Conservationists from across the nation are in Eugene this weekend for the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference. Public lands advocates took this opportunity to protest a logging bill sponsored by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden. Today (Friday) more than 50 people marched from the Knight Law Center to the Federal Courthouse.
The protesters are opposed to plans to increase logging on public forestlands in western Oregon. Self proclaimed "tree sitters" are part of the rally. So are fishery managers and scientists.
Chandra Legue is with Oregon Wild. She stands in front of a banner that reads:
"Senator Wyden's Clear Cut Solution for BLM and O and C Lands" with a picture of a clear cut. The type of clear cut that Senator Wyden's legislation would promote. A lot of people are just concerned about their drinking water and wildlife that they love and the fact that we just don't want to see this stuff on our public lands because they belong to all of us."
LeGue says the legislation would mandate clear cutting on more than one-million acres and reduce stream side buffers that protect salmon.
Tom Towslee is spokesman for Senator Wyden. He says the plan sets aside one million acres for conservation and protects old growth trees. He denies claims that forests would be clear cut. Towslee says the plan would double the harvest on O and C lands over the next ten years, putting people back to work.
In early February, Wyden's O and C Bill moved forward in the Energy Committee.