Forum Index > Public Lands Stewardship > Trump Opens Spotted Owl Habitat in the PNW to Timber Harvesting
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timberghost
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PostFri Jan 22, 2021 2:31 pm 
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https://cei.org/opeds_articles/taxpayers-pay-the-federal-government-to-sue-itself/
pertains here
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brineal
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PostFri Jan 22, 2021 2:39 pm 
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Ski wrote:
brineal wrote:
Where in Washington are all these old growth logging units you keep referring to?  Where do we see any old growth logging in WA that scales?  DNR is cutting second and third growth; same with private industry.  Feds barely log anything as they get sued by the parasitic environmental groups who get payouts (of our tax dollars) for their attorneys fees when the Feds lose cases.

What private timber companies hold significant tracts of genuine old growth?  The condition you describe doesn't exist.

You speak in generalities which don't even reflect the realities of current forestry operations.

^ The perpetuation of a mythical bogeyman is the most effective way for the "parasitic environmental groups" to get monetary contributions from their membership and recruit new donors.

Not much to be gained by engaging in a discussion with people who refuse to deal in facts - kind of analogous to arguing with "Q-Anon" believers.

It's just sheer activism devoid of rationality, logic or basic facts.
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brineal
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PostFri Jan 22, 2021 2:43 pm 
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timberghost wrote:
https://cei.org/opeds_articles/taxpayers-pay-the-federal-government-to-sue-itself/
pertains here

Yep, exactly.  It's disgusting that do-gooders give donation money, either knowingly or unknowingly, to these leeches who only care about any given environmental issue insofar as they can sue and get paid.
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treeswarper
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PostFri Jan 22, 2021 2:53 pm 
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Yes, the perception of a threat will definitely increase the gifts to the usual suspects (enviro groups).

Bring out the video footage of the big old growth tree that was shown over and over and over ...again on the various TV news stations. 

And,  Down Woody Debris is not just limbs.  It is a specific size of log, which is determined by specialists to be LEFT ON THE GROUND where it falls..  The amount of logs left per acre may vary.  The size is usually large enough that some very fine, merch logs are left when trees with defect do not meet the size requirements.  To add to this DOWN WOODY DEBRIS AKA rat logs, in a skyline unit, the tail tree is often felled and left on the ground.  Hooktenders like doing that.  The same goes for the trees cut for guyline stumps.    All of this is determined in the PLANNING phase of a timber sale.  Then it is written into the contract.  This is not old growth.  I'd guess that every concern Altasnob can come up with has been addressed during planning by specialists. 

The tree with happy fallers standing in front of it was left where it was felled.  The fallers are happy, the rats are happy, the soil microbes are happy until the volcano erupts big time and it is once again buried under a thick layer of pumice--history and digging shows us that this is a frequent occurrence.

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Tom
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PostFri Jan 22, 2021 2:57 pm 
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Not sure I understand the issue with Judgment Funds.  Seems like they are a way for government agencies to cover legal costs without impacting their own budgets.  It they got rid of these funds the agencies would have to find another way to pay for those costs.  Either way taxpayers still pay for them.  Not sure where the double dip is?
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Ski
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PostFri Jan 22, 2021 2:58 pm 
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timberghost and brineal:

There is an old and rather lengthy thread which delves into the machinations of environmental activist groups using "The Equal Access to Justice Act" here:
http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7979717

Unfortunately, the multi-part investigative online article which was published in the Sacramento Bee is no longer online, but I believe that in perusing that thread you may be able to glean a fairly accurate picture of what's going on and why the hysterical scare tactics are employed by these groups.

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brineal
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PostFri Jan 22, 2021 3:03 pm 
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Tom wrote:
Not sure I understand the issue with Judgment Funds.  Seems like they are a way for government agencies to cover legal costs without impacting their own budgets.  It they got rid of these funds the agencies would have to find another way to pay for those costs.  Either way taxpayers still pay for them.  Not sure where the double dip is?

They are using "environmental advocacy" to fund their payrolls with government aka tax dollars.

It's a moneymaking scheme plain and simple.  They bank on finding some minutia or clerical errors etc. by the government to win suits.
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treeswarper
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PostFri Jan 22, 2021 3:09 pm 
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brineal wrote:
Tom wrote:
Not sure I understand the issue with Judgment Funds.  Seems like they are a way for government agencies to cover legal costs without impacting their own budgets.  It they got rid of these funds the agencies would have to find another way to pay for those costs.  Either way taxpayers still pay for them.  Not sure where the double dip is?

