In Oregon, the environment is one of our most precious resources and one of our most desirable attributes. Yet over the past several decades our public lands have been reduced to a state of management that has become legitimately dangerous. While there will always be competing interests between groups like the timber industry and environmentalist groups, we have to let go of the “either/or” style of thinking in order to address this growing issue. This district was devastated due to wildfires. While the issue is far more complex than simply poor land management, it is extremely clear that poor land management was one of the primary factors with the devastation that tore through the canyon. This issue is something that is one of my highest priorities, and an issue I plan to address at every opportunity. I believe the first step needs to address the limitations placed on the timber industry in regards to logging on public land. Legislation must be introduced that rolls back limitations place on the logging of public land, allowing the timber industry to aide in maintenance of these lands.
Obviously, climate change is a highly partisan topic for many. While I have personally seen intelligent and well thought out points of debate from both sides of the issue, I don’t think it is ill advised to encourage more responsible use of energy in industries that have an environmental impact. But this must be done using a “carrot” approach, not the “stick”. Creating incentives for the use of cleaner burning fuels, utilization of green technologies in the industry, and creating a system that rewards effective management and conservation policies should be considered. Too often in Oregon the approach has been to demonize and dismantle industries that are perceived in a negative light, instead of creating standards that encourage responsible change and incentivizes beneficial behaviors by specific industries. Legislation should be introduced that incentivizes the use of newer green technologies, cleaner burning fuels, and effective land management on the part of the timber industry.