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PostSat Feb 01, 2020 5:59 pm 
^ sure there is: institute a state income tax instead of the regressive sales tax upon which the state budget so heavily relies, and disproportionately hits those at the lower end of the socio-economic scale. but that would be too simple. wink.gif

"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."

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PostMon Aug 24, 2020 8:37 am 
On July 16, there was a summary judgment motion in Skagit County Superior Court that if granted, would have dismissed the timber case. The motion to dismiss was brought by the State (the defendants in the case). The judge sided with the plaintiffs (Skagit County, and a bunch of other entities that financially benefit from increased log cutting). So the law suit continues. I have the pleadings for this hearing if anyone cares about the detailed legal arguments being made on the case (hundreds of pages long).

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PostThu Apr 14, 2022 7:23 am 
DNR set to permanently preserve 10,000 acres of Western Washingtonís "most ecologically valuable forests" (DNR's words, that's slang for old growth). There are pdf maps in the links below where you can see the DNR forest lands that will now no longer be logged to pay for schools. The forest are limited to Whatcom, Thurston/Grays (parts of Capital Forest), and King County (near Preston). https://www.dnr.wa.gov/news/dnr-launches-first-nation-carbon-project-protecting-forests-and-creating-over-million-carbon WA to preserve 10,000 acres of trees to sell as carbon credits to polluters Save Washingtonís legacy forests to save ourselves

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PostSat Apr 16, 2022 7:39 am 
Thanks for posting the links, altasnob.
altasnob wrote:
"most ecologically valuable forests" (DNR's words, that's slang for old growth)
I don't think this has much to do with forests that have never been cut. Certainly the forest above Preston is not old growth. In fact, the definition of "old growth" they use is based upon "ecological value" (everything from the DNR goes in quote marks because of dubious validity, as described below), which has more to do with whether it was replanted as a monoculture or ignored after clearcutting, with the latter being "old growth" in this modern world. No, this is still all about money, which is why [from the Times article altasnob linked] "Peter Goldman, director and managing attorney of the nonprofit Washington Forest Law Center, called the reserve 'green lipstick on a pig.'Ē What they are going to do is find the most problematical state DNR lands - which means the ones that are most difficult to get logging profits from - and sell the carbon offset credits for more than the timber is worth. They will send in a few biologists to write up reports extolling the ecological value of the spindly trees in the swamp high on the slope, as cover. AFAICT, for any lands other than the few tiny patches of true old growth that the state DNR was forced by federal law to protect because of the marbled murrelet, the entire state DNR "Habitat Conservation Program" is a big nothingburger. Check out this chapter of the HCP, where they "consider" alternatives to clearcutting: https://www.dnr.wa.gov/publications/lm_hcp_ch6.pdf If they find a spotted owl, they leave a tiny patch of forest. Then they come back later, the owls are gone of course, and "Rrrrrr" go the chainsaws. frown.gif

Between every two pines is a doorway to the new world. - John Muir

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PostWed Apr 27, 2022 12:47 pm 
altasnob wrote:
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 ďharmful and destructive.Ē The state of Oregon will be appealing the verdict so it remains to be seen if any money transfer will actually occur.
Oregon Court of Appeals overturns $1.1 billion verdict against state over management of forests

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PostFri Jul 08, 2022 3:04 pm 
Pro-logging Oregon counties ask Oregon Supreme Court to reimpose $1.1 billion verdict against the state. https://www.oregonlive.com/politics/2022/07/counties-ask-oregon-supreme-court-to-reinstate-11-billion-timber-verdict-against-the-state.html

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PostTue Jul 19, 2022 6:56 pm 
WA schools chief wants to sever connection between timber sales, K-12 construction
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State revenue from logging public land would no longer be used for building and remodeling schools in urban areas under a new set of recommendations from Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal. Instead, the money generated by timber sales and leasing on public school trust lands would go toward school construction in rural districts and be used for sustaining healthy forests. Part of the issue, Reykdal said, is that dollars generated in rural communities are largely spent in more urban areas. ďWhen we calculate where all of itís coming from, county by county, and where it is spent, you see enormous differences Ö the money from this trust is disproportionately going to urban communities even though the revenue and the timber is generated in rural communities,Ē he said. Reykdal suggested the legislature earmark some of the Common School Trust revenue for maintaining healthy forests through things like fire mitigation, disease prevention and tree planting.

