Faulty sales contributed to timber struggle

Posted: Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Here's another angle on the canceled Forest Service timber sales:

During the Clinton Administration the Forest Service offered up a bevy of timber sales with questionable economic value and some that were blatantly in the deficit column. In addition, several units were offered that environmental groups said they would contest, all the way to the high courts if necessary.

There are many theories as to why this approach was taken, because there were viable alternatives. At this point in time the motivations behind this action are not as important to understand as its consequences are.

With these limited options Southeast sawmill operators were forced to purchase timber that they could not turn a profit on. Buying these junk sales was a necessary evil to keep the mills operating and to buy time until a better deal was available. At the end of the day, several of these poorly configured offerings were left on the table.

It was a waste of public money to layout and offer these sales in the first place, and it is a logical course of action to cancel them and pursue more economic options.

I was one of a number of elected officials and industry representatives that to no avail tried to persuade the Forest Service not offer these ridiculous timber sales. But that seems to have been the Clinton legacy on timber issues.

Dennis Watson

Mayor, city of Craig

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