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White House Threatens Veto

Posted by elvis 4 (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 26, 13 at 19:16

Sounds like the feds don't trust Oregon to manage the forest sustainably; problem is the federal government hasn't exactly been doing a good job of managing the forests under their jurisdiction.

Mind you, this isn't a problem inteinsic to the present administration, rather it is dogma historically followed by the past several administrations. I think it's time for a change. What about you?

"White House budget officials threatened a veto for a bill nearing the House floor that would expand timber harvests on federal lands scattered throughout western Oregon.

Cheered by environmental groups, Wednesday's veto threat presents another hurdle for rural counties seeking an economic boost from Oregon & California Railroad grant lands that were once a major source of lumber.

The White House action raised the visibility of the latest round in the long-running timber wars in Oregon. Several heavily forested counties south of the Willamette Valley have slashed their law enforcement and other services as their federal timber receipts have disappeared and their local economies have lagged.

At the same time, environmental groups say the legislation threatens a return to industrial clearcuts on federal lands that will damage the hillsides, muddy streams and threaten wildlife.

In a statement, the Office of Management and Budget said that it would recommend that President Barack Obama veto the bill if it reached his desk in its current form. The statement criticized not only the O&C provisions in the bill but also other parts of the legislation that the agency said would conflict with environmental laws and harm federal forests and range lands.

The White House budget office said the Oregon provisions "would undermine appropriate management and stewardship of these lands" while compromising habitat for endangered and threatened species. The statement said the bill "also contains seriously objectionable limitations on the President's existing authority" to create national monuments in areas with O&C lands.

The bill, H.R. 1526, received final approval Wednesday from the House Rules Committee to go the full House, where debate could begin as early as Thursday.

Reps. Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader, both D-Ore., and Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., drafted the Oregon provisions. It calls for placing about 1.6 million acres of the 2.8 million acres covered by the bill in a state-managed trust focused on timber production.

The measure also would temporarily extend a program providing federal timber payments to counties to help pay for local services

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is drafting his own legislation and has indicated that he intends to try to negotiate a deal with the House. Wyden's aides declined comment Wednesday on the veto threat.

Walden called the White House statement "disappointing."

"They're living in the '90s," he said. "They don't realize what's happened in the West...You've got counties literally going broke...and you've got these raging fires.

"I'm actually surprised by the tone and the force" of the letter, he said, although he added that he didn't think the veto threat would hinder House passage.

DeFazio, who has taken heat from many environmentalists who have long supported him, said he wasn't perturbed by the veto threat.

He said in a statement that if he were president, he would also threaten to veto the bill because of its many controversial provisions other than the Oregonsections.

"I have negotiated in good faith, from the minority, the best possible O&C solution that can pass the Republican controlled House," DeFazio said. "My goal is to move this bipartisan O&C solution forward to the Senate where I expect Chairman Ron Wyden will make changes so the bill can pass the Democratically controlled Senate and be signed by the president." Steve Pedery, conservation director of Oregon Wild, said the veto threat "probably gives Wyden more breathing room" to draft a bill quite different from the House measure."

Here is a link that might be useful: Link

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: White House Threatens Veto

Evidently you have never seen a clearcut. DH and I came across one of old growth fir in Washington about a day after it had been cut. Heavy machinery was still in place. It looked like a war zone. I cried, it was so awful.

If trees were cut and the younger, smaller ones left, it wouldn't be so horrendous, and would, IMO, be good stewardship of the land. But, that would cost more and we can't have good stewardship cutting into profits.

Also, another thing you probably haven't seen, is what a re-planted tree farm (I refuse to call them forests) look like. All the branches of the trees are at the same level and it looks like lines going across the trees. There is no diversity of growth, either (as there would be if the smaller trees were left and, it would be hoped, other varieties of plants and trees could continue to grow) so much of the bird and small animal varieties die out.

And, reversing the bleakness of the economy is only a short-term benefit. Eventually, those trees will be gone and it takes at least 30 years for them to grow back. Where will the jobs be then? This was an argument in the 1990's spotted owl controversy. Old growth cutting in the national forest was halted where spotted owls nested. One town, Forks, WA, was hard hit but it has come back and is now a tourist destination (made popular by a TV vampire series). If all the beautiful trees are removed, the area is just a place to drive through.

I support Obama's veto just as I supported the denial of logging in spotted owl territory back when Bush I was president.

Of course, if you think the end times are near, it doesn't matter if we destroy the earth. This was James Watts' thinking - Reagan's Secretary of the Interior. Hmmm. Maybe that's why those some people don't care if it's destroyed - they'll be closer to the Rapture by doing so.

