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Schroder
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PostSat Jan 04, 2020 5:10 pm 
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Environment groups, logging interests and communities across Washington sue over state’s plans to sell timber

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The flurry of lawsuits comes a month after DNR approved plans for reduced timber harvest on state lands and a long-term conservation plan for the marbled murrelet
...
DNR projects five decades of declining timber harvests on state-managed lands
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Randito
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PostSat Jan 04, 2020 9:20 pm 
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If everyone is suing -- that's a sign that the plan actually balances the various interests.
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MtnGoat
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PostMon Jan 06, 2020 2:39 pm 
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“We shouldn’t be using clear cuts to build classrooms,” Abraham said, adding that for rural communities, “there needs to be a new way to support them.”

Then carve money out of the existing budget to fund those places you claim need funding, don't just slam the mechanism and attempt to stop the existing funding while claiming someone else needs to fix the problem you're creating by opposing the timber use.

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altasnob
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PostMon Jan 06, 2020 3:05 pm 
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Skagit County is just copying what 14 rural counties did in Oregon recently. There, the total verdict for the 13 counties, against the state, was $1,065,919,400. However, this isn't a total windfall for the rural counties. A good chunk of the billion dollar verdict will go to the plaintiff's attorneys (a private law firm). And then, the state (which includes the 13 rural counties) will have to come up with the money to pay the verdict, which means everyone in the state (including the rural counties) loses out on funding. I read that when you do the math, a few of the rural counties that prevailed will actually lose money when it is all said and done. In fact, Clatsop County (Astoria), which has the greatest harvest volume from state forests (so they would have been entitled to the largest portion of the verdict), opted out of the suit, which it considered “harmful and destructive.” The state of Oregon will be appealing the verdict so it remains to be seen if any money transfer will actually occur.
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PostMon Jan 06, 2020 3:54 pm 
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altasnob wrote:
"...the state (which includes the 13 rural counties) will have to come up with the money to pay the verdict, which means everyone in the state (including the rural counties) loses out on funding...."

^ Which in and of itself is a valid reason for not supporting these so-called "environmental" activist groups which, in the end, cost the taxpayers millions of dollars in the legal fees on which their very existence depends.

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PostMon Jan 06, 2020 4:21 pm 
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Yes, you can make the argument that the environmental groups who have chosen to sue cost all Washington taxpayers money but my point is Skagit County is the one who started this fight. If they look to the Oregon case, are they really sure that it is going to pay off for them? Skagit County will have to use their own prosecuting attorneys time to litigate this lawsuit, and will likely have to retain outside counsel and hire expert witnesses. If they win, will they really get any money out of this? Clatsop County realized it was not worth the litigation expense to pursue in the Oregon case. Any county in Washington with state timber lands (like King, Thurston, Kitsap) could join in with Skagit but they have not. Likely because they realize it is not worth the litigation costs and also because they like the state timber lands to remain forests and not clear cuts. If you live in Skagit, and want state forests to remain forests, and believe your prosecuting attorney has better things to worry about that suing DNR, call your prosecutor/county commissioners and tell them this.
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MtnGoat
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PostMon Jan 06, 2020 4:29 pm 
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State forests can be turned back into forests in a few decades, pretty much like any other crop, given proper management. Yes, trees have longer cycle time.

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PostMon Jan 06, 2020 6:47 pm 
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altasnob wrote:
"...Skagit County is the one who started this fight...".

I don't live in Skagit County.

More importantly, I have other fish to fry, and I have to choose my battles carefully.

Looks to me on the surface of just yet another example of how completely disconnected from reality both the "environmental" activist groups and elected public officials have become.

In a perfect world, people who are elected as decision makers would be able to see past the ends of their own noses.

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Anne Elk
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PostMon Jan 06, 2020 10:38 pm 
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From the article: 
Evan Bush wrote:
... an environmental coalition, including the Washington Environmental Council, the Olympic Forest Coalition, Conservation Northwest and several individuals, filed a separate lawsuit Thursday in King County Superior Court, saying DNR’s management of timber lands does not adequately serve local communities or the public schools that benefit from timber sales.

That has to be the first time I've heard of enviro groups suing b/c the state is cutting back on timber harvests.  uhh.gif  I agree with what the guy from the WA Environmental Council said:
Nick Abraham wrote:
“The fundamental system for how we’re supposed to be funding these communities is broken...Healthy forests can benefit water quality, mitigate climate change as sinks for carbon and reduce landslide risk, along with other environmental benefits.

