Oregon's Toxic Air and Poisoned Water

Oregon has a problem with toxic air and poisoned water.

You’ve probably seen the headlines about Portland’s air and lead in the drinking water of schools, but the problem goes beyond that. Rural Oregonians in the Coast Range and beyond have been dealing with issues like these for decades. It’s bad enough that the logging industry mars the landscape with endless clearcuts. It’s even worse that residents have to fight to stop drifting pesticides from contaminating their air and drinking water. While Oregon’s leaders have pledged action to help Portland residents, rural Oregonians are at risk of being left behind.

The 5th generation loggers and mill operators at Hyla Woods are the latest victims of drifting aerial spray, reporting a pesticide exposure they experienced on their forest-land as a helicopter sprayed a nearby clear-cut. Peter Hayes, former Board of Forestry member and owner of Hyla Woods is quoted in the story saying:

“I think we need to take a hard look at the current practice. Too often, it degrades the things we have in common: our air and water. Too often it has impact on other people’s lands. We need to take a solid look at it.”

At Oregon Wild, we couldn’t agree more! Unfortunately, the Oregon Legislature and Board of Forestry have been unable to reform our weak forest laws in recent years.As a first step in our efforts to reform state forest laws that allow aerial spraying of chemicals and intensive clearcutting, we've been testing the waters with ballot initiatives. As you might guess, King Clearcut has blocked reform at every turn - and, as expected, the timber industry is fighting us now. Lobbyists for Oregon’s clearcutting industry are challenging our efforts through the Oregon Supreme Court. Apparently they don’t like the idea of these practices being exposed to every Oregon voter in a voters pamphlet and would rather keep it in the dark.

Whether through ballot measures, legislation, or other means, rest assured we will continue to defend the values of Oregonians demanding a right to clean air and water. The deep pockets of the timber industry, and their army of lawyers and lobbyists won’t keep us from fighting for Oregon, but it is vital that you make your voice heard in Salem!

If you haven't already, tell Governor Kate Brown that it is time to reform Oregon’s harmful logging practice by signing our petition today!

Photo Credits: 
Doug Heiken, Tim Giraudier