For immediate release
June 11, 2019
Contact: Josh Laughlin, Executive Director, Cascadia Wildlands, 541-844-8182
Today, the Lane County Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 to withdraw its membership from the Association of O&C Counties (AOCC), an extreme timber lobby group. Newly elected commissioner Heather Buch brought forward the motion to remove Lane County’s funding, totaling $79,444 for 2019-2020, and membership in the AOCC. Commissioner Jay Bozievich was the lone commissioner to oppose the withdrawal.
The decision was hailed by conservationists and public lands enthusiasts who have long drawn attention to the secrecy that surrounds this timber lobby group and its reckless, anti-environmental policy positions on important public lands issues.
“It is unbelievable that, year after year, Lane County taxpayers were footing a huge bill to pay timber lobbyists to shrink protection measures on our outstanding public lands,” says Josh Laughlin, Executive Director of Eugene-based Cascadia Wildlands. “The Lane County Board of Commissioners should be applauded for its bold leadership and fiscal responsibility in ensuring this out-of-touch, Big Timber lobby group no longer receives a dime of taxpayer revenue.”
In a recent fiscal year, the Lane County Board of Commissioners directed nearly $100,000 of county taxpayer money to the AOCC, including to the association’s litigation fund. The AOCC has been heavily involved in litigating against the 2017 expansion of the popular Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon. It is also a plaintiff in a current lawsuit challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s 2016 forest plan for western Oregon. Although the new BLM forest plan increased the cut by 37%, shrunk streamside reserves in half and brought a return to clearcutting, the AOCC challenged it, trying to further boost clearcutting public lands in western Oregon.
Lane County’s withdrawal from the AOCC follows on the heels of Multnomah and Benton County’s exit from the timber lobby group.