They are using "environmental advocacy" to fund their payrolls with government aka tax dollars.

It's a moneymaking scheme plain and simple.  They bank on finding some minutia or clerical errors etc. by the government to win suits.

It also creates the dilemma of doing a project that is good for the land vs doing a project that will avoid controversy.  Example--the miniscule size of huckleberry enhancement projects.

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Tom
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PostFri Jan 22, 2021 3:10 pm 
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Forgive me for trying to use logic to understand how Judgment Funds result in a double dip.  Sounds like the issue is that taxpayers pay to defend lawsuits against the government but I guess that doesn't sound as good as a double dip narrative.
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brineal
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PostFri Jan 22, 2021 3:21 pm 
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Tom wrote:
Forgive me for trying to use logic to understand how Judgment Funds result in a double dip.  Sounds like the issue is that taxpayers pay to defend lawsuits against the government but I guess that doesn't sound as good as a double dip narrative.

Call it what you want, your objection to the nomenclature is boring; if you are A-OK with subsidizing groups who are just looking to fund themselves with the money you send to Uncle Sam, then that is your prerogative.
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brineal
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PostFri Jan 22, 2021 3:24 pm 
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treeswarper wrote:
brineal wrote:
Tom wrote:
Not sure I understand the issue with Judgment Funds.  Seems like they are a way for government agencies to cover legal costs without impacting their own budgets.  It they got rid of these funds the agencies would have to find another way to pay for those costs.  Either way taxpayers still pay for them.  Not sure where the double dip is?

They are using "environmental advocacy" to fund their payrolls with government aka tax dollars.

It's a moneymaking scheme plain and simple.  They bank on finding some minutia or clerical errors etc. by the government to win suits.

It also creates the dilemma of doing a project that is good for the land vs doing a project that will avoid controversy.  Example--the miniscule size of huckleberry enhancement projects.

Creates a major non-motivation to do what's good in the event that some "environmentalist" will nitpick out an error or mistake on the part of the humans who work for the government and line their pockets with the payout.
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altasnob
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PostFri Jan 22, 2021 3:24 pm 
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brineal wrote:
Where in Washington are all these old growth logging units you keep referring to?

This entire thread is about the Fish and Wildlife Service abruptly increasing their proposal to eliminate 200,000 acres of spotted owl habitat in PNW National Forests to eliminating 3.4 million acres of habitat. In other words, they went from opening 200,000 acres of PNW National Forest to logging to 3.4 million acres to logging with no public comment. Yes, most of the 3.4 million acres has likely already been logged but my argument is that if you do not log this second growth forest again, it will eventually gain old growth characteristics.

And yes, fire, eruptions, floods, ect. naturally destroy forests but that does not mean mankind should give nature a helping hand. Fire, eruptions, and floods offer long term benefits to the forest ecosystem. Does logging give long term benefits to the forest ecosystem?

And yes, with the new president, this may all be moot. But rolling back Trump era environmental rules is not as easy as snapping one's finger, as articulated in the NY TImes this morning. Trump came within 40,000 votes in certain select states to winning. If he had won, the logging would have begun.
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altasnob
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PostFri Jan 22, 2021 3:27 pm 
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One of those no good greedy environmental lawyers wrote an opinion piece in the Seattle Times today:

The return of the spotted-owl wars?

By Susan Jane Brown, attorney and wildlands program director at the Western Environmental Law Center

Spanish philosopher George Santayana remarked, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Unfortunately, we tend to have short memories about difficult times in our history that divide our communities.

During “the timber wars,” also known as “the spotted-owl wars,” the period from roughly the late 1980s to the mid-2000s, loggers and environmentalists first fought over the listing of the diminutive northern spotted owl under the Endangered Species Act, and then over the management of the owl’s ancient forest habitat on public lands. Congress even suspended the application of environmental laws to timber harvest in the Northwest, forcing environmentalists to retreat to the forests we love, to occupy the canopies of trees older than our nation to prevent their felling to the ax.

But these measures could not forestall the inevitable court-ordered injunctions that followed what Washington District Court Judge William Dwyer called “a deliberate and systematic refusal … by higher authorities in the executive branch of government … to comply with the laws protecting wildlife.”

In 1994, President Bill Clinton brokered an uneasy truce by directing federal land and wildlife managers to work together on what would become the Northwest Forest Plan. This compromise left spotted-owl war combatants grumbling about broken promises and missed opportunities.

