The Clatsop County Commission's decision to ask the Astoria district forester to reevaluate the plan to clearcut Norriston Heights, 70 acres near the Hug Point State Park, is praiseworthy. Not only is there danger of erosion and landslides on portions of the parcel, it is adjacent to a grove containing the state’s largest cedar tree, and is the watershed for local communities whose wells are fed by runoff from the proposed clearcut.
Commissioner Mark Kujala opposed the decision, saying “I think you can have forest management and … healthy watersheds” (“County commission weighs in on timber sale,” The Astorian, July 19). The statement is meaningless in light of the current Oregon Forest Practices Act, which allowed years of Oregon coastal stream pollution, caused by logging, that ultimately cost Oregon over $1 million in federal grants.
Apparently Oregon Department of Forestry chief forester, Peter Daugherty, didn’t get the memo about the lost grant money, or the community uprising over water pollution in Rockaway Beach, which had 90 percent of its watershed clearcut in the past decade. In legislative committee earlier this year, Daugherty stated that the Oregon Forest Practices Act provided adequate water protection.
Think twice about Commissioner Kujala’s other comment that the ODF “has had their process,” implying the process guarantees the environmental impact of the Norriston Heights clearcut has been fully vetted. Remember, ODF relies on selling timber rights on our public lands for a significant portion of their funding. Until that situation is changed, how can they objectively evaluate the impact of their timber sales?