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Kowalski

Timber Industry Suffers

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The Rough and Ready Sawmill was an institution in southern Oregon for 91 years. Its lumber helped fuel the post-World War II building boom and settle the rural West. Now, it sits empty, the last of 22 mills in Josephine County to shut down for good, signaling the end of an era.

For Ivan Cross, it's the end of the only job he's ever had.

"I haven't drawn an unemployment check in 43-and-a-half years," said Cross. "Now, that's what I do for a living."

While Rough and Ready sits in the middle of America's richest timber country, the federal government owns 80 percent of the land. Many in these decimated small towns blame The Endangered Species Act, which paved the way for a flood of lawsuits blocking federal timber sales, because of an endangered species in the region.

"You just can't run a business, no matter how you adapt, if you don't have the raw materials and the log supply to run that business," said Link Phillippi, owner of Rough and Ready.

In the last two decades since the spotted owl was listed as an endangered species, more than 200 sawmills have closed in the Pacific Northwest directly killing 40,000 good-paying jobs. It has turned Josephine County, once Oregon's fastest growing, into its poorest with 30 percent of the residents using food stamps. One out of every five adults in Cave Junction, the closest city to Rough and Ready, is unemployed. When voters shot down a tax increase last year, the sheriff released most inmates and cut two-thirds of his department.

"You've lost the jobs that used to be here," said Oregon Republican Rep. Greg Walden. "You've lost the economy that used to be there, therefore you've lost the revenues for the basic services. It's becoming a lawless county."

Link: http://www.foxnews.c...intcmp=HPBucket

Me and my husband watch Ax Men, so this article caught my attention.....

Yet another example of how government regulations hurt economic growth and jobs....

Edited by Burt Gummer

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It is a hard balance conservation between economic security. I'm torn on this particular issue.

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sometimes you need to protect the environment at the expense of jobs.

It's crass and cruel, but if we don't preserve the natural world we as a species is stuffed.

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Yeah, me too. I live in timber country so I can commiserate with Josephine County. We had a devastating setback with the mountain pine beetle infestation. Luckily mining picked up and we diversified with tourism and smaller industry.

But, if we don't protect the species at risk, soon we'll be the species at risk. It hurts, but you have to do it.

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