The Department of the Interior, the Times reports, recently announced plans to reverse the Bush administration’s decision to double the amount of logging allowed in old-growth forests in Oregon. The decision is a pretty unambiguous victory for the environment, and a loss for industry lobby group the AFRC, whose officials and spokespeople suggest that the decision will further damage the area’s economy:
“Oregon is facing double-digit unemployment,” [AFRC prez Tom Partin] said in a statement. Opening up logging under the Bush administration’s plan “would have given our timber-dependent communities a real boost.”
A few grafs below this quote, however the above-lined Times report pithily notes:
Some economists, however, argue that the timber economy in Oregon suffers less from logging restrictions than from the housing downturn and new low-cost competition from logging companies overseas.
My fellow Americans, I ask you: The American housing market is as deflated as it’s been in my lifetime. Who’s hiring people to cut down trees right now in the first place?
“Jobs” is like the magic word for everyone who wants to avoid major environmental policy changes, as if sustainable practices and employment are mutually exclusive outcomes unto eternity.