Environmentalists and Timber Barons; It's like being Forced to Marry Your Rapist
As David ben Gurion said at the onset of the Nakba 65 years ago: "The old will die and the young will forget". The same could be said for the state of martial law under which we live today. We forget that the USA Patriot act is still in full force and we forget our lives are constrained on every side by this new government department, the Department of Homeland Security. In everything but name this amounts to martial law. Just another way in which language has been bent and reconfigured to serve a different agenda.
So it should come as no surprise to learn that the immigration reform measure the Senate began debating yesterday would create a national biometric database of virtually every adult in the U.S., in what privacy groups fear could be the first step to a ubiquitous national identification system.
Buried in the more than 800 pages of the bipartisan legislation (.pdf) is language mandating the creation of the innocuously-named “photo tool,” a massive federal database administered by the Department of Homeland Security and containing names, ages, Social Security numbers and photographs of everyone in the country with a driver’s license or other state-issued photo ID.
Employers would be obliged to look up every new hire in the database to verify that they match their photo.
This piece of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act is aimed at curbing employment of undocumented immigrants. But privacy advocates fear the inevitable mission creep, ending with the proof of self being required at polling places, to rent a house, buy a gun, open a bank account, acquire credit, board a plane or even attend a sporting event or log on the internet.
The shelf-life of a politician is ephemeral, a spark that soon turns to ashes. A forest is millions of years in the making, manages itself and is utterly and entirely self-sufficient – complex but not complicated, a fragile, massive mystery with too many variables to be subject to prediction or even probability.
Until the human race hits town…and then the forest dies. People are the worst plague earth’s forests have ever seen. The image of little white people in suits sitting in enormous buildings deciding how many 2 x 4’s can be fashioned from an ancient stand of Douglas firs, shading, huckleberries, ferns, Oregon grape, salal and countless species…
Last year, three Oregon congressmen — Reps. Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrader and Greg Walden — introduced legislation that proposed putting 1.5 million acres of O&C lands into a trust managed by the state for commercial logging and creating conservation set-asides on sensitive lands. But the bipartisan proposal remains stalled in the House, and it has drawn a skeptical response from Wyden, whose spokesman recently observed, “The U.S. Senate has no appetite for legislation that is going to sell off public lands and skirt environmental laws.”
Wyden’s reaction frustrated timber industry officials who support the DeFazio-Schrader-Walden plan as the best hope for restoring timber harvests. County officials had urged Wyden to support the House proposal, which they see as their best hope of restoring harvests and federal timber receipts.
Wyden is no newcomer to the forest management game. In 2009 he accomplished the seemingly impossible, bringing together environmentalists and timber companies to agree on an Eastern Oregon strategy intended to increase harvests, make forests healthier and reduce litigation.
But applying a similar approach to Western Oregon won’t be easy, as Wyden well knows. He originally intended his 2009 forest legislation to apply to public forests on both sides of the Cascades, but the complexities of dealing with the westside’s diverse ecosystems and environmental and timber interests prompted him to focus exclusively on eastside forests.
Skeptics abound on all sides of the debate. But they should hope that Wyden can once again make the impossible happen, this time on O&C lands. As chairman of the Senate committee with jurisdiction over forestry, Wyden is uniquely positioned to bring diverse interests to the table and forge a common strategy that protects old growth and imperiled wildlife while at the same time promoting sustainable logging and restoring timber revenues to counties.
You don’’t “”harvest” a forest, you harvest a tree farm.
You can’’t “manage” a forest; you manage a tree farm.
You can’t “restore a forest; once it’s gone it’s gone.
- Length: 15:32 minutes (14.22 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)