And the legislators from Oregon, as most legislators, whether Republican or Democrat, are in the pockets of corporations who will most profit from the desecration of the land (no different from other legislators being in the pockets of big oil corporations). They just use other "reasons" for their support of the desecration of the land. After all, the want to be re-elected so they please the big donors to their campaigns and make the electorate think they really care about them.

End of rant.

RE: White House Threatens Veto

Our local Rep is trying to loosen the restrictions and regulations on logging in Colorado as well. I don't know the exact details, wherein the devil resides.

But from what I've seen, the logging economy has changed considerably from the hay days of old - there are few old stands of timber left, at least in CO, and the big boys - Georgia-Pacific - left 15 years ago.

What's there, the secondary growth, just doesn't have the sort of diameter that makes it interesting, unless you have one of those mega-million dollar computerized cutting machines - and nobody wants to make that investment.

The logging economy has changed as well, with competition from plantations in the South East and imports from Canada.

The 800 lb gorilla is the millions of acres of beetle kill. And there just isn't much demand for that wood - although some of it is structurally sound, nobody is rushing to buy it - to put it mildly. There is some interest in bio-generators, burning the stuff to create electricity, but again nothing beyond a subsidized pilot scale.

RE: White House Threatens Veto

"The 800 lb gorilla is the millions of acres of beetle kill. And there just isn't much demand for that wood - although some of it is structurally sound, nobody is rushing to buy it - to put it mildly."

David, do you think that proper management of the forest for sustainability would have mitigated the beetle kill to some extent?

"Evidently you have never seen a clearcut. DH and I came across one of old growth fir in Washington about a day after it had been cut. Heavy machinery was still in place. It looked like a war zone. I cried, it was so awful."

Yes, Dockside, I have seen many clearcuts. They are messy. Forest fires are a great deal messier, though, as are the effects of massive forest pest depredation. Trees are plants, the forest is a garden of sorts, and there is a time to cut the trees to make way for new trees, and new ones after that.

I share your concern with preserving old growth stands, as I understand the definition of "old growth" as it applies to the forests of this planet.

RE: White House Threatens Veto

Hmmmm. Forests are not gardens. They are ecosystems. The Ecosystem of a forest is not just the trees and other life above the ground but an even larger community of biomass below the ground. When this is ignored you get global warming to name one scourge caused by us and our mismanagement.
There is never a time when some one isn't pushing to get government to loosen up on getting the trees out. The idea that local areas need the money generated is bunkum since the only ones to make any money are the logging companies. The Feds practically give the trees away and since they build the roads there is no money over.
The real turn around time on a Douglas Fir forest-the sort in Oregon, used to be considered to be 80 years. Now they are cutting at 40 even though you don't get much quality lumber that way. The stuff they cut is not old growth. Old growth is hundreds of years old and there is almost non of it left. The idea that so called over mature forests are more at risk of forest fire is just industry pr bs from the past. The science of fire risk is complex and how to manage for it is even more so but cutting all the trees down and leaving all the flammable scrap and duff behind hardly fixes the problem. And of course you have destroyed an ecosystem.

RE: White House Threatens Veto

David, do you think that proper management of the forest for sustainability would have mitigated the beetle kill to some extent?

What is proper forest management for sustainability? Sustainability of what? Large diameter, 200+ yr old trees? Sustainability of a timber industry? The water shed?

Beetle kill is far more the result of climate change than any management decision - the winters just aren't cold enough anymore to kill the larvae, the longer growing season means that some years, there are two generations of beetles instead of one, add on stress from "exceptional", muli-year droughts. The infestation hammers forests that have never been logged as well as forests that were logged 75-100 years ago.

RE: White House Threatens Veto

Hmm. Okay, David & Patricia. Patricia, of course you are right; forests are not gardens. But tree plantations are crops. We won't even get into ecosystems, that's way too much subject matter for an HT thread.

Patricia, when you stated that: "The idea that local areas need the money generated is bunkum since the only ones to make any money are the logging companies," you are not correct.

snip-"Since 1908, the Forest Service has shared 25-percent of gross receipts from national forests with
states to benefit public schools and public roads in the counties in which the national forests are
situated. The receipts on which the 25-percent payments are based are derived from timber
sales, grazing, minerals, recreation, and other land use fees, deposits and credits."

Unfortunately, these communities (including kids) are taking a back seat to special interest groups who are more interested in protecting the spotted owl among other critters, than the human children who benefit from the monies their schools receive, the jobs their parents have (in Wisconsin 1 in 3 jobs is related to the timber industry).

