EUGENE, Ore. — Local environmentalists are speaking out against the proposed O&C Land Grant Act of 2013. The Organization Environment Oregon says the bill would do more damage than good.
Representative Peter DeFazio and Senator Ron Wyden champion the bill as a balance between logging and conservation, but Environment Oregon says there is a long list of reasons as to why that’s not exactly true.
“The O&C forest lands are a part of the forests that are all across the state, that are just the most amazing in the entire country,” says Charlie Fisher, a field organizer for Environment Oregon. Fisher says that’s why everyone should be invested in their preservation, and it’s why he was at Hendricks Park in Eugene Tuesday Morning.
“We’re releasing our new fact sheet, “Top Risks of Increased Logging” today that highlights the worst impacts of this really reckless logging on our O&C forest lands.”
Last week, Senator Ron Wyden presented his new plan for O&C timber payments.
The legislation is supposed to be a balance between protecting some land, while logging other parts for a much needed economic boost.
“This would more than double the average harvest for the next 20 years, so there would be an opportunity to put folks back to work in the woods, back to work in the mills,” Wyden says.
Environmentalists say it comes at a cost, not only to the wildlife, but people too.
They say water for 1.8 million Oregonians could be at risk because erosion from logging could lead to more herbicides and sediment in the drinking water.
The organization even argues the bill is a threat to the outdoor recreation industry, which currently generates $12.8 billion in consumer spending and sustains more than 140,000 jobs.
They’re encouraging folks to get involved now.
“Today marks the start of an even larger grass roots movement to make sure that our elected officials know we want to protect our forests.,” says Fisher.
The bill will go to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee in the Senate, which Wyden chairs.
He says he will do everything he can to move the legislation early next year.