Sierra Club spurns County Commissioner, forest talks

Below is a great article from Blue Mountain Eagle News in Grant County Oregon. It is about the local Sierra Club representative saying it is a waste of his time to meet with the County Commissioner and forest representatives. We feature pieces of it, but for the full article we encourage you to go here.

Thorn Salvage Meeting Worth Our Time
By Boyd Britton
Grant County Commissioner
Wednesday, August 15, 2007

As a county commissioner, from time to time I’m asked to put together meetings of concerned parties on various issues. A couple of weeks ago I was asked to put together a meeting of the people and organizations that provided comments on the draft EIS of the proposed Thorn Salvage project.

I contacted the environmental community spokespersons, the industry representatives, and the public who submitted comments. The Forest Service compiled the pertinent information, maps and materials. The meeting was tentatively set for Aug. 7; however the Sierra Club representative, Asante Riverwind, let me know that the date was difficult for him and that Aug. 10 would work better. I rescheduled the meeting to accommodate him.

The purpose of the meeting was to address some of Mr. Riverwind’s concerns. I had hoped that with this meeting, the County Court, concerned citizens, the timber industry and the Forest Service could resolve or mitigate his issues. However, while at our weekly court meeting on Aug. 8, my office received a call from Mr. Riverwind stating that he would not be attending the meeting, that it would be a waste of his time.

During the last three years, many of us in the county have engaged in the collaboration process as laid out in Congressman Walden’s HFRA legislation. We had hoped that collaboration could take place on the Thorn salvage project. But Mr. Riverwind feels it is a waste of his time.

A major employer in Grant County has closed its doors for lack of timber and a declining lumber market. There will be many men and women and their families directly affected by this, but Mr. Riverwind feels that the meeting would be a waste of his time.

Bill Harrington of the Center for Human Development has reported that he and his staff are already dealing with depression and alcohol issues relating to the mill closure. Yet Mr. Riverwind thinks the meeting would be a waste of his time.

Several local businesses have experienced a reduction of work, and some of our local truck drivers have left our community to look for work. Yet Mr. Riverwind thinks the meeting would be a waste of his time.

Bob Houser, the CEO of the hospital is concerned that 45 families might lose their health insurance. Yet Mr. Riverwind feels that the meeting would be a waste of his time.

Mark Witty, principal of Grant Union High School, wonders if some of the new and tremendously qualified, enthusiastic educators that have come here to replace many of our retiring teachers will still have jobs in the face of declining enrollment and lack of timber-generated commerce. Yet Mr. Riverwind feels that the meeting would be a waste of his time.

Already this year, catastrophic wildfires have burned over 200,000 acres in our area. Our county has lost resources that in many cases will take generations to replace. Ranchers have lost permitted and private range and forest land, which could put family ranches on the auction block.

The opportunity to have an open and frank discussion about these issues was lost because Mr. Riverwind feels it would be a waste of his time.

…To finish reading the entire article go here to the original story.

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