Friday, February 04, 2005

Old Growth going down

In the biggest subsidized logging scheme in history the Bush Forest Service is about to trash pristine lands of the Siskiyou Wild River regions.

The Siskiyou Project is trying to save this important ecosystem.

Rolf Skar: A study completed by an independent economic firm in 2000 found that, like many rural areas in Oregon, communities surrounding the Siskiyou Wild Rivers area are in economic transition. For better or for worse, changing economics nationally and globally are shifting many economies that previously relied on resource extraction to economies that make use of natural resources in a different way. Tourism, recreation, and a quality of life based on a clean, healthy environment will be much a much more powerful engine for job creation and economic growth than old-fashioned logging. The study predicted that a protected Siskiyou Wild Rivers area could help aide that transition, and create many more jobs than would be displaced in the logging industry.

A more recent study has shown that the Biscuit logging project is sure to be a big money loser. Estimates range from 20 to 30 million or more wasted taxpayer dollars if the entire project is carried out. It is probably not a surprise to most to hear that the government, in this case the Forest Service, has used seriously flawed "fuzzy math" to help justify this massive logging project. The agency said they would sell trees from Biscuit at an average of $500 per thousand board feet of timber. Yet, even some of the so-called "economic emergency" logging sales they have offered for bid to private corporations have gone without a single bid. Most logging sales have been auctioned for a single, minimum bid price. To date, the average bid price is much lower - $76 per thousand board feet at my last calculation - than the government's questionable accounting promised. One sale sold for about $15 per thousand board feet. That is enough to fill a logging truck for $75. You can hardly get firewood that cheap!

No comments: