AFRC Sells Out

The American Forest Resource Council [here] represents nearly 80 forest product manufacturers and forest landowners in twelve western states.

Our mission is to create a favorable operating environment for the forest products industry, ensure a reliable timber supply from public and private lands, and promote sustainable management of forests by improving federal laws, regulations, policies and decisions that determine or influence the management of all lands.

That’s nice rhetoric, but is it factual or just pretty words?

Yesterday we reported that Sen. Ron Wyden has announced a bill that will end forest stewardship in Eastern Oregon. The announcement was hailed by radical enviros as “the end of timber sales in public forests east of the Cascades” [here].

The Dead Tree Press (note the irony) is all agog over the support for Wyden’s bill coming from the AFRC.

New Senate Bill Aims to End ‘War’ Over Eastern Ore. Forests

By NOELLE STRAUB of Greenwire, New York Times, December 16, 2009 [here]

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) today unveiled legislation to revamp management of 8.3 million acres in six national forests in eastern Oregon with the backing of both timber and conservation groups that have long battled over the land. …

He acknowledged that the bill, which requires timber harvest on hundreds of thousands of acres in its first three years, would face “significant challenges” but noted the range of groups backing the bill. They include the industry group American Forest Resource Council and owners of several timber companies, along with Oregon Wild, the Nature Conservancy, Pacific Rivers Council, Defenders of Wildlife and the National Center for Conservation Science and Policy.

The measure also would establish protections for large trees with a diameter of 21 inches measured at breast height…

That’s a new thing, because six months ago the AFRC was deathly opposed to Wyden’s bill [here].

Despite Good Intentions, Wyden Bill Fundamentally Flawed

Single tree management is unworkable and inconsistent with forest science

PORTLAND, OR - A bill designed to protect old growth forests and improve forest health on federal lands in Oregon would likely lead to the opposite result, according to forestry experts familiar with the issue. The draft bill, released by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden today would prohibit cutting any tree older than 120 years in moist, westside forests and older than 150 years in drier forests on federal lands. On eastside forests, trees larger than 21 inches in diameter would be off limits to harvesting.

“Senator Wyden deserves credit for trying to solve a difficult political issue,” said Tom Partin, President of the American Forest Resource Council. “Unfortunately, his proposal has a fundamental flaw: Forests can’t be managed based on the age of individual trees.” …

Also, in December, 2008, the AFRC issued a press release that stated [here]

Harvests from Oregon’s federal forests are less than 10 percent of levels experienced in the early 1990s. A more sustainable level of harvest is needed to help the industry access reasonably priced local timber to remain economically viable in the face of intense domestic and international competition. Our federal forests are also in a dire need of increased management to address a growing forest health crisis.

But all that is thrown under the bus, now. The AFRC now supports [here] exactly the prescriptive regulation that they decried in April, and another cut in the harvest.

AFRC News Release: Timber Industry Reacts to Senator Wyden’s Bill

Timber Industry Encouraged by Wyden Introduction of Oregon Eastside Forests Restoration, Old Growth Protection, and Jobs Act of 2009

Portland, OR–The American Forest Resource Council, a timber industry trade association based in Portland, Oregon, is hopeful Sen. Ron Wyden’s (D-OR) introduction of the Oregon Eastside Forests Restoration, Old Growth Protection, and Jobs Act of 2009 and the program of work it envisions will benefit all Oregonians. AFRC appreciates the work of both Senator Wyden and members of the environmental community who, together with industry representatives in Eastern Oregon, were involved in crafting this template for moving forward.

Major flip-flop. Major trashing of their own integrity. AFRC drinks the Kool-aid and curls up to die. Along with Eastern Oregon’s forests.



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