Not to mention the forest health is suffering due to neglect. Not to mention wildfires. BTW, there are slash laws to address the cleanup issues after timber sales are complete. These sales are not cut willy-nilly; there are very strict rules that are closely monitored for compliance.

We do need the forest products. You guys aren't recycling your toilet paper yet, I'd wager. And that's just part of the product we depend on every day.

Compromises must be made.

Here is a link that might be useful: Secure Rural Schools Act

RE: White House Threatens Veto

I think it's time for a change. What about you?

I think you need to allow President Obama to finish his "time slot".

RE: White House Threatens Veto

  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 27, 13 at 20:45

We don't need to clear cut forests to wipe our butts ...

"On an annual basis, 1 acre of hemp will produce as much fiber as 2 to 3 acres of cotton. Hemp fiber is stronger and softer than cotton, lasts twice as long as cotton, and will not mildew.

Cotton grows only in moderate climates and requires more water than hemp; but hemp is frost tolerant, requires only moderate amounts of water, and grows in all 50 states. Cotton requires large quantities of pesticides and herbicides--50% of the world's pesticides/herbicides are used in the production of cotton. Hemp requires no pesticides, no herbicides, and only moderate amounts of fertilizer.

On an annual basis, 1 acre of hemp will produce as much paper as 2 to 4 acres of trees. From tissue paper to cardboard, all types of paper products can be produced from hemp.The quality of hemp paper is superior to tree-based paper. Hemp paper will last hundreds of years without degrading, can be recycled many more times than tree-based paper, and requires less toxic chemicals in the manufacturing process than does paper made from trees.

Hemp can be used to produce fiberboard that is stronger and lighter than wood. Substituting hemp fiberboard for timber would further reduce the need to cut down our forests.

Hemp can be used to produce strong, durable and environmentally-friendly plastic substitutes. Thousands of products made from petroleum-based plastics can be produced from hemp-based composites.

It takes years for trees to grow until they can be harvested for paper or wood, but hemp is ready for harvesting only 120 days after it is planted. Hemp can grow on most land suitable for farming, while forests and tree farms require large tracts of land available in few locations. Harvesting hemp rather than trees would also eliminate erosion due to logging, thereby reducing topsoil loss and water pollution caused by soil runoff"

....complete article at link

Here is a link that might be useful: source of course

RE: White House Threatens Veto

I guess, Elvis, you didn't read the reasons why the White House threatened a veto. Do you think that the antiquities act should be gutted?

Do you think huge chunks of our national forests should be given over to state control? Say in Michigan, with the tea party radicals now in control? How long until the forests are gone? I bet the Koch Bros would buy it up in a snap - those Brawny Paper Towels need a lot of pulp wood. At fair prices, I'm sure.

I can tell you that if that many acres were given over to state control here, it would be given out to political cronies within weeks, with no oversight, no accountability, and it would be a disaster.

And you missed the big point - its economics. What kind of subsidies are needed to go harvest small diameter trees? I know the forest service guys here. They hold timber auctions - and often, nobody shows up. Because it just isn't economical anymore, unless its for some niche market like fungus stained log furniture or paneling.

And the reason that rural school districts are having financial issues isn't that people quit cutting down trees twenty years ago. Its because the people who live there refuse to raise their own property taxes. Ask me how I know - I live in a rural area that wouldn't raise their taxes to save their own mothers from starvation. And why wouldn't Oregon, or Colorado, just reduce the amount of state aid that the timber sales would cover, resulting in the same thing? For that matter, the gvt could just revisit the amount of PLT payments.

As far as forest health, you are aware, I imagine, that the national forest service has seen its 'forest health' - thinning, controlled burns, etc. budget used almost exclusively for fighting forest fires, for three years in a row now? What with climate change creating record fire seasons year after year?

So I think that what will happen is that the delegation from Oregon will strip out the outrageous, tea party ideology bits of the proposed legislation, and it will likely pass - that is if congress can possibly get their act together to actually vote on something other than grandstanding over repealing Obamacare.

RE: White House Threatens Veto

So do Ohio and David think all tree harvesting should stop?

Should the forestry industry-related workers be retrained in the hemp business? Should hemp production take over certain farms which are currently producing other products?

Should all wood products be replaced with another material, say plastic for your furniture, homes, and floors?

