HB4106 SOCAN OPPOSES UNDERMINING THE HABITAT CONSERVATION PLAN

Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
alan@socan.eco
541-500-2331
February 18th 2024

 

Reference Bill Number HB4106

Chair Helm and members of the House Committee on Agriculture, Land Use, Natural Resources and Water:

I write as cofacilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now, an organization of some 2,000 Southern Oregonians who are concerned about the climate crisis and encourage state action to address it.  As rural and coastal Southern Oregonians, we live on the frontlines of the warming, reducing snowpack, heatwaves, drought and the increasing wildfire risk that these trends conspire to produce.  Because of this, we pay close attention to what is happening in Salem in terms of legislative proposals.

I write today to offer profound opposition to HB4106.

In its preamble of Whereas clauses, the authors of HB4106 indicate very clearly that their target is to undermine the Habitat Conservation Plan that was developed by a collaborative team of conservationists and timber representatives. ODF (undated) itself identifies the Habitat Conservation Plan thus: “Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) can serve as a holistic, proactive landscape-scale approach to achieving economic, environmental and social benefits while protecting federally listed threatened and endangered species” This statement seems quite parallel to that offered by the authors of HB4106 as they clearly try to justify undermining the HCP: “Whereas ecologically sustainable forest management is intended to provide a balance of social services, economic services and environmental ecosystem services.” Essentially, the goals of HB4106 and the HCP are quite compatible. Thus, there is absolutely no reason to establish a costly and time-consuming program that would undermine the HCP.

We are also well aware that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2018, 2023) has acknowledged that without a substantial investment in carbon sequestration in our natural and working lands, we will be unable to meet the climate goals established as essential if we are to avoid crossing thresholds that will lead to the destruction of life on our previous planet as we know it. Yet, the focus on timber harvest rather than sustainable forest management embodied in HB4106 would severely undermine efforts to promote carbon sequestration in our Oregon forestland.  It is abundantly clear, one would hope, that Oregon’s public forests are maintained and managed by ODF in trust for all Oregonians not just those who would generate short-term profit from harvesting the timber. Given that a large proportion of our forests are currently owned and managed by out-of-state Timber Investment Management Organizations and Real Estate Investment Trusts the goal of which is to maximize profits for shareholders rather than maintain healthy sustainable forests, we argue that focusing on timber harvest in the management of our forests is not in the best interests of the Oregonians that own our public forested land.

For these reasons, Southern Oregon Climate Action Now opposes HB4106 and encourages its rejection.

Respectfully Submitted

Alan Journet

IPCC 2018 Global Warming of 1.5⁰C Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/

IPCC 2023 CLIMATE CHANGE 2023 Synthesis Report Summary for Policymakers. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/syr/downloads/report/IPCC_AR6_SYR_SPM.pdf

ODF undated. Habitat Conservation Plan – Frequently Asked Questions. Oregon Department of Forestry. https://www.oregon.gov/odf/aboutodf/pages/hcp-faq.aspx

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