In September, Rep. Peter DeFazio, the ranking member of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, saw the passage of the Oregon & California Trust Act. This bill effectively opens federally managed O&C Trust lands in the Cascades and Coastal Range for logging of up to 500 million board-feet per year, compared with 200 million board-feet annually harvested over the past few years through BLM-managed Oregon forests. The bill also establishes 90,000 acres of new wilderness, 130 miles of new Wild and Scenic river designations, and provides protection for more than 1.2 million acres of mature and old growth forests. The logging proceeds would generate an estimated $90 million for Oregon counties that are facing the long-anticipated cut of federal logging subsidies known as the Secure Rural Schools legislation. Proponents of the bill cite its continued federal funding and job creation. Opponents of the bill see it as a repeal of the Northwest Forest Plan, which aims for lower forest production and conservation. Here, Rep. DeFazio and Oregon Wild director, Sean Stevens debate the merits of the bill.
Click below to view each side.