In 2009, a group of former state timber industry executives called the Oregon State Timber Commission launched a “task force” to study whether the state’s timber industry was producing enough timber to feed its own population.
The group recommended that Oregon start regulating the industry, but it was met with resistance from timber industry lobbyists, who accused the commission of using the task force as a way to weaken Oregon’s timber laws.
In an effort to change that, the group drafted a draft proposal that would require timber companies to get approval from state agencies before cutting logs.
That way, the Oregon Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (ODFW) could then revoke logging permits without requiring the companies to pay fees.
The timber industry initially resisted the proposal, arguing that it was unnecessary.
But the state legislature passed the bill in 2011.
In a move that made Oregon the first state in the nation to require timber industry approval before logging logs, the timber industry sued the state in federal court in 2016.
The case eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which in July 2017 ruled 5-4 that Oregon’s proposed regulation was constitutional.
But Oregon is just one of many states that have passed similar laws.
As the U-T notes, the new regulations are likely to be challenged in court.
In the end, Oregon will likely face an uphill battle in getting the rule into effect.
“We don’t know what impact the regulations will have on the industry,” said Robert Darnell, an attorney with the Center for American Progress who has worked on behalf of Oregon timber companies and environmental groups.
But it’s clear that this is a difficult battle, and the state is unlikely to win.
“If the legislature wanted to do something to reduce logging in Oregon, it should have done so in 2013,” Darnett said.
“Oregon should be the first in the country to require logging permits and require companies to obtain permission from the state before logging.”
The timber lobby says the law will hurt Oregon’s economy and its ability to compete in a global marketplace.
“This is a law that has absolutely no basis in Oregon’s economic realities,” said Mike Reardon, a spokesman for the National Association of Timber Producers.
“And we think it’s a bad law that will have a chilling effect on our business.”
As the industry continues to oppose the new regulation, the state has taken steps to ease its regulatory burden.
The state is allowing the state to negotiate lower fees for logging, as well as allowing timber companies that use the agency’s timber processing to pay for equipment, such as roads, that will cut the trees.
But those moves have also come at a cost.
In 2017, the federal government designated Oregon as one of two states that need to regulate the timber trade.
The designation has allowed the state and Oregon to cut costs and cut costs in other ways.
The Oregon Department and Forest Service has also spent $50 million to increase its compliance efforts, which it says will keep logs out of the hands of criminal groups, and it has created a new task force to oversee the industry.
But Reardon said that while Oregon’s effort to make sure timber is managed properly is welcome, the industry’s continued opposition to the regulations has made it more difficult to meet its goals.
“It’s a sad commentary on the state of Oregon’s lumber industry that we’ve spent this much money and resources to try to reduce the problem and still have this much resistance,” he said.
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