But since then, the spotted-owl wars have cooled. Many stakeholders have laid down their weapons of war and have chosen instead to sit around a table and collaborate on public forest management. These discussions have increased the pace, scale and quality of forest restoration in our region, resulting in not only improved forest health but also community socioeconomic resilience. Although much work remains, these efforts have reduced wildfire risk, improved wildlife habitat and increased water quality throughout the Pacific Northwest.

But now all that is likely to change.

In an overtly political decision, the Department of Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Jan. 13 stripped protections for the northern spotted owl from 3.4 million acres of federal forestlands. Career agency biologists have for years warned that the spotted owl — despite herculean efforts — continues to slide toward extinction. Fewer and fewer spotted owls are reproducing at sufficient rates to sustain the species, which is functionally extinct in the northern part of its range in Canada. The owl is also threatened by the legacy effects of past timber harvest, wildfire and its fierce competitor, the barred owl. Just weeks ago, the Fish and Wildlife Service determined that the spotted owl should be given more protection by uplisting it from threatened to endangered.

Eliminating 42% of spotted owl critical habitat results from a settlement between the timber industry and the Trump administration. In 2012, the industry challenged the Fish and Wildlife Service’s designation of roughly 9 million acres of critical habitat. That argument found a sympathetic ear in this lame-duck administration, which worked quickly in its final days to deliver yet another sweetheart settlement deal to a favored political ally.

We’ve been here before. The timber industry fought tooth and nail against listing the spotted owl in 1990, fought each and every critical habitat designation, unlawfully influenced the owl’s recovery plan in the mid-2000s, and inked another sweetheart settlement agreement with the second Bush administration to undermine Northwest Forest Plan protections. Each time, the courts were called in to direct federal forest management, and each time, the uncertainty created by these wild, political swings caused chaos in rural, timber-dependent communities and distracted from the real need for forest restoration.

So here we are again. Political actors are catering to the timber industry and its shortsighted focus on circumventing the best available science and environmental laws at the expense of the Pacific Northwest’s iconic northern spotted owl. We absolutely can, and do, have a sustainable timber industry and protections for wildlife where successful collaborative efforts have made that possible.

But reigniting the Spotted Owl Wars by callously eliminating habitat essential to preventing the owl’s extinction will make that good work next to impossible. This decision will upset the careful balance Northwesterners have struck between forest management and wildlife protection, forcing advocates, once again, to return to the courtroom for battle.

As American philosopher Yogi Berra said, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.”
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brineal
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PostFri Jan 22, 2021 3:30 pm 
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altasnob wrote:
brineal wrote:
Where in Washington are all these old growth logging units you keep referring to?

This entire thread is about the Fish and Wildlife Service abruptly increasing their proposal to eliminate 200,000 acres of spotted owl habitat in PNW National Forests to eliminating 3.4 million acres of habitat. In other words, they went from opening 200,000 acres of PNW National Forest to logging to 3.4 million acres to logging with no public comment. Yes, most of the 3.4 million acres has likely already been logged but my argument is that if you do not log this second growth forest again, it will eventually gain old growth characteristics.

And yes, fire, eruptions, floods, ect. naturally destroy forests but that does not mean mankind should give nature a helping hand. Fire, eruptions, and floods offer long term benefits to the forest ecosystem. Does logging give long term benefits to the forest ecosystem?

And yes, with the new president, this may all be moot. But rolling back Trump era environmental rules is not as easy as snapping one's finger. Trump came within 40,000 votes in certain select states to winning. If he had won, the logging would have began.

No, they removed protections which would allow the POSSIBILITY of logging in those areas.

There is plenty of forest to log which won't impact owls and won't impact soils or any of the other obfuscations that you attempt to throw out.

And regardless, the Feds won't be able to do it anyway because they get tied up in lawsuits  and basically throw up their hands and say forget it.  The process of trying to get any of it passed is not worth pursuing in many cases.

*edited by Tom to remove the #brainstem, I will not post hashtags which mean nothing because Tom said so.
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trestle
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PostFri Jan 22, 2021 3:33 pm 
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brineal wrote:
your objection to the nomenclature is boring; if you are A-OK with subsidizing groups who are just looking to fund themselves with the money you send to Uncle Sam, then that is your prerogative

Not that Tom needs anyone to defend him, but he is one that always seeks to understand.

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