by Samantha Krop, Wild and Working Forest Campaign Manager
Forest conservation groups are raising the alarm in response to the Oregon Department of Forestry’s woefully inadequate plan to achieve the greenhouse gas reduction goals required in Governor Brown’s Executive Order 20-04 on Carbon Policy. The Executive Order calls on all of Oregon’s agencies to exercise any and all of their authority to assist in achieving a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and to helpimpacted and vulnerable communities adapt to climate change. Despite these clear directives, the Oregon Department of forestry has skirted their responsibilities and avoided taking a close look at the carbon impacts of clearcut logging—the largest climate polluting industry in the state of Oregon. Help us tell ODF to take their role in a just transition seriously and devise concrete steps for transitioning away from climate-polluting clearcut-plantation management and towards climate-smart forestry that optimizes carbon sequestration and long-term carbon stores in Oregon’s forests.
PLEASE WRITE THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY
Please demand that ODF take this EO seriously and begin an independent science-based process to reform Oregon’s forest practices to store carbon, protect water quality, and prevent air and water pollution. Clearcut logging and road building practices of the 1970s and 1980s don’t belong in Oregon anymore. Oregon’s forests can contribute to the state’s ambitious and much needed emissions reduction goals but only if they are managed to achieve that goal. They provide our state a unique opportunity to contribute to climate solutions, but only if we update how we approach forest management.
Please send the letter to the following emails:
Peter Daugherty: Peter.firstname.lastname@example.org
Board of Forestry: email@example.com
Please copy Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s Natural Resource Policy Director Jason Miner: firstname.lastname@example.org and Gov. Brown’s Climate and Energy Policy Advisor Kristen Sheeran: Kristen.email@example.com
Dear Forester Daugherty,
I am writing to express my deep concern over your initial report on the climate Executive Order (20-04). The report does not include any concrete steps that the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) will take to help avoid the worst climate impacts. Industrial forestry in Oregon, which your agency is obligated to regulate, has been the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions of any sector in the state. Please go back to the drawing board and produce concrete climate solutions by working with independent scientists.
The Executive Order is clear that your agency is charged with identifying ways in which you can contribute to Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHG) reduction goals. Your initial report fails to do so and instead relies mostly on symbolic actions that will have no meaningful effect on reducing emissions or reforming forestry practices by allowing ODF to continue business as usual. Please recommend science-based changes that will help increase carbon storage such as reducing clearcutting, lengthening the rotation time between harvest activities to allow trees to store more carbon, reducing road building, and promoting an incentive system for private forest owners to store more carbon in their forests. Moreover, your initial report lacks any timeline for a transparent process for public engagement. That stands in stark contrast to many of the other state agencies that are holding an open process for the public to engage ahead of their final reports in 2021. Please allow Oregonians a chance to engage in the creation of your report.
We need ODF to step up and help become part of the solution and not just contribute to the problem. Currently, industrial forestry is the largest contributor to climate pollution in the state. ODF has an important role in helping remedy climate change. I look forward to working with the agency on this effort.