Green group tars Wyden bill as 'nightmare' for Oregon forests

A conservation group is calling a bill proposed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) a "nightmare for Oregon's forests."

Environment Oregon, a subsection of the larger Environment America, said Thursday that Wyden's bill would scale back key environmental protections for more than a million acres of Oregon's public forests to increase logging.

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The Oregon and California Land Grant Act of 2013, introduced by Wyden on Thursday, would speed up the process of environmental reviews of timber sales.

"This new foundation will more than double our timber harvest across 18 timber counties and ensure that harvest continues for years to come," Wyden said in a statement.
 
"It uses the best available science to mimic natural processes and create healthier, more diverse forests."

But Environment Oregon disagrees with the bill's premise and says the new review process will instead leave forests "at risk to reckless logging."

"We are happy to see the bill include conservation efforts like the creation of 87,000 miles of wilderness and protection for 165 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers," Rikki Seguin of Environment Oregon said in a statement. 

"However, the conservation benefits of this bill are far outweighed by increased development and industrial logging."