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Jul-17-2009 00:16printcomments

New Interior Secretary 'Clear-cuts' Bush Era WOPR (AUDIO)

Interior Department officials would not offer a timeline for a new forest plan, although they say they've already been to Oregon to look at recent and pending timber sales.

Logging truck
Salem-News.com

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - The Western Oregon Plan Revisions (WOPR) have become the latest Bush administration edict to be set aside by the new administration.

The forest management plan for more than 2.5 million acres was called "indefensible" and the science behind it "tainted and distorted by political pressure" in a Thursday news conference. The plan would have increased timber harvests on federal land in 16 Oregon counties.

Assistant Interior Secretary Tom Strickland says the current Northwest Forest Plan, which has been in effect since 1994, will continue until a new plan is developed, one that takes issues like climate change into account.

"We've learned a lot since the Northwest plan was put in place. I think there's been some developing consensus that has kicked in in the community, about what really is practical and can be logged, what is less-practical, and where there are values, both environmental and wildlife values, that we need to protect."

The WOPR had predicted four times the current amount of timber being harvested. Strickland calls that a "false promise" that the plan could not have delivered.

Peg Reagan with the Conservation Leaders Network works with county governments across the country. She's a former Curry County commissioner, who says she predicted the WOPR would not survive.

"I'm very happy - but it's not a surprise that the Obama administration saw the light. From the beginning of this WOPR process, I tried to let them know of the concerns that a lot of county commissioners have about the direction that they were taking with this."

The Interior Department says it won't completely throw out the work done for the WOPR, but will update it, with the latest science about resource conservation and climate change.

Interior Department officials would not offer a timeline for a new forest plan, although they say they've already been to Oregon to look at recent and pending timber sales.

Special thanks to Oregon News Service
Producer/Reporter: Chris Thomas

Click play below for the audio report...


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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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