While Bush and Cheney (it seems especially Cheney) are gearing up for war with Iran, folks in this lame duck Administration are trying gin up the timber wars of the early to mid-1990s.

This should be a settled matter, especially because the whole thing was not really about the spotted owl but the conservation of irreplaceable “old growth” or “ancient” forests. It is a settled matter.

Nevertheless, the BLM wants to greatly increase logging in Oregon old growth forests even as the market slumps.

I’ll bet this has a lot to do with the ascension of Jim Caswell to the post of BLM director.  Before he became an aide to Idaho governor, now Secretary of Interior, Dirk Kempthorne, Caswell was supervisor the Clearwater National Forest, and earlier, the Targhee National Forest in Eastern Idaho.

I remember him well on the Targhee. He was responsible, I believe, for making the transition from the massive salvage logging of bug-killed trees on the Targhee to sustainable logging of the new green trees unnecessarily abrupt, hard on people, divisive.  His ways don’t change.

Story in the New York Times.  New Battle of Logging vs. Spotted Owls Looms in West. By Felicity Barringer.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

One Response to New Battle of Logging vs. Spotted Owls Looms in West

  1. avatar jimbob says:

    Not surprising at all given the perspective of the Bush Administration. Here in central Arizona, in the midst of a 15 year drought, cows are being put on the many mostly bare mountain ranges, including the many which were completely burned off as little as two years ago! Any good rancher wouldn’t even try to graze cows on land like that (dry and barren, still recovering from a fire) but for the government to allow grazing there is even more of a sin!

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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