however, strongly support the action of the Hopi Tribal Council on Hopi land [here].

“I stand with the Hopi Nation,” President Shirley said. “Unlike ever before, environmental activists and organizations are among the greatest threat to tribal sovereignty, tribal self-determination, and our quest for independence.”

“By their actions, environmentalists would have tribes remain dependent on the federal government, and that is not our choice. I want the leaders of all Native American nations to know this is our position, and I would ask for their support of our solidarity with the Hopi Nation in the protection of their sovereignty and self-determination, as well as ours.”

On Monday, the Hopi Tribal Council unanimously approved a resolution that stated environmentalists have worked to deprive the tribe of markets for its coal resources and the revenue it brings to sustain governmental services, provide jobs for Hopis, and secure the survival of Hopi culture and tradition.

As a result, the Hopi Council stated that the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Parks Conservation Association, and the Grand Canyon Trust and organizations affiliated with them are no longer welcome on Hopi land.



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