Thank You Governor Kulongoski for Opposing the BLM's WOPR
Thank YOU for contacting the Governor about the BLM's WOPR- now please do it again to thank HIM for opposing it!
After receiving thousands of postcards, emails and phone calls from Oregonians concerned about the drastic consequences to our forests that would occur under the BLM's WOPR (Western Oregon Plan Revision), Governor Kulongoski ended months of uncertainty with a strong press statement against the plan. His detailed statement addressed many of the substantive issues members of the public have been asking him to speak up about.
Well done and thank you to everyone who took the time to contact the governor!
Now we are asking you to do it again to say thank you. Click Here to contact his office.
Kulongoski is getting a lot of blowback from rural counties and conservative newspapers for opposing the plan, and his role in its future may not be over yet. If the BLM ignores his opposition and moves forward with the current plan, the governor has the right to appeal their decision, possibly delaying its implementation until the Obama Administration has taken power.
So, please take a moment and contact the governor to express your appreciation that he took a stand for the health of Oregon's forest ecosystems and ask him to stay strong as forces rally to get him to back down.
Further WOPR updates and background is provided below:
What can stop the Whopper?
Avid KS Wild News readers are familiar with the infamous Western Oregon Plan Revisions (WOPR, say “Whopper”) - a scheme generated from a backroom deal between the Bush Administration and the timber industry. While the WOPR looks likely to be headed into a lengthy court battle between the timber industry and conservationists, there is hope that the incoming Obama Administration could change course and direct federal agencies to toss the WOPR in the trash and start with plan to protect and restore western Oregon’s federal forests.
The WOPR would ramp-up clearcutting and diminish stream protections across 2.6 million acres of western Oregon’s public forests, negatively impacting water quality, salmon and wildlife. By cutting mature and old-growth forests that store carbon, the WOPR would result in millions of tons of more carbon in the atmosphere, exacerbating the effects of an unknown climatic future. Climate change is an issue that Obama intends to tackle, and the President-elect has pledged to focus federal agencies on thinning projects for fire safety, not on backcountry logging like that advocated in WOPR.KS Wild’s Keeps Public in Public Lands
In a rush to finalize WOPR before Obama takes office, BLM cut short the plan revision process by prohibiting administrative protests. In immediate response to the November announcement, KS Wild sued BLM for cutting the public out of the process. Knowing it acted illegally, BLM reversed course just days after our suit and allowed administrative protests. Thanks to stellar attorney Kristen Boyles and her team at Earthjustice, who skillfully represented KS Wild and allies in WOPR litigation.Timber Industry Wants to Save the Owl?
An ironic twist in the WOPR saga has many heads scratching – timber companies recently sued over WOPR, arguing BLM should consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service regarding impacts of WOPR on the northern spotted owl. You may ask, as we did, “Since when does the timber industry work to protect the old-growth dependant owl?” Most agree that the only reason the timber companies filed suit was to set the legal venue and have all WOPR cases heard in the District of Columbia, where they believe they will fare better.Governor Joins the Masses
On December 8, Governor Kulongoski released his “consistency review” of the WOPR whereby he determined if the management plan is consistent with state laws and regulations, including the state’s mandate to implement the federal Clean Water Act. In his statement, the Governor asked that BLM not adopt its proposed forest management plan, citing numerous concerns including endangered species consultation, carbon sequestration, old-growth and clearcutting. While the Bush Administration is franticly trying to wrap up this revision before leaving office, the Governor’s response to the final draft puts some significant brakes on the runaway train, which will hopefully carry us into the next administration.
There is hope that Obama will change course on WOPR, but for now it is a race against the clock. If BLM finalizes WOPR before Obama takes office, it will be a lengthy, cumbersome process to undo the plan. Rest assured knowing KS Wild will not stop working on WOPR until WOPR is gone.
Thanks to everyone who has made phone calls, hosted presentations, wrote letters and spoke on behalf of old forests, clean water and wildlife habitat on western Oregon BLM forests. It is this type of momentum that encouraged the Governor and other decision-makers to look twice at the WOPR and stand with the masses to say this is simply not good enough. But we may still have a long legal battle ahead...stay tuned.