Global timber corporations are being allowed to exploit the U.S. Northwest like a Third World resource center, says forest consultant, claims log exports could cost 48,000 jobs between 2009 and 2011

Wendy Lisney

Wendy Lisney

Jun 9, 2011 – Forestweb

LOS ANGELES , June 9, 2011 () – Eugene, Oregon-based forest consultant and private timber broker Roy Keene claims that global timber corporations are being allowed to exploit the Northwest like a Third World resource center, and says log exports should be halted to restore the region's jobs and forests.

In a Guest Viewpoint published in The Register-Guard on June 8, Keene noted that Oregon Senator Peter DeFazio is campaigning to save timber jobs, saying an Obama administration budget cut will have a devastating impact on the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) ability to offer timber projects.

Keene wrote that DeFazio is circulating fliers claiming that reducing the amount of marketable timber the BLM is able to offer in fiscal year 2011 by 45 million board feet (mmbf) will cost 500-600 timber jobs.

Yet, according to Keene, at least 500 timber jobs leave the Northwest every week as "boatload after boatload of raw logs are exported to Asian mills."

He cites data from the U.S. Forest Service showing that 1,100 mmbf of logs were shipped out of the Northwest in 2010, up from 700 mmbf in 2009. In Q1 this year, 390 mmbf of logs were exported, more than double the 191 mmbf shipped in the same quarter last year, according to the data.

Keene suggests that if this accelerated export rate is applied through to the end of this year, the Northwest could lose 26,400 family wage jobs to Asia in 2011 based on DeFazio’s 12 timber jobs multiplier to every million board feet. In addition, 8,400 jobs were lost to exports in 2009, and 13,200 timber jobs were sent overseas in 2010, he says.

Over the three-year period to the end of 2011, this represents the potential total loss of 48,000 jobs, says Keene, adding: "not to mention 4 billion feet of timber ignominiously shipped out of our forests at a loss to soil stability, water quality, wildlife habitat, fish runs and quality of human life."

Keene also cites figures showing 500 mmbf of Oregon’s BLM timber was sold but uncut in 2010. This, he says, is in addition to nearly 400 mmbf of uncut state timber and 1,200 mmbf of sold and uncut Forest Service timber, a total of more than 2 billion board feet of uncut public timber held under contract in the Northwest.

The primary source of this article is a guest column by Eugene-based forest consultant and timber broker Roy Keene, published in The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, on June 8, 2011.

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