Wyden Plan: No Old-Growth Logging

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Sen. Ron Wyden’s vision for stopping the bitter battles over logging on national forests in Oregon would ban the harvest of old growth trees and give the U.S. Forest Service incentives to focus on thinning instead of traditional timber production.

The Oregon Democrat’s chief of staff, Josh Kardon, showed off the latest draft of the legislation — in the works the past year — at the American Forest Resource Council annual meeting in Stevenson, Wash.

“We can argue about the fate of old growth for another decade and get nowhere, or we can take old growth off the table and more than double the harvest from Oregon forests for decades,” Kardon said in his speech to the timber industry group.

…Oregon Wild objected that the bill would not save enough old growth, because the age limits were too low, and would sidestep scientific review. “We got into this mess in part because the Bush administration tried to short-circuit scientific review,” said Steve Pedery, conservation director for Oregon Wild. “The solution is to plan good projects that don’t harm endangered species, water quality or old growth forests.”

The bill is likely to be introduced late this spring, Kardon said.