HB4055 Privilege Tax

Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
7113 Griffin Lane
Jacksonville OR 97530-9342
February 1st 2022

Chair Nathanson and members of the House Revenue Committee:

I write as co-facilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now on behalf of the over 1600 rural Southern Oregonians who are SOCAN. Our mission is to promote awareness and understanding of the science of global warming and its climate change consequences and motivate individual and collective action to address the resulting climate crisis.

In the arena of Natural Resources, one issue that remains of considerable interest to us is forest management. This is because forests serve two roles in the greenhouse gas balance of our state:

  1. Forests assist us tremendously in our efforts to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere because even as they grow into old age, they continue to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This, of course, is how they grow, and the fact that they continue to grow tells us clearly that they are still trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; they don’t reach a magic age and then stop carbon sequestration! Not only do they continue sequestration, but they also maintain vast amount of carbon in their tissues. Harvesting these trees results in the release of some 80% of that carbon into the atmosphere in the short or medium terms via landfills. Studies on the carbon storage in wood products reveal but 19% is retained in the harvested wood products.
  2. When forests are logged and the timber processed, vast amounts of carbon are released into the atmosphere. These calculations suggest that logging in Oregon may result in more emissions than transportation, reported by the state DEQ as the largest emitter of regulated greenhouse gases in the state.

The implication of these calculations is that we should not treat our forests merely as sources of timber, we should value them also for the service they perform in carbon sequestration.

Granting timber corporations the privilege of extracting and profiting from the forests in our state without contributing some financial return to the state for doing so represents irrational policy. There are many aspects of our statewide forest management that require review in order to bring this sector in line with the reality of global warming and its climate change consequences. One way is that the state can impose on the timber industry some cost for the privilege of logging our forests is through this tax.

The Privilege tax imposes a mere 90 cents per 1,000 board feet after the first 25,000 board feet thus excluding the small forest owner not making a living from timber sale.

For these reasons, we urge extension of the Privilege tax.

Respectfully submitted

Alan Journet Ph.D.’
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now


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