The American Forest Resource Council today announced it has withdrawn its administrative action concerning the Friese Camp Forest Management Project on the Medford District of the Bureau of Land Management. No timber harvesting would have been stopped by the protest filed in late August. However, AFRC elected to withdraw its appeal, rather than have agency resources expended on a formal response.
“We made our point,” said Tom Partin, AFRC President. “We are confident that the BLM is now aware of AFRC’s concerns.”
“There is a huge problem facing BLM’s southern Oregon timber program right now,” Partin said. “Activist organizations have stopped no fewer than 25 BLM timber sales by appeals and litigation. Those sales contain over 90 million board feet of timber. Every million feet of timber supports 38 jobs. That’s almost 3,500 southern Oregonians who are suffering from underemployment at a very bad time in our state’s economy.”
All of the timber sales have already been through agency administrative processes, including reviews required by the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act.
“We have acted in good faith by withdrawing our protest,” Partin said. “We challenge those holding up the BLM sale program with appeals and litigation—Cascadia Wildlands, Center for Biological Diversity, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Oregon Wild and the others—to withdraw their appeals and litigation now. Our forests and our communities depend on our cooperation.”
AFRC’s action comes as Governor Kitzhaber announced he will appoint a panel to come up with a plan by December for increasing the harvest on the lands managed by BLM in southern Oregon. According to the Oregonian, when he made his announcement, Kitzhaber said increasing logging, including allowing modified clear-cuts, will produce jobs and revenue for counties struggling to provide basic services. AFRC is hopeful that the panel can succeed where so many efforts have failed.
The American Forest Resource Council represents forest product manufacturers and landowners throughout the west and is based in Portland, Oregon.