Read Ernie Niemi’s Comments on the HCP

Dear State Forester Mukumoto,

Thank you again for demonstrating your commitment to seek input from Oregonians regarding your impending decision regarding the HCP

I spoke to you and your staff last Thursday in Eugene about the broad body of data that shows increasing the acreage dedicated to conservation will have three categories of net economic benefits:

  • 40 decades of research in Oregon and other Western states shows that, for rural counties and communities, higher allocation of public lands managed for conservation correlates with more jobs, higher incomes, and a more robust tax base to support schools and other services. 
  • Current federal estimates of the economic benefits from reducing climate pollution—the social cost of carbon dioxide—and analogue estimates of the biodiversity-related economic benefits from conserving and restoring ecosystems indicate that the benefits from increasing the acreage managed for conservation will exceed the forgone revenues from logging by at least 20-to-1.
  • A recent, exhaustive survey of peer-reviewed research concluded that it is reasonable to anticipate that one human death will result from each 3,700 tons of carbon dioxide added to atmosphere. Data for Oregon indicate that the decrease in climate pollution from a reduction in log production of 1 mmbf will reduce the number of climate-related death by 2.4 persons. [BTW:I saw the looks of disbelief on Thursday when I talked about deaths that can be avoided by decreasing logging-related climate pollution. Perhaps this article from today’s science newsfeed–and especially this statement: “4 million lives lost due to climate change, a breathtakingly high number, is still an underestimate — probably a big one”– will illustrate the imperative for incorporating this issue into assessments of the proposed HCP.]

Following my oral comments, I provided you with a short summary of data supporting these findings. I’ve attached another copy, as well two documents that provide additional information, with the hope that you and your staff will give the contents full, objective consideration.

Most fundamentally, I hope you find this material informative and helpful as you lead the Board and all Oregonians through the HCP process. The economic stakes are far, far higher than many perceive. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Ernie Niemi

President, Natural Resource Economics

Links to Reference Data

Economic Importance of the Oregon State Forest Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP)

Truckloads of Hidden Costs

Climate Pollution from PNW Logging Kills 16,000 Per Year

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