EPA rulings on Non-point

Larry Caldwell larryc at teleport.com
Fri Jan 7 01:27:45 EST 2000


In article <B498EADD966893181 at 0.0.0.0>, further at inh.co.jp writes: 
 
> That act has gotten somewhat tougher over the years but the extent to
> which it actually does protect streams & etc. is a matter of much
> contention. There have been environmentalists around Oregon - since the
> 70's anyway, are you saying that they didn't influence the process?

Of course they did, but they were all FOREST INDUSTRY environmentalists, 
with some help from ODFW.  

> Actually the Feds did what timber interests and (Senators) Packwood and
> Hatfield wanted them to do - sell lots of public timber on very favorable
> terms (to the timber co.'s) and damn the environmental and fiscal
> consequences because the private lands had been overcut. 

Evidently you forgot that Hatfield was the senate co-sponsor of the ESA?  
The Reagan overcut was an attempt to jump-start the economy out of the 
Carter recession by mining natural resources.  Of course, that bankrupted 
many mills, since the wholesale price of lumber was driven so low.  
Oregon lost 12,000 mill jobs between 1980 and 1986, and unemployment was 
so bad the state lost 10% of its population during those same years.  Do 
you remember, "Will the last person out of Eugene please turn out the 
lights?"

Packwood was writing everyone a "tax cut".  Remember when you could 
deduct all your medical expenses, including insurance premiums?  You can 
thank Fast Fingers Bobby Boy for closing that little loophole.  Why 
anybody ever voted for that slime ball is beyond me, but he was wildly 
popular in Portland.  Hatfield was more responsible, appropriating money 
to relocate and retrain displaced forest workers and pushing to diversify 
the NW economy.  

> The remaining
> federal lands in
> the Northwest (O&C lands excepted) only *remained* federal because early
> timber barons didn't consider them worth the trouble to steal.

The timber barons would have been glad to tie the land up if they could 
have.  It's just that land not suited for farming wasn't worth much to 
the early settlers.  My grandfather once traded a team of horses for 160 
acres on the Siuslaw River.  When he went to examine the land he found it 
was worthless, since it had never been logged.  He was unable to find a 
buyer, so let it go for about $200 in unpaid property taxes.  He always 
said he came out even, because the horses were worthless too.

Back in those days, if you couldn't farm it the land was worthless.  You 
can't eat wood.  
  
> Yes, the Coast Range is unstable, but the incidence of landslides
> and turbidity is strongly associated with clearcutting and road building
> there and really anywhere you have a combination of steep ground and
> heavy rainfall. Do you seriously contend that this is not the case?
> Can you say "Mapleton District"? I knew you could. 

Landslides and turbidity are strongly associated with rain.  The land 
most likely to slide is newly logged land, followed by undisturbed old 
growth forest.  The land least likely to slide is ground that was logged 
about 20 years ago and is covered by young reprod.

One of the interesting things about the aftermath of the '96 and '97 
floods was that they did a careful survey of landslides.  They found that 
old growth forest slid much oftener than they had thought, because the 
trees hide the slides from the air.  When you get down on the ground and 
look, you find that the slopes are very active.

The EPA can try to ban all the turbidity it wants, but they may as well 
piss in the ocean.  West slope rivers and streams have never run clear in 
the winter, and they never will.  OTOH, they all run clear in the summer 
because it quits raining.

> Joe's not winning many points on charm here, but where do you get the idea
> he
> is not assuming responsibility for his own actions? I didn't get the
> impression he's cutting the Feds any slack. To the extent federal lands
> are "ours" then that's "our" problem. 

Joe makes sweeping accusations against industrial forestry, which is 
doing a very nice job of managing for wood production in the PNW.  
Smaller tract private land is sometimes managed very well and sometimes 
not managed at all.  

> Also, according to my understanding
> landowners do not "own" wildlife, air or (in general) water in a stream.
> Therefore, they are subject to some accountability of how their actions
> impact the above public interests, no?

I have no problem with that as long as ALL landowners are subject to some 
accountability.  Why should I have to maintain a 100' riparian zone when 
an urban developer can pave right over the same stream?  Why should I 
have to maintain cutthroat runs in my creek when they were wiped out in 
rivers like the Tualatin and Yamhill?  

I will cheerfully support any environmental regulation that applies to 
everyone equally.  However, when they build an interstate freeway along 
the river bank and dump the oil, grease and asbestos runoff directly into 
the river, I'm not going to lose any sleep about a little mud from my 
timber land.  It's just another case of, "I'm going to make you clean up 
my mess."

-- Larry




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