Using stumpage fees to pay for education and other needs of rural communities is so 20th, if not 19th century, no?  What's the biggest state industry now that should take its place for getting these funds? Probably tech. We could tax silicon, except most of it's probably manufactured overseas.  But you get my drift...the state should start shifting revenue sources, and also assist communities still dependent on timber in shifting their focus.

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treeswarper
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PostMon Jan 06, 2020 10:41 pm 
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Ski wrote:
altasnob wrote:
"...the state (which includes the 13 rural counties) will have to come up with the money to pay the verdict, which means everyone in the state (including the rural counties) loses out on funding...."

^ Which in and of itself is a valid reason for not supporting these so-called "environmental" activist groups which, in the end, cost the taxpayers millions of dollars in the legal fees on which their very existence depends.

I was under the impression that the lawsuit was brought about by the counties, not the enviros and the point was that the state had decreased the volume/cut coming off state forests so the counties were not receiving their share of that revenue.  No enviros directly involved.  One government entity suing another where they all will pay.

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treeswarper
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PostMon Jan 06, 2020 10:45 pm 
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Nobody wants to pay taxes.  Everybody wants funding  done "somehow".

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PostTue Jan 07, 2020 8:33 am 
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Anne Elk wrote:
Using stumpage fees to pay for education and other needs of rural communities is so 20th, if not 19th century, no?

up.gif

Exactly right.  The decision to funnel timber revenue directly to schools was prescient.  By that I mean that it was intended to create this dilemma at this point in time.

State forest lands are extremely degraded by overcutting and overgrazing.  We can fund schools the same way Oklahoma does, only our state has much more wealth so we can do it better.  This is not that hard.

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treeswarper
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PostTue Jan 07, 2020 9:01 am 
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Using state timber to help education is The Law in our state.  We have areas where timber grows like weeds.  We have strict forest practice laws.  There is nothing wrong with this.  Nothing.  I'd guess that most has been logged at least once, replanted and designed for more entries.  Roads are in, landings in, plantations in and needing  thinning.  It's called forestry and we've proven it is sustainable. 

The flaw I see is that when stumpage prices drop, so does the funding provided.  But then, when prices go up, the reverse is true. 

Please tell me your plan to replace this source of funding.   If you rent, I assume your landlord will raise your rent when property taxes go up.  Are you comfortable with that?  Who wants to be taxed more?  Raise your hand.

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altasnob
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PostTue Jan 07, 2020 9:40 am 
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The Skagit case is Skagit Superior Court 19-2-01469-29. It was only last year that Skagit County was trying to get DNR to cut down all the trees around Oyster Dome. It took a legislative act to prevent this. Imagine how upset King County residents would be if their prosecuting attorney/county sued Department of Natural Resources (DNR) because they contend DNR was not logging trees fast enough at Tiger Mountain (state owned timber land, just like the land at issue in the Skagit case).

And Ski, if, for example, King County sued DNR for not logging Tiger Mtn fast enough, do I not get a say living in Tacoma even though I live just as close to Tiger Mtn in Tacoma as I did when I live in Seattle? In the Oregon case, the plaintiff's venued shop to get a favorable venue for their case, even though logging of state land effects everyone in the state. Now it is up to a Skagit County jury to decide how fast to log state lands in Skagit County even though plenty of people outside of Skagit County recreate on those state lands.

I am disappointed Skagit County has chosen to do this. I doubt it will hep their school district any in the longterm as logging state lands could reduce recreation and tourist revenue in the county (those tulip photos don't look quite as good with clear cuts in the background). And it is not like Sakgit County is some poor impoverished rural county whose entire economy relies on logging. Skagit County has the eleventh highest per capita income of Washington counties, higher than Whatcom and Spokane counties. I think people who live outside of Skagit County should have a say in what is done with state lands inside Skagit County but obviously those who live in Skagit County would have better sway contacting their local, elected, county prosecutor and county commissioner and ask that this lawsuit be dismissed.
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Anne Elk
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PostTue Jan 07, 2020 9:42 am 
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Treeswarper- I think most are aware that stumpage fees are baked into state law.  My understanding of the article is that part of the current kafuffle is over larger, perhaps even some never-cut state lands. Given how little we have left of that,  I'm ok with shifting the burden to other corporate revenue sources.

Discussing where probably would take the discussion too far into the political.  As it is, I already had my first slip - in the MF Snoqualmie  thread, so best we not go there.  WA has been rated as having the most regressive tax system in the country, so it's problematic no matter what.

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