MEDFORD, Ore. – A proposal that would ease restrictions of logging on federal lands is being met with praise by the timber industry and concern from environmental groups.
A plan by Reps. Peter Defazio, Kurt Scrhader, and Greg Walden would allow the use of logging on federally-owned “O&C lands”. The plan was supported by leaders of several Southern Oregon counties last week, who said it will create jobs and reduce wildfire danger.
Dave Schott, president of the Southern Oregon Timber Industries Association, said the move will put more people to work in the forests and at local mills.
“For every additional million feet you bring out of the national forest, you add nine to 11 direct jobs, and then additionally, another nine to 11 indirect jobs,” he said.
But some environmental groups worry the plan would lead to clearcutting, and damage to the region’s water quality.
“Water quality is important and clean drinking water is important to a lot of people,” said Joseph Vaile of the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center. “So we want to make sure that we’re not spoiling our clean water, we’re not putting roads in near streams.”
The plan is expected to be in the House of Representatives in September.