How much harvesting of timber is acceptable to you? Is it okay to plant large quantities of trees, and if so, where? Most trees need sunlight, planting in the understory will cause some pretty slow growing trees. Most trees aren't very long-lived. Is it okay to harvest them at some point, or let them fall down and lie on the forest floor till bark beetles move in and/or they become fuel for forest fires? Or until they are in the way of the people who wish to wander through the forest and admire the tall ones?

Is it okay to cut down trees to make roads so that one can move about the country and admire the trees?

I think forest management needs to be carefully balanced between the needs of the humans, animals, and the general health of the planet.

RE: White House Threatens Veto

let them fall down and lie on the forest floor till bark beetles move in

Is that how you think the 70+ million acre bark beetle infestation is happening? Trees fall over because they weren't logged, die of old age, and then the beetles move in?

RE: White House Threatens Veto

I heard about the wind blowing them in. I also read this:

"Mountain pine beetles inhabit ponderosa, whitebark, lodgepole, Scotch, and limber pine trees. Normally, these insects play an important role in the life of a forest, attacking old or weakened trees, and speeding development of a younger forest. However, unusual hot, dry summers and mild winters throughout the region during the last few years, along with forests filled with mature lodgepole pine, have led to an unprecedented epidemic."

That's in your neck of the woods. In my neck of the woods, the forest is reconned; the foresters know the stand age and types and when there are forest pests present and prescribe treatment, which may include harvest of certain species. When setting up a harvest many factors must be considered including aesthetics, soil types, species of special concern, archeological considerations and more, all done, according to BMP's.

Bad things happen, unprecedented events occur. The best one can do is harvest trees at or shortly after maturity, and move quickly to harvest when a pest epidemic or other natural disaster (i.e., ice storm) occurs before there is nothing worthwhile to harvest. Otherwise, there is complete waste and potentially dangerous excessive woody debris.

There are of course exceptional areas, i.e. giant sequioa, which we would want to preserve. OTOH, we'd better be growing new ones, or the generations which follow us won't have the treasures we have.

Trees don't fall over because they weren't logged, David. They fall over because they can't stand up any more.

This post was edited by elvis on Sat, Sep 28, 13 at 1:15

RE: White House Threatens Veto

I think, David, the premise is lost... the bigger picture is that everything we do is intertwined, and everything has an effect on everything else.

Without cold, killing winters the beetles live, and in turn decimate the forests... and so on...

The planet was managing fine before humanoids evolved to speed up processes... and it will continue to evolve and manage long after we're gone. We're just a monkey wrench in the major works.

RE: White House Threatens Veto

"Without cold, killing winters the beetles live, and in turn decimate the forests... and so on..."

Gosh...wouldn't that be nice...why, that would take care of all sorts of pests: ticks...mosquitoes...centipedes...cockroaches...

There's a pretty fine line anyway...when we're talking about how cold and killing we really need winters to be....

RE: White House Threatens Veto

Here's a map of beetle infestation in northern Colorado / southern Wyoming. The situation is much the same throughout the west, even worse up in Canada.

These forests - pinion, pine, spruce, have been infested with different species of bark beetle over the course of the past 15 years, the epidemic getting worse as the climate changes - warmer winters, longer growing season, drought. They aren't just mature pine trees just waiting to be logged, its everything - old forest, young forest, regrowth following clear cuts and fires, individual trees out in the meadow, the Scots pine trees, pinion, and juniper that grow on my property.

And then there is SAD, or Sudden Aspen Decline, where entire aspen forests, particularly on southern facing slopes, just die.

There are millions of acres of standing dead trees. Nobody wants the dead trees for much of anything - its value as lumber declines pretty quickly as rot sets in.

Are you suggesting that the best way to deal with this ecosystem-changing catastrophe is look around the west and start harvesting the remaining, un-infected trees? Or do as the OP proposes: give up the management to the states, who have no money, and who in turn will just give the management over to outfits like Georgia Pacific, owned by the Koch Bros?

RE: White House Threatens Veto

It's truly horrendous what's happened in your state, David. Too little too late probably. The OP is about Oregon, though.

RE: White House Threatens Veto

"Evidently you have never seen a clearcut. DH and I came across one of old growth fir in Washington about a day after it had been cut. Heavy machinery was still in place. It looked like a war zone. I cried, it was so awful."

Clear cutting was just part of the landscape growing up in Washington state. I never crossed my mind to cry about it.

It's amazing how government decides what is good for everybody, even when it has no idea what it's doing. The feds and the environmentalists claimed the northern spotted owls could "only" survive in old growth forests. That wasn't true. But it didn't matter. To save the owl required we "preserve" the forest which was their habitat. So what happened?

