Excerpts: Approving the governor’s request would push the management plan’s final approval to the administration of President-elect Barack Obama. But that outcome may already have been assured by Kulongoski’s shrewd — and make no mistake, very intentional — decision to wait until the final day of his deadline for his response to the proposed logging plan. If the BLM rejects Kulongoski’s plea and formally approves its plan, the governor has 30 days to file an appeal with BLM officials in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, the agency must still respond to the estimated 200 groups and individuals that have filed objections to the plan.
…Instead of plodding ahead with an industry-driven plan that relies on clear-cutting and harvesting old growth, the BLM should have developed a state-of-the-art plan that emphasizes thinning the crowded stands of younger trees that are so abundant in Western Oregon. Such a strategy could have significantly increased timber production and generated federal payments for rural counties, while still meeting the ESA’s stringent habitat requirements and other federal environmental laws.