NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Oregon Clear-Cutting Proposition Goes Too Far

October 12, 1998

Although mainstream environmentalists have long opposed clear-cutting of timber, they say an Oregon initiative on the ballot this November is overkill. And groups that do endorse it are doing little to promote it.

  • Proposition 64 would put any tree larger than 30 inches in diameter off-limits to lumber companies -- whether it was located on state or private lands -- and would require certain numbers and sizes of trees to be left on every acre logged.
  • Current Oregon law now permits clear cuts as large as 120 acres, although the average clear cut runs closer to 50 acres.
  • One lumber company inventoried 33,000 of its 80,000 acres and found the proposition would bar 96 percent of the land from harvest.
  • Timber companies argue the initiative would force a 60 percent cut in harvests worth $1.2 billion a year -- as well as eliminate 28,000 logging jobs and slash state tax revenues by $88 million.

A recent poll of 605 voters statewide found that 38 percent supported the measure, versus 51 percent who opposed it.

Source: AP, "Environmentalists, Timber Industry Fight Forestry Ban," Washington Times, October 12, 1998.


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