Parts of rural Oregon are dying economically, because Bill Clinton, bowing to green extremists, put the interests of spotted owls ahead of the interests of American timber workers — even though we now know that spotted owls are suffering at the hands of a rival owl species, not timber operators. Here’s a chart that illustrates the spotted owl casualty count — the human casualties, that is. (And much more can be learned about Oregon’s Spotted Owl Recession here.)
And now that the federal timber payments have dried-up, and there’s not enough cutting to replenish the formerly-self-supporting fund, environmental groups say these hard-hit counties should simply raise their taxes, or tax what little timber cutting remains at higher levels – an idea that met with bipartisan rejection of Democratic Reps. Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader and Republican Rep. Greg Walden. “Their plan is simple and it won’t work,” they said in a joint statement. “They propose increasing property taxes in counties that are struggling with record unemployment. They propose nearly quadrupling the state tax on logging, diverting that money from the state’s general fund to pay the affected counties. Finally, they suggest transferring lands to the United States Forest Service which the Forest Service itself has said will not result in savings.”
The Statesman Journal editorial board also rejected the idea of what would amount to a spotted owl tax, saying that this is no time to be raising taxes on already-hard-hit communities and that an additional severance tax on lumber wouldn’t generate much, given the low level of harvesting already going on.
It’s clear that Greens would rather see Oregon timber counties remain on federal welfare (which is what the timber county payments now amount to) than to see a single tree in Oregon be cut for profit. And we now have a situation in which the federal government must come into Oregon and pay for tree removal – something that formerly generated revenue for the federal government and covered rural timber county payments. But the zero cut crowd isn’t stopping there: environmentalists also are trying to shut down what cutting there is on state lands, promising more hardship for places like Tillimook County, which gets 20 percent of its revenue from harvesting on state forests.
Gang Green is indifferent to the human suffering and economic consequences that result from all this. They care more about the spotted owl and the marbled murrelet than about another species on the brink: the endangered Oregon timber worker. This sort of mindless and heartless monkey-wrenching of the American economy is why we created this website.