Fine-tuning Wyden's forest bill
To the editor:
Editor's Note: These are comments the letter writer planned to make during a public hearing last week regarding Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden's Eastside Forest Restoration, Old Growth Protection and Jobs Act, which the senator introduced in late 2009:
The purposes of this bill are admirable, but some additional tuning needs to be done for it to accomplish those purposes.
If forests along streams are allowed to grow without harvest of any
kind they will eventually become overcrowded. Growth rates of these
trees will nearly stop and they will become susceptible to bug kill,
followed by a stand-killing fire. The wildlife, wildlife habitat and
the economic resources will be destroyed. Then rain will wash the ashes
into the stream, killing the fish, not only within the area of the
fire, but also significantly downstream.
This economic and environmental disaster can be averted with a clause under "Environmental exception" on page 16, that states:
"Notwithstanding the size or proximity to water, any tree that is
stagnating in its growth because of old age, disease or insufficient
light, nutrients or water shall be removed to maintain forest health.
Any tree killed by fire, insects or disease shall be removed within six
months, and preferably within six weeks, while there is still value.
Burned over areas shall be replanted with seed on the snow during the
following winter and/or manual planting during the next early spring.
Funds derived from the removal of these fire and bug killed trees shall
first be utilized for replanting costs."
In section 11, a clause should be added requiring the development of
the necessary environmental documents to proceed with salvage logging
immediately after a fire or bug kill. In any court case filed to delay
a salvage operation of dead and dying trees, the plaintiff shall be
liable for the loss of value of the trees caused by the delay if the
case is found to be without merit. The judge shall be empowered to
require a bond to cover the loss of value prior to issuing an
injunction to delay the operation.
An additional issue is the reduction of roads. While the removal of
redundant roads may be beneficial, the maintenance of sufficient roads
to adequately manage the forest and for fire suppression is critical.
Suspicious of wind power claims
To the editor:
It is hard for the public to understand how the chairman of Baker
County Planning Commission is allowed to build a wind project in Baker
County while being a part of the planning and land use requirements for
your county. This appears to be a serious conflict of interest.
Wind farms have been proven to be inefficient causing environmental,
health, tourism and property value issues. As a result wind farms are a
dying source of power which goes out of state.
To allow for a three-year tax exempt status by the county is a very
poor program since there is a good chance that this wind farm will be
dysfunctional in three years as a result there will be no benefit to
The developer claims the wind project will power 800 homes is again
false and misleading since as Elkhorn has proven it generates power at
best 29 percent of the time as a result the Lime Wind Project will at
best generate enough power for 230 houses part of the time.
Not only is wind power highly subsidized, but additional CO2 emissions
are being generated with all the backup power plants being put into
spinning reserve when the wind is blowing. The very few long-term jobs
are costing the taxpayer millions per job, and for every green job, 2.2
regular jobs are lost.
In addition the price of the power being quoted of 7.2-10 cents per
kilowatt-hour is far above what is currently being charged by OTEC.
The Baker County people need to ask does the county have a
decommissioning policy since these wind towers may be abandoned as
rusting dysfunctional junk.
Join the Friends of the Grande Ronde Valley Conserve 3 percent program,
and we do not need any more power, wind or otherwise. Go to our
website, www.fgrv.org, for details.
Dennis Wilkinson, Chairman
Friends of the Grande Ronde Valley