We read Gov. Kate Brown’s essay in the New York Times “The West is on Fire: It’s Past Time to Act on Climate Change” early this month and wrote to her about the steps that Oregon could take to mitigate the problem. We did not receive a reply.
The article demonstrated a striking lack of courage in speaking about the most obvious contributor to climate change in Oregon, the logging industry. She did not mention solutions such as changing the Forest Practices Act and the National Forest Management Act to require more stringent regulations, such as eliminating the harvest of old growth forest, which offer the greatest carbon sequestration of any forest on Earth, or dealing with the huge backlog of needed thinning on both public and private forestlands.
The practice of cutting old growth or mature forest and replacing it with fire-prone plantations that are rarely thinned must stop. Burnt forests must be left standing for the most efficient regeneration, except along roadsides where there is a true danger, not the latest gambit justifying overharvest by ODOT, “danger trees,” by which all of the trees in the travel corridor are cut, living and dead, and even along un-used logging roads.
We were hoping for, and continue to hope for, a more truly environmentally aware governor who is interested in making the difficult choices for Oregon’s future, not mouthing platitudes and requesting that Congress do something to solve the problems that are in her power to mitigate.
Ernie and Marietta O’Byrne