Counties will sue BLM over new management plan

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Association of O&C Counties

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released its latest proposed management plan for 2.5 million acres of timberland in western Oregon. Tuesday, 17 Counties in western Oregon announced they would challenge the plan in federal court.

“We have no choice but to litigate, and we are on firm legal ground in doing so,” said Commissioner Tony Hyde of Columbia County. Commissioner Hyde is the President of the Association of O&C Counties (AOCC), which will lead the lawsuit. “The BLM refused to even consider revenues for Counties as an objective in developing its plan. There are many ways the BLM could have balanced jobs and revenues for vital County services while creating habitat for endangered species, providing clean water, recreational opportunities, and improving fire resiliency,” said Commissioner Hyde. “Once again, the federal government has failed the communities where these lands are located.”

The law governing management of the BLM lands states that all timberlands shall be managed for sustained yield production, with the revenues shared with Counties to help pay for public services. The law also mandates a minimum harvest each year of 500 million board feet. The BLM’s final plan violates both requirements, with more than 75% of the lands locked up in permanent reserves, and a projected harvest little more than half the required minimum.

The O&C lands were once in private ownership. After the lands were taken back by the federal government, they were set aside by congress to provide permanent sustainability of the communities they border. By law, the Counties receive 50 percent of the revenues generated from the sale of timber, and the revenue pays for all kinds of public services: mental and public health, sheriff patrols, jails, libraries, social and many other services. County budgets have been decimated in recent years and several counties are on a path to insolvency, increasing crime and poverty. The BLM lands are also intended to supply timber to support employment in local mills and manufacturing. Federal mismanagement has contributed to unemployment rates in some rural counties that are nearly double the unemployment rate in the Portland area.

The BLM has been planning almost continuously since 2003, at an expense of tens of millions of dollars. A plan proposed by the BLM in 2009 was shelved by the Obama administration, which opted to begin a whole new planning process that is just now concluding. “The Counties have been involved with the BLM from the beginning as formal “cooperating agencies.” As elected officials we did a lot of cooperating with the BLM, but unfortunately, the BLM did almost no cooperating with us,” said Commissioner Tim Freeman of Douglas County, Treasurer of AOCC. Multiple failings of the draft plan were the subject of extensive comments and positive suggestions the Counties provided to the BLM on August 20, 2015. “There is no indication the BLM took seriously any of our suggestions,” said Commissioner Freeman.

“Getting mired down in litigation is the last thing any of us wants to do,” said Simon Hare, Commissioner from Josephine County and Vice-President of AOCC. “The only alternative to litigation is for Congress to act. We have diligently sought a legislative solution, but our Congressional Delegation has not been able to agree on a solution,” said Commissioner Hare. “Now, it will be up to the courts to decide.”

“The last two decades of ineffective management by the BLM has to stop,” said Commissioner Hyde, President of AOCC. “To that end, the AOCC has retained the Stoel Rives law firm of Portland to carry out litigation on behalf of the Counties.”

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Posted by at 07:00 | Posted in Economy, Federal Government, Government Regulation, Natural Resources, Rural Oregon, Timber | 16 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • thevillageidiot

    But it satisfies the needs of the environmental activists. The general public does not count. The O&C lands are better off without any humane population anyway. So just move. Maybe the counties should be demanding relocation to special reservations much like the natives were treated where they can live under total authority of the government and then build large casinos as a source of income free from state taxation.

    • DavidAppell

      “The O&C lands are better off without any humane population anyway.”

      All lands are. All of them.

      • .

        Go buts to butts with Pheobe’s uniporn you horny ‘tard.

  • Bob Clark

    Lends some sympathy to the Malheur occupation of a few months back.

    • thevillageidiot

      not just sympathy but proves their point.

      similar things are happening in Washington. and remembering Malheur: From Capital Pressdated 1 April 2016: Riverside Washington, …Pine Creek rancher Gerald Scholz…Firefighters last August set backburns to stop wildfires that burned
      about 600,000 acres of Okanogan County (mostly BLM)…backburn got out of control and burned the private ranch land. no apologies no help. no law suit. no justice.
      no firefighters went to jail for arson.

    • Let Freedom Fling? Ha!

      Never forget or forfeit: Robert Lavoy Finicum, shot three times in the back by OSP triggered fingers, testosterone high on heaven hemp us, circuitous jerks.

  • DavidAppell

    “We have no choice but to litigate, and we are on firm legal ground in doing so,” said Commissioner Tony Hyde of Columbia County.”

    They could, of course, work hard to attrack businesses to their region. But that might require actual work on the part of civic employees.

    • WorthKnowing

      How do you know they are not, jerk?
      You don’t of course.
      You are a clueless ambusher.

      • DavidAppell

        I know because they are relying on playing the system, not doing the hard work of luring businesses there.

        I used to live in Columbia County. I understand why no one would want to move there.

        • WorthKnowing

          That’s hyperbole.
          You don’t know squat and are lying.
          That’s how you roll.

          You don’t know what they are doing and living there for some brief time qualifies you for no more than a visitor.

          • DavidAppell

            I lived in Columbia County, 2008-2011. I know what’s wrong with it.

          • WorthKnowing

            No, you have fallacious notions.
            Baseless assertions.

          • DavidAppell

            I left Columbia County when there were 3 shootings on my street in a month.

            Too bad. I was just the kind of resident they need to attract.

        • U tain’t St Helen’s, fallow

          ‘Live’, survive, thrive in Columbia County? Of the three, I’d say your family tree should have kept stayed from moving to Oregon you half avast spar for run out of gas donkey-shines .

      • guest

        Bolshevik monsewer!

        • Columbia River Wrapper

          Remark intended for David Appell-ate, snort!

          Frankly, this jackass tale, DA, be nothing butt bad derriere – and he should amalgamate with (D) Betsy Johnson, the best rep going for Columbia County, to wit by far leaps and bounds over such Portland creeps ilk Kate Brown and Tina Kotek.

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