The northern spotted owl continues to disappear. ANOTHER owl I don't recall hearing about when the spotted owl was "saved," the barred owl, is taking over its habitat. And now the barred owl is even breeding with the northern spotted owl. So now there will be government issued permits so people can go kill the barred owl. The hope is that in areas where the barred owl population is reduced, the northern spotted owl will begin to come back.

For over twenty years, economies that relied on logging and mills have been sacrificed to save an owl. I know how badly people and communities were hurt by government's actions, well intended as they may have been. If the mere sight of a clear cut makes you cry, it's a good thing you weren't faced with anything more serious. Like the loss of your livelihood. Generations of folks worked in the mills and forests, and if you aren't a PNW native, you wouldn't know what they went through when it was all yanked away from them under the pretext of saving an owl.

Here is a link that might be useful: Unintended consequences

RE: White House Threatens Veto

Well, below is clearly is the wrong approach, because it requires consensus and compromise. When everybody knows that the only possible solution is the tea party solution and just give the forests to the state so they can turn management over to timber companies, who, since they're private, for profit entities, have the public's best interest in mind.

"U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, spelled out a "legislative framework" today that calls for increased logging and county timber revenues from federally owned Oregon and California Railroad lands but penalizes counties with relatively low property taxes.

The senator's framework leaves out crucial details, including where and how much logging would be allowed. Wyden said he wants to work with the timber industry, conservation groups, scientific experts and others to nail down the fine points sometime this summer.

He called for higher federal payments to timber-dependent counties, which don't get property taxes from federal land. But he also said the federal funding formula should pay less to counties with low property taxes relative to other "resource-dependent" rural counties.

That's a strong signal to voters in southwest Oregon's Josephine and Curry counties, relatively low-tax counties that rejected property tax increases Tuesday. Oregon's Legislature is also considering proposals to provide services in some of the hardest-hit counties.

Eighteen counties include O&C land in Oregon, but counties in southwest Oregon are particularly dependent on logging revenues from those lands.

They have suffered as federal make-up payments designed to compensate for logging declines have dropped under budget pressures. The logging downturn stems from the 1990 listing of the northern spotted owl under the Endangered Species Act.

Wyden wants O&C lands to be dedicated to either "sustainable timber harvest" or set aside for permanent protection. The two designations should be "roughly equivalent," Wyden said, but he didn't specify a logging amount.

Wyden has been under pressure to move toward a solution from the logging industry and from county officials struggling to provide adequate services.

He's also under pressure from a proposal by three Oregon representatives in the Republican-controlled U.S. House - Democrats Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader and Republican Greg Walden - that would boost O&C logging from less than 200,000 board feet a year to roughly 500,000.

Their proposal includes shifting 1.5 million acres of O&C forests to a trust that would be managed under Oregon's Forest Practices Act, which includes far less protection for the northern spotted owl and streamside trees than in federally held timberlands.

Wyden has said that approach has little chance of passing the Democrat-controlled Senate. His framework would keep the lands in federal management.

Wyden said he's open to "modernizing" federal rules to allow steady logging. But that's unlikely to include significant waivers from the federal Endangered Species Act or Clean Water Act, conservation leaders say.

Wyden didn't say what logging volume he's shooting for -- environmental groups say anything over 250,000 board feet a year could significantly damage salmon streams and spotted owl habitat.

But he did say he's open to voluntary land swaps, where low-value O&C forests could be traded for high-value forests on private lands.

The O&C lands, the product of a failed railroad deal in the early 20th century, are in a checkerboard pattern that intersperses private timberland with public land held largely by the Bureau of Land Management.

If all works well, forestry bills including management of O&C lands would pass the House and Senate this summer. DeFazio has said his hope is the two sides could work out differences in a conference committee that includes members from both chambers.

Here is a link that might be useful: link

RE: White House Threatens Veto

  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 30, 13 at 12:43

Generations of folks worked in the mills and forests, and if you aren't a PNW native, you wouldn't know what they went through when it was all yanked away from them under the pretext of saving an owl.

....probably the same way American factory workers felt when our jobs were outsourced to SEAsia? Oh that's right, it was all our fault for wanting a "living wage" , now our fellow "comrades" flock to stores that carry goods made in "communist china"!

RE: White House Threatens Veto

"....probably the same way American factory workers felt when our jobs were outsourced to SEAsia? Oh that's right, it was all our fault for wanting a "living wage" , now our fellow "comrades" flock to stores that carry goods made in "communist china"!"

Totally off the wall comment.

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