Western Oregon BLM Federal Public Forestlands:
Oregon Wild has prepared BLM Practices v. Oregon Forest Practices Act which summarizes how Western Oregon BLM lands are managed today under federal environmental protection standards and how they would be managed, pursuant to the Oregon Forest Practices Act in the timber trust proposed by the Three Clearcuteers.
The Oregon Forest Practices Act allows, if not requires, moonscape forestry.
The Three Clearcuteers (Reps. DeFazio, Walden and Schrader) proposal for Western Oregon BLM lands would effectively privatize 1.5 million acres of federal public forestlands in western Oregon now managed by the Bureau of Land Management. As federal public forestlands, a variety of environmental protection standards now apply to these lands. If they were effectively to become private timberlands, the the lands would be primarily managed pursuant to the Oregon Forest Practices Act (OFPA).
OFPA is an appalling statute that protects industrial landowners at the expense of clean water, wildlife habitat and scenery.
There are significant differences between private industrial timber lands and federal public forest lands. Private timber lands are generally managed for timber production, with short rotation clear- cutting the dominant practice. Public lands are managed to provide clean water, fish and wildlife habitat, recreation, as well as timber production – mostly through selective thinning practices.
Federal laws like the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act apply to both public and private land, though differently. The burden of environmental protection is generally much higher on public land so that private land can be more intensively managed.
Private and state-owned forestlands in Oregon are managed according to the Oregon Forest Practices Act (OFPA) of 1971. The OFPA sets minimal guidelines for harvesting, reforestation, road construction and maintenance, slash disposal, chemical use, and stream, lake and wetland protection.
Numerous laws and policies apply to the management of federal public lands. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands are subject to the Federal Land Policy & Management Act (FLPMA) which requires comprehensive management plans, and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) which requires analysis of impacts, alternatives to a proposed action, and public input. In western Oregon these lands also fall under the guidelines of the Northwest Forest Plan, and the 1937 O&C Act.
If what are now federal public forestlands become effectively private industrial timberlands, the contributions these lands presently make toward the conservation of the Endangered Species Act-listed northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet and several stocks of Pacific salmon will have to be made up by increasing regulatory restriction on non-federal lands such as state forestlands and private timberlands.