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For Immediate Release, August 28, 2013

Contact:  Randi Spivak, (310) 779-4894

20 Groups Call on Congress to Protect Oregon Wildlife, Water From Clearcuts

PORTLAND, Ore.— A coalition of local, state and national conservation organizations sent a letter to Oregon’s congressional delegation and governor today opposing a return to clearcut logging and weakening of environmental safeguards on publicly owned “O&C” lands in western Oregon.

The groups, representing millions of members in Oregon and across the country, are also running full-page ads in The Oregonian on Thursday, Aug. 29 and Monday, Sept. 2 urging elected officials to protect clean drinking water, salmon, wildlife, and Oregon’s important tourism and recreation economy.

Reps. Peter DeFazio (D.-Ore.), Kurt Schrader (D.-Ore.) and Greg Walden (R.-Ore.) have proposed to effectively privatize 1.5 million acres of public land in western Oregon, turning it over to a private logging “trust” to be managed under the Oregon Forest Practices Act, where clearcutting is rampant. U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D.-Ore.) is currently developing his own plan for expanded logging of public lands in the western part of the state.

Today’s letter urges Oregon leaders not to allow bedrock environmental laws to be weakened.

“If we lose these protections we run the risk of damaging some of Oregon’s most special places,” the letter says.

The letter can be read online; full text is below. An electronic version of the ad can be seen here.

An open letter to Oregon’s Congressional delegation and governor

Defend Clean Drinking Water, Older Forests and Fish and Wildlife on Oregon’s O&C Lands

To the Honorable Ron Wyden, Jeff Merkley, Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer, Greg Walden, Kurt Schrader, Suzanne Bonamici, and John Kitzhaber:

The undersigned organizations — representing millions of members in Oregon and across the country — urge you to defend clean drinking water, older forests, fish and wildlife, outdoor recreation opportunities, and the future of Oregon’s economy by protecting our publicly owned federal forests on O&C lands in Western Oregon from increased clearcut logging.

Federal lands in Oregon — national forests, Bureau of Land Management, O&C and public domain lands — are all an important part of our natural heritage, provide clean drinking water, and are essential to maintaining our quality of life. These lands provide the amenities that attract new residents, industries, investment, and jobs to the state and are the engine that powers our tourism and recreation industry.

As you seek solutions for the management of Oregon’s O&C lands we urge you to preserve the protections that currently exist for Oregon’s public lands to ensure adequate conservation for these forests and the rivers that flow through them. Our nation’s bedrock environmental laws that protect clean drinking water, imperiled species and public participation — the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, and National Environmental Policy Act — must not be undermined by efforts to guarantee new higher logging levels or streamline review of logging impacts.

In addition, scientists agree that the goals and strategies of the Northwest Forest Plan have improved water quality for drinking water, stabilized some endangered runs of wild salmon, and maintained healthy forests. These safeguards must continue to apply to our public lands. If we lose these protections we run the risk of damaging some of Oregon’s most special places.

It is a critical time for the fate of Oregon’s forests. We urge you to chart a course for the future and not repeat past mistakes. Please keep Oregon on the right path.

American Bird Conservancy
American Rivers
Cascadia Wildlands
Center for Biological Diversity
Coast Range Association
Conservation Northwest
Defenders of Wildlife
Environment America
Environment Oregon
Friends of Kalmiopsis
Oregon Wild
Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center
Larch Company
Pacific Rivers Council
Sierra Club
Soda Mountain Wilderness Council
Wild Salmon Center

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