U.S. Rep. Brian Baird's recent self-serving guest editorial ("House bill could help forest recover," The Daily Astorian, May 17) sounded just like "Dr. Science," the old NPR character who always began his show by proclaiming himself to be an authority on science with the phrase, "I have a master's degree. In science!"

But of course, it's a fundamental rule in science that one's conclusions should be based on the data, not preconceptions, and are valid only until some new data says otherwise.

Baird's conclusions about salvage logging were firmly in place, and in fact, his and Greg Walden's preposterously named bill, HR4200, the "Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act," was already conceived, announced and being written before the Biscuit Fire ever occurred, let alone any study of it. Even now, he cites no study, no data at all, to support the concept of so-called "salvage logging," because there is none. Instead, he claims his theories are "well-known" facts, based on experience on private, state and tribal lands. Well, that's the opposite of science. And I say, OK, let's take a look at those private, state and tribal forests.

They're very easy to identify, because they're all already logged, which is why the logging companies and their shills, like Baird and Walden, are constantly trying to justify logging off the remaining acres of our publicly owned forests.

When the Oregon State University graduate student's study was published in a prestigious peer-reviewed journal, it was big news, precisely because its facts showed the exact opposite of Baird's and the loggers' preconceptions. Instead of giving Baird pause, or making him revisit his conclusions, he and Walden held a Congressional "hearing" in which he savagely attacked the graduate student's study, and he continues to nitpick it as "unscientific."

Basically, his argument is that if they go in and harvest all the unburned timber after a fire quickly enough, they won't damage the forest's regrowth, as the OSU study documented salvage logging does, because it won't have had time to reseed and regrow yet. Never mind that it might then never regrow. And I suppose by extension that if we just harvest all the trees before they can catch fire, we will have "scientifically" prevented forest fires.

Baird, quit harping about the tiny splinter that might exist in the eye of this grad student, and deal with the huge, fat, rich log that's in your own.




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