“WOPR” Freakout

by Rolf Skar

January 25, 2008

Question: What would happen if the government suddenly erased protections for old-growth forests and clean water on public lands?

Answer: The public would freakout!Old growth in the Kelsey Whisky logging project

Unfortunately, this is not a hypothetical situation.  The Bush administration’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is working on a scheme to scrap protections for old-growth forests.  That’s right – Bush’s “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” on our public lands is back again!

The "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" - coming to a forest near you!The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) just released plans to increase logging of old-growth trees by up to 900% in Oregon.  The proposed plan – called the Western Oregon Plan Revisions or “WOPR” — would remove protections for old-growth forests and salmon-rich rivers across 2.6 million acres of public forests.  This includes old-growth forests where, in 2004, Greenpeace set up a Forest Rescue Station.

How did this scam of a plan get hatched?  The story behind the WOPR is almost as bad as the plan itself.

In 2003, the logging industry sued the Bush administration, complaining that there wasn’t enough old-growth logging on BLM lands in Oregon.  Instead of defending itself in court, the administration rolled over and settled out of court.  The sweetheart deal they came up with would wipe away protections for old-growth forests and buffers for streams.

Teddy Roosevelt, who helped establish America’s legacy of conservation and public lands, must be rolling in his grave.

BLM staffer struggles to carry thousands of Greenpeace member comments...they've got some reading to do!The rest of us rolled up our sleeves!  Thousands of you took action and submitted comments on the WOPR.  Thanks!  Greenpeace staff in Portland, Oregon presented the BLM with your comments (printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper, of course).

The BLM staffer could hardly carry all of your letters.  They’ve got some reading to do!  With a stack that big, we hope the BLM got the message: the public wants old-growth forests protected!

The story is not over yet.  The BLM will respond to comments and publish a final plan later this year.

Stay tuned and stay involved.  Together we’ll do what it takes to make sure ancient forests on public lands are not sacrificed to the saw!

For the forests,


Rolf Skar

By Rolf Skar

Rolf Skar is the Campaigns Director at Greenpeace USA. Since 2007, Rolf has contributed to international Greenpeace campaigns to stop deforestation in the Canadian boreal forest, the Paradise forests of Southeast Asia, and the Brazilian Amazon.

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