Photo by Ellen Miller

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Will we see BIG changes in Forestry from the Trump Administration?

Will we see BIG changes in Forestry from the Trump Administration?

The inauguration of Donald Trump as President has many questions and expectations for the forest community. Will the new Administration harken big changes for our National Forests and Bureau of Land Management lands? What about private forests? The Environmental Protection Agency has been seeking changes to Oregon’s Forest Practices Act for over a decade. The OFPA prescribes rules and regulations for state and private forests. Will the EPA back off?

The speculation may soon be coming to an end. President-Elect Trump’s team will take over on January 20th. The Departments of Agriculture, Interior, Commerce and EPA will have a more significant impact on the forestry community in Oregon than most initiatives from President Trump.

Trump’s Cabinet officials have a big role to play, however the Federal Agencies that run the country have civil servants that will continue policies of the Obama Administration. The new leaders will eventually have an impact on the agencies, but it takes time.

Federal government watchers have observed that the government is like a large ocean liner. The President and his Cabinet may turn the rudder of the ship, but it will be many nautical miles before the government heads in a new direction. The slow movement was most likely the design of the Founding Fathers to ensure that changes come about following thoughtful analysis.

However, the new Administration can have a prompt impact in a few ways that can help Oregon. Increasing the pace and scale of National Forest restoration projects and adopting a management strategy for the O & C lands that respects the timber dominate nature of the 2 million acres in Western Oregon would quickly revitalize rural communities throughout Oregon.

It would be good to get away from the rhetoric of the 2016 election and undertake a few changes to federal forest management that will pay untoward dividends,

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