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PostThu Jul 21, 2022 11:03 am 
Yep, the WA Supreme Court ruled against Conservation Northwest. Their argument seemed like a long shot. Had they won, DNR would have to stop cutting down the trees because that benefits ALL Washingtonians. Still need the WA Supreme Court to rule on the lawsuit brought by rural Washington Counties saying DNR has to pay them billions of dollars for years of not cutting down enough trees. A similar lawsuit is making its way through the court system in Oregon (see above).

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PostThu Jul 21, 2022 12:27 pm 
I have a lot of mixed feelings about this issue. Yeah, we need lumber. Is that the highest and best use of state lands now, in the 21st century? Conservation NW et al believe it isn't. And maybe so. The "Enabling Act" that catsp referred to above, is a 19th century law, when the state had something like 3M acres of pretty nice timber and was more oriented toward extractive industries than now. It might be time for the state to find another, better and more dependable source of revenue for education than stumpage fees. Considering climate change issues, maintaining water quality, biodiversity and whatnot, it might be better to do something like devise an ongoing reforestation and state lands maintenance program that does more than we do now to rehabilitate logged acreage, maintain forest roads for recreation, and any number of other land maintenance (including an accommodation for fire suppression) that would create jobs for rural communities affected by logging cutbacks. To get people behind a plan, you have to do better than have "losers". This is why Joe Manchin digs his heels in re anything to do with carbon emissions control. He's defending all the coal miners in his state - nobody's offered them anything better that's dependable, even if their days are numbered anyway. Conservation NW and its allies might do better coming up with productive land use ideas, as well as working with legislators and NGOs to come up with some ideas and plans for how to replace the state revenue lost from not logging, so that the net financial effect is zero or an improvement. Their answer to everything is to sue. I want to see better than that. Over the last 50 years, especially the last 25, "Environmentalism" has probably lost more to the regulatory process than it's won. That's what the regulatory process was designed for; to regulate the amt of destruction that's allowed.

"There are yahoos out there. Itís why we canít have nice things." - Tom Mahood
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PostThu Jul 21, 2022 12:48 pm 
Anne Elk wrote:
It might be time for the state to find another, better and more dependable source of revenue for education than stumpage fees.
Per Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal, in 2021, timber sales made up just .7% of total construction expenditures for schools. In other words, we already DO fund our schools by means other than cutting trees. The DNR timber revenue that everyone is fighting about is such a drop in the bucket.
Anne Elk wrote:
Conservation NW and its allies might do better coming up with productive land use ideas, as well as working with legislators and NGOs to come up with some ideas and plans for how to replace the state revenue lost from not logging, so that the net financial effect is zero or an improvement. Their answer to everything is to sue.
Conservation NW only sued on this issue after rural counties and cities, like Skagit and Forks, FIRST sued the state saying the state and DNR has to pay them billions of dollars because DNR hasn't been cutting down the trees fast enough. It was a counter argument to the arguments made by the rural counties. And Conservation NW is coming up with productive land use ideas with the legislature and government (see Chris Reykdal's proposal above). I think this was a creative lawsuit brought by Conservation NW. They basically were arguing that we have all been reading the enabling statute wrong for the last 100 years. If the Washington Supreme Court was as willing to pull things out of their ass to fulfill their own personal ideals as the US Supreme Court, Conservation NW probably would have won.

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PostThu Jul 21, 2022 12:56 pm 
^^^ Yeah, I forgot about that 0.7% figure, which I'd read in the STimes article. It was also mentioned (possibly in a reader comment) that small rural towns pretty regularly vote down local tax increases for funding their schools. Understandable, I suppose, given the limited incomes in such places. That's why they cry about not cutting enough trees. Do we need a more equitable distribution of state school spending based on the median income of the districts?

"There are yahoos out there. Itís why we canít have nice things." - Tom Mahood
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PostFri Jul 22, 2022 5:58 am 
In my comments above, I had only read the first part of the court's decision, where the court summarizes their ruling and the court did rule against Conservation NW (ruling that DNR does not HAVE to stop cutting trees). But after reading the Seattle Times' summary this morning, it appears the environmentalist are billing the ruling as a "lost the battle, but won the war" decision. This is because the court said DNR is permitted to stop cutting trees, and manage the forests for purposes other than revenue generation, if DNR wants to. Not that DNR has to, but that DNR can. This seems like a guarantee Skagit County, et. al, will be losing their lawsuit against the state asking for billions of dollars. DNR will use the Conservation NW decision to show that DNR can kind of do whatever they want, and neither environmentalist demanding the trees be preserved, or rural counties, demanding the trees be cut, can do anything about it. Bottom line, I think we are going to see a lot more trees left uncut in the more urban counties with DNR land. Places like Tiger Mountain, Capital Forest, and Green Mountain in Kitsap may see more preservation than they have in the past. DNR will focus their tree cutting in the rural counties who apparently want their forests mowed down.

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PostFri Jul 22, 2022 6:41 am 
Anne Elk wrote:
This is why Joe Manchin digs his heels in re anything to do with carbon emissions control. He's defending all the coal miners in his state
Since you brought up politics, I will point out that Joe Manchin is representing mine owners not mine workers. If he supported workers he would be advocating for their healthcare! Anne wrote: "Conservation NW and its allies might do better coming up with productive land use ideas" Their website is chock full of better ideas. Check it out. Anne wrote: "Over the last 50 years, especially the last 25, "Environmentalism" has probably lost more to the regulatory process than it's won." Haven't the slightest idea what this means. I donate annually to the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, OMG they have been devastatingly effective if your hobby was taking your Hummer up pristine canyons. Environmental activism is just like any other activism, there should be an expectation of losing most of the battles on the way to winning the war.

Between every two pines is a doorway to the new world. - John Muir
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PostFri Jul 22, 2022 1:50 pm 
Sculpin wrote:
Anne Elk wrote:
This is why Joe Manchin digs his heels in re anything to do with carbon emissions control. He's defending all the coal miners in his state
Since you brought up politics, I will point out that Joe Manchin is representing mine owners not mine workers. If he supported workers he would be advocating for their healthcare!
Well, sorry about that. Didn't mean to flout NWH rules of engagement. But it seems any environmental issue is inherently political, probably why so many of our threads in Stewardship invariably get shut down. But to your point about Manchin, I'd bet if the majority of WVa residents weren't pro-mining jobs and created a viable movement against all the downsides of coal mining, he'd have a hard time ignoring them.
Sculpin wrote:
Anne wrote: "Over the last 50 years, especially the last 25, "Environmentalism" has probably lost more to the regulatory process than it's won." Haven't the slightest idea what this means.
What it means is that the regulatory process, which is the framework within which all environmental lawsuits must operate, is designed to frustrate efforts to prevent environmental degradation: strategically, financially, and ultimately: I think of the regulatory process almost as "controlled incremental degradation". I refer you to one of the primers of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. One of its founders, environmental attorney Thomas Linzey, recognized the limitations of environmental litigating within the regulatory system. He tried to invent a better mousetrap, and decided to focus on community rights organizing. I highly recommend his series of videos explaining the basics of how we're hamstrung by our own laws, relative to corporations; it goes back even to our founding documents.

"There are yahoos out there. Itís why we canít have nice things." - Tom Mahood
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PostSat Jul 23, 2022 6:00 am 
Interesting take catsp. However, one problem is not all the "beneficiaries" think DNR should be cutting down more trees. If you ask the school boards in wealthy places like King County, who have great public schools and are well funding by sources other than cutting trees, they will say let the trees in Tiger Mountain stand. This is why Chris Reykdal is so right when he says we need different standards in different parts of the state. It makes no sense to cut down DNR trees at Tiger to fund public schools in Sammamish, one of the wealthiest cities in America with some of the best, most well funded, public schools in America.

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