Timber industry, environmental groups in Oregon reach agreement

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced a new agreement that was signed by a dozen timber companies and environmental groups.

Posted: Feb 10, 2020 5:22 PM

SALEM, Ore. (KGW) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is taking steps to make forestry practices on private land more sustainable.

Brown announced a new agreement Monday morning that was signed by a dozen timber companies and environmental groups.

The agreement address three key issues, as outlined in a press release from the governor's office:

  • Update the state's timber practices: "For the first time, Oregon will strive for the endorsement of federal wildlife agencies, signifying that the state's forest practices are protective of threatened and endangered species, including Oregon's iconic salmon. Through this process, the state will seek a Habitat Conservation Plan, allowing Oregonians to continue their long tradition of working in the woods while honoring natural habitats."
  • New legislation on aerial spraying of pesticides: "A state-of-the-art system will build confidence with forest neighbors, who will be eligible to receive real-time notification that aerial spraying will occur. This first of its kind system will expand protected spray buffers around drinking water, homes, and schools."
  • Expand forest stream buffers: "New legislation will also expand forest stream buffers along salmon, steelhead, and bull trout streams, aligning forest practices in the area with those of the rest of western Oregon."

"This pact proves that when we work together with a willingness to compromise, we can create a better future in Oregon," Brown said.

The press release from the governor states that both sides have agreed to drop all forestry related initiative petitions and related litigation "after the passage of the legislation this session."

"Now as we move forward into a new era of cooperation and transparency, forest policy should continue to rely on the best available science," said Greg Miller, long-time timber industry executive and representative of the coalition of forest companies.

"Today's agreement is a critical step toward modernizing Oregon's forest rules," said Bob Van Dyk, Oregon policy director at the Wild Salmon Center. "This agreement is a genuine show of good faith from both sides."

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