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SIERRA CLUB RESPONSE TO CARPENTERS UNION AND AFL-CIO STUDY ON JOB LOSSES FROM SPOTTED OWL PROTECTION PLANS

 SIERRA CLUB RESPONSE TO CARPENTERS UNION AND AFL-CIO STUDY ON
 JOB LOSSES FROM SPOTTED OWL PROTECTION PLANS
 SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The following statement was released by Bill Arthur, Northwest regional director, Sierra Club:
 Once again, the spotted owl is being made a scapegoat for a decline in timber jobs that began long ago. Mill automation, rampant log-export, and the failure to take any steps to mitigate job loss are the real enemies of the Northwest timber industry.
 The job loss figures given by this so-called "independent academic" study are nothing more than a rehash of timber industry- sponsored studies that continually invent new and larger estimates of job losses. These numbers are based on a combination of false premises and unrealistic assumptions.
 -- An egregious error in the report is the double-counting of jobs that we know will be lost whether the spotted owl becomes extinct or not. Before the spotted owl even entered the picture, the U.S. Forest Service was in the process of lowering timber supply projections because it had significantly overestimated the number of trees on its lands. The study falsely attributes the loss of jobs to the spotted owl, rather than to the Forest Service for overestimating the timber supply.
 -- The timber industry of the Northwest has been in transition for over a decade toward more highly automated mills that depend on second growth forests instead of old growth forests. According to the Employment Division of the State of Oregon Labor Trends newsletter, "Retooling mills with automated saws and production lines...usually results in a mill which employs about half of its former work force, but with increased production capacity and less waste....The lumber and wood products industry will continue to be an essential and basic industry, but it will require fewer workers to get the job done." This November 1988 newsletter predates any of the injunctions on logging old growth forests. And it was published before the Forest Service reduced its projected timber cutting levels. This continued transition will result in an ongoing loss of jobs that is unrelated to the timber supply.
 -- Over two billion board feet of logs are still exported from large corporate lands in the Northwest. This is roughly equivalent to the Forest Service proposed reduction in logging of Northwest old growth forests to protect the spotted owl. The corporate timber barons laugh their way to the bank as their log trucks roll past local mills to the export docks while environmentalists and mill workers battle over the last shrinking remnants of the ancient forest. The overcutting of corporate lands and closure of local company mills are a major part of the problem, and they should be part of the solution.
 -- Investment in watershed restoration and rehabilitation would create local jobs while helping to protect and restore salmon runs. This important effort will help heal the battered forest while rebuilding Northwest salmon runs and contribute to a renewable and sustainable portion of the Northwest economy.
 -- More than 4 million acres of small, privately owned timberlands in the region provide only a fraction of their wood fiber potential. Tax incentives and incentives for better small, private woodlot management could increase timber supply from these highly productive lands.
 Job loss from protecting the dwindling old-growth habitat of the spotted owl would be negligible if the Bush Administration would show as much interest in solving the problems by protecting the forests and adopting these economic investment strategies. Unfortunately the Bush administration continues to fan the flames of forest destruction while abandoning communities.
 Sierra Club supports economic investment opportunities for these rural communities in transition and is outraged over the continued efforts to blame all job losses in the timber industry on the spotted owl.
 Shrill accusations based on fabricated numbers are no way to advance a solution to the ancient forest debate. We need cooperation from all parties to ensure the continued existence of the irreplaceable ancient forests and a sustainable timber industry.
 -0- 2/13/92
 /CONTACT: Bill Arthur of Sierra Club, 206-621-1696 (work) or 206-364-8369 (home)/ CO: Sierra Club ST: California;Oregon;Washington IN: PAP SU:


DG -- SF007 -- 9778 02/13/92 